There is a heated battle happening around us, not just in the many wars that are taking place all over the world, but in the United States between Republicans and Democrats. Turn on the news, read a few blogs or look on random street corners and you will surely find opinions, rants and disparagement. Shockingly, many business owners and branded content creators are tossing their hats in the ring and getting involved in the political debate. Is this a smart move?
Personally, I choose not to get political on my blog or on social media. Ever. My message is not one of politics, it is one of making good decisions based on a thoughtful life.
However, there are quite a few business owners who are getting lured into political banter that may end up hurting their brands in the long run and if this is something that you are considering doing, I want to give you some things to think about first.
Yes, it is clear that entrepreneurs who are getting political online are passionate about their beliefs, but unless they have ambitions to run for office themselves one day, they may not realize that in political discussions that are connected to their brands, they are most likely diverting from their ultimate business and life goals.
What happens when brands get political? They dilute their brand message with political beliefs that may ultimately turn their audience off. Sure, some people may agree and support you, but do you really want to divide your audience like the politicians that have divided the country? This may not be a smart business decision...
Do you want to alienate current partners, sponsors or customers who disagree with your political views and repel others who are new to your digital brand? Or do you want to bring people who share common goals together through a positive brand experience with your business?
Think about your values, goals and long-term dreams for your business and life. Does the political message that you want to convey fit with all of these things now and in the future? If not, then you may want to save the politics for dinner time conversation with your closest friends and confidants.
If you are a politician or you hope to be involved in politics at some point in your career, then obviously it makes sense to discuss politics online and off, but keep in mind that disparaging comments do not sway people to believe in your viewpoint. Be respectful no matter what you choose to agree or disagree with.
If there is a particular issue that you feel passionate about and you want to support this cause in your messaging, on your blog and/or on social networking platforms, know that this will invite opposition and could potentially make you a target for aggression. If you are prepared for this and still want to get your message out there, great. If you are not ready for a personal attack based on your political views, it may be best to steer clear of discussing controversial topics until you feel that you are ready to go to bat (or not at all).
The one thing we can and should do as business owners is learn about the facts in every election. Take the opinions with a grain of salt. VOTE based not on political party, celebrity status or propaganda, but based on the issues that are important to you. Economy, education, freedom, health care, international policy... What issues are a priority to you, your family, your business? Why are these issues important? How will a change or no change to these policies affect you, your family and your business? These are the things that matter to lifestyle entrepreneurs.
If you really want to make an impact, start by making an educated and well thought out vote.
Knowing the answers to the issues that matter to you and why they matter will help you to make an educated vote based on your own values and goals, not another person's agenda.
Now, if you find yourself tempted to start talking about politics on your blog or on social media, you may want to consider the ramifications and the long term implications that may or may not give you the results you desire. Knowing what you want out of business and life is not only going to help you make the best decisions, but it will help you to deliver a brand message that gets you the results you want while giving your audience the results that they expect.
Stay focused on what you want. Know yourself. Love those around you. This is what matters.
Politics will always be a heated topic that you will want to be mindful of touching online and off in the social space, but knowing how to vote for yourself based on your core values, beliefs and goals will give you the gift of empowerment. Don't just vote for the sake of voting. Vote because you believe in what you are voting for. And if what you are voting for is so important that you feel you MUST write about it online, make sure it matches your ultimate vision.
Just like everything in life... it's your choice.