I don’t know about you, but lately I dread logging into my Facebook account. The number of vitriolic political posts are astonishing, and downright annoying.
Stupid, ignorant, unethical, racist, sexist, Communist, a thief, a fool, lazy, dishonest, untrustworthy, a murderer, a liar, an idiot, an imbecile, (or worse) are just a few of the words posted in political comments found during a five-minute scroll through my Facebook feed.
What’s more amazing is that these posts really don’t affect change. I don’t know of a single person who has changed his or her political mind based on a social media post. However, I know a lot of people who change their minds on who they’re going to do business with based on social media posts.
Keep this in mind the next time you write a political rant and before you hit ‘Post’…
- Approximately 40% of the US population supports Trump. Meaning that when you write something caustic about Donald, statistically you are offending 40% of the people who could hire you. Or 40% of the people who could be your next great employee. Or 40% of the people who could partner with you. Or 40% of the people who could fund you.
- Approximately 40% of the US population supports Clinton. Meaning that when you write something caustic about Hillary, statistically you are offending 40% of the people who could hire you. Or 40% of the people who could be your next great employee. Or 40% of the people who could partner with you. Or 40% of the people who could fund you.
- 10% of the US population will disagree with whatever you write or say. So statistically anytime you write or say anything you are offending 10% of the people who could hire you (I just made up the 10% number, but the reality is no matter what you post or say, someone will disagree with it).
Among the many jobs that I do for a living, one is as a professional speaker. I like to think I’m pretty good and provide exceptional value to those who hire me, and for those who attend my programs. But guess what? There are thousands of outstanding professional speakers who also do a great job delivering an entertaining and valuable program. So bottom line, in my profession, the competition is brutal. Yet it is astonishing what some of my colleagues post online.
Event planners have flat-out told me that there are some professional speakers who they won’t hire based on the posts or even simple comments that the speaker makes on social media. You would be very surprised by the speaker names as they are some of the top in my industry. And you may be surprised at some of the seemingly innocent or irreverent posts or comments that cause an event planner to go in a different direction.
It’s not just professional speakers who are losing business because they cannot keep their mouths shut, or in reality, fingers away from their keyboards. Financial advisors, lawyers, marketing executives, real estate agents … when you post a political comment you could potentially be negatively impacting your business.
Now, you might say that you don’t care; that you prefer to only do business with people who think like you and who share the same values. That’s great. One of the rules I share in my Reputations keynote speech is the “Law of Unintended Consequences.” If you are okay with the consequences, then write, post, or say whatever you’d like. Just think about the “LUC” before you hit post or send. Ask yourself if sharing your opinion – knowing that it really won’t change the mind of anyone with a differing opinion – is worth losing your next potential large sale.
Never forget this: all the money and time you spend on marketing — all that does is gets you in the maybe pile. Your awesome video gets you in the maybe pile. Your amazing website gets you in the maybe pile. Your references and testimonials get you in the maybe pile. Your direct mail, newspaper ads, radio ads, television commercials, public relations campaigns, and online marketing programs all get you in the maybe pile.
What’s the maybe pile? It’s where the person who purchases what you have to sell puts you when you’ve made the first cut. The maybe pile is you along with top competitors. Everyone in the maybe pile will do an exceptional job. Everyone in the maybe pile costs about the same. The difference between getting the $10,000 sale and the second place $0 is a very fine line. Is your political post worth the silver medal?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional speaker, financial advisor, lawyer, marketing executive, real estate agent or even a salesperson in the plastics industry — your company brand and reputation is what gets you in the maybe pile. Once you’re in the maybe pile, your buyer’s decision often comes down to you, the individual salesperson. Especially in the business to business sales world, your prospects will look you up online.
They will study your LinkedIn page. They will glance at some of your Twitter comments. They will peruse your Facebook photos and posts.
What are they finding?
Who might you be inadvertently offending?
Are you possibly eliminating yourself from contention before you even have the chance for a conversation?
Think, before you post. Now that you Know More!