This shouldn’t come as news to you but in the last few months, there’s been a lot of divisive and sensitive topics circulating the media. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, everyone from your Uncle Joe to huge corporations are letting everyone know exactly how they feel. So, does that you mean you, as a small business owner, should too?
Your level of influence probably is bigger than your aforementioned Uncle Joe but it’s safe to assume that you’re not a huge corporation either. The pros of sharing your stance as a small business owner can be irresistible (yay for more clients!) but the cons can be downright damaging. With that being said, will you tell your clients what you believe in? Let’s talk about it.
Plenty of big companies have either vocalized their support or disapproval for a lot of hot-button issues over the years. Despite any criticism or backlash they’ve received, they’re still standing. It comes as no surprise either. According to a survey by Sprout Social, 66% of consumers believe it’s important for brands to take public stance on social and political issues, with 52% of consumers showing greater brand loyalty when they agree on an issue. What’s even more interesting is that consumers are more likely to find the stance credible if “…the issue impacts their customers, employees, and business operations.”
While research may push business owners into the realm of sharing their beliefs, there’s a real life example that can make you recoil. The owners of Cut It Up, a restaurant in Arizona, posted a list of their beliefs (and what they don’t believe) on Facebook. Instead of the few shares, likes, and comments they expected, they received national attention, public scrutiny, and plenty of threats. Despite taking down the post, the owners ended up closing their business because they couldn’t escape the negativity. Understandably, this is every business owner’s worst nightmare realized.
Do your clients really need to know who you’re voting for? Or how you feel about abortion, immigration policies or gun control? Should you even share your proof that the Illuminati really does exists? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Susan Zwarycz, owner of Floating Fantasies Travel and Travel Planners International agent, believes in sharing her opinion, especially if the issue affects her business. She said, “Issues such as [immigration] bleed into client inquiries on safety and concerns about how they might be accepted in a foreign country. It's difficult to not take a stance when it affects my bottom line.”
However, on a Facebook post asking other TPI agents if, as business owners, they would share their personal beliefs to their clients, most of them said no.
“My mom always taught me, when it comes to business, you don’t discuss your personal views on religion or politics,” wrote Susan Zellea, owner of Travel with Sue-Z, Inc. Dana Gribble, owner of A Suitcase Named Desire Travel Agency, also refrains from sharing her political beliefs as a business owner because “I won’t change their mind and they won’t change mine.”
Clearly, there’s no right or wrong answer. One could argue that true loyalty comes from a strong connection but for others, ignorance is bliss. Our opinion? Do what you think is right for your business. If you want to share your opinion as a business, we suggest keeping these three things in mind:
As we say here at TPI, it’s your brand, your business, your identity. So, do as you please!
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.