Just last week, Soufi’s, a family restaurant in the Toronto area was on the verge of closing down. The owners were receiving death threats because the family’s son had joined angry protestors during a political event. The owner of SoulCycle and Equinox, Stephen Ross, created a PR nightmare this year when it was announced that he would be hosting a fundraising lunch for US President, Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. I can’t even begin to count the number of influencers and famous people who have been “cancelled” after views they posted on their social media accounts in the past, managed to resurface and went viral.
There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a business owner or even an employee of a major corporation. The statements we make, things we tweet and even the views and actions of those around us can affect business overall.
What do these scenarios teach us? In a time where technology rules, consumers have more than just financial power. They want to support companies that have views and goals that align with their beliefs and that means more than just have a great mission statement. Consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z’ers are holding businesses up to a higher moral and ethical standard than ever before. With a simple tweet or Facebook post, they can change other’s perceptions of your business.
As a business owner and even employee, it’s so important to be mindful of what you share on the internet, because well… the internet is forever. Here are a few questions and points to consider when sharing things on social media:
“These Views Are My Own” Doesn’t Mean Anything
‘These Views Are My Own’ — I’ve seen employees of major corporations and business owners write this very description in their social media bios as a means of distancing their potentially problematic or differing views from that of the companies they work for or own. That disclaiming is not necessarily effective. Whether you own the company or work for it, you are a reflection of its brand. To consumers, things you share and your views can ultimately influence your day to day decision making with respect to your business.
Can I Handle The Backlash?
Interested in tweeting something political? Want to share your opposing views about a social justice situation taking place somewhere in the world? Lovely! But you must consider if you’ll be able to handle the potential consequences that come with that. In this digital age, screenshots and screen recordings also mean your content will live forever. Will you be able to handle the criticism that comes from an old tweet in 5 years when your business is at the height of its success? Think about.
Get Educated On An Issue Before Tweeting/Speaking on It
It’s easy to share false information on the internet. I’ve seen people tweet false narratives that went viral because no one did any further investigating or research. As a human, especially in a democratic country, you have the right to freedom of speech but ensure your sharing facts when exercising that right. If I see something interesting or politically charged on social media that I’d like to chime in on or share, I always read an article or two related to the topic to ensure I am aware of all sides. Share an informed opinion.
Consider Your Delivery
How are you sharing your views? Through words? A post with an image? A video? You need to be considerate of how you deliver your views. Tweets and captions often times leave readers without an understanding of your tone so be considerate when sharing on social media.
Do a Social Media Clean Up
Sounds crazy but every so often, go through your social media channels and clean up your pages. Maybe you tweeted about something a while ago and your views have changed. Delete that tweet. That picture of you puking in the street during Homecoming in 2011 can also go as well. Remember, in business, perceptions are big and you are a reflection of your brand.
Don’t Share Anything
If you think you can’t share any information that won’t get you in trouble with your boss, consumers or stakeholders then just don’t share anything at all or make your content private. It’s the safest option and will benefit you in the long run.
Regardless of what you choose to share, make sure you do what’s best for you and that it is indeed a true reflection of both your brand and yourself!