I have posted and deleted at least ten different Facebook posts over the last few weeks. I have broken my own cardinal rule – no religion or politics on social media – and have subsequently lost several customers over the last few days as a result of my behavior. In spite of knowing better – knowing that as a business owner, I need to be unbiased, impartial, and unwavering in my appearance of neutrality – I ignored my better judgment and will pay for it.
But, I don’t care.
That’s right. The only apathy I feel is about how others feel about me and my personal opinions because I sincerely believe it is my responsibility to advocate for those who have been stifled, left without an option or a voice. I firmly believe that despite a person’s immigration status, age, sexual orientation, gender orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, etc. he or she deserves the right to live freely and happily.
I am breaking my own political rules about running a small business because I feel so strongly about what has been happening in our country lately. I feel people are being denied basic human rights and as a small business owner, I have made peace with the fact that I will lose customers in defense of these basic freedoms.
It is beyond a matter of personal preference, and difference of opinion, it’s a matter of basic ethics and morality, and honestly, anyone who freely advocates against any party’s right to basic human rights is not a customer I want to represent my brand.
KNOW YOUR PHILOSOPHY
When it comes to your small business, it’s important to follow a philosophy and vision for your business. This should include your promises, commitments, and goals. You have to realize that your business philosophy is a living document, which means it’s always technically “under construction.” We change, people change, and the world changes; the only way to keep your business relevant is to know for certain you cannot know anything for certain.
Understanding the political climate can help you mold your business philosophy. How are people responding to politics – or more importantly – which customer do you want to attract and how does he/she respond to politics?
When your business is personal to you – and most small businesses are – a great place to begin searching for your target customer is through political alignment. Just as I gave you the example above for myself, though I know I lost a few customers, I have also gained more – I’ve gained customers who I can make a true impact on by relating to their belief systems. When people feel you believe in their beliefs, they are more likely to trust you. Attracting those customers who politically align with your business is easy because you’re being honest.
While most small businesses shouldn’t revolve everything around politics – unless you’re actually selling something related to that – keeping your appearances and posts relevant will make you more appealing to the right customer.
Final thoughts – 60% of the time, keep your posts airy, light, and product-related, 38% of the time, make them lifestyle-related, but 2% of the time you can show your love and support for something political related to your business.