It’s that time of the year. No, I’m not referring to holiday season or other fall festivities … it’s political season. Elections are just around the corner, and everyone and their grandmother has a strong opinion on one policy or another. And you know what goes hand-in-hand? Social media and politics. While all those political conversations dominate online discussions and social media marketing campaigns, it brings up the something to ponder: should your business get political on social media?
Yes to Politics – If certain politics go hand-in-hand with your branding, then it might be beneficial to enter political conversations. It’s also a good opportunity to jump in on a trend and take advantage of viral conversations. For example: the whole Mitt Romney and Big Bird conversation. In the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, Romney jokingly said that he liked public television personalities like Big Bird and Jim Lehrer, but that he would no longer support them once he cuts subsidies for PBS. According to Mashable, that comment generated 17,000 tweets per minute for “Big Bird” and 10,000 tweets per minute for “PBS,” according to @gov. Within minutes, parody Twitter accounts began popping up, including @FiredBigBird and @BigBirdRomney.
No to Politics – It can be risky to align with a political group or candidate. You might lose loyal customers over polarizing political issues. One such example is when the Susan G. Komen Foundation took major heat from supporters for threatening to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Or when Chick-Fil-A became an epicenter of controversy over after its president made public comments denouncing nontraditional marriage. Taking a strong stand on certain policies could very well alienate loyal followers.
Americans are vocal about their politics, and it’s natural for that to translate into social media. More people are involved and engaged nowadays because of digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Social media and politics are definitely bringing the issues front and center in their conversations, but it’s up to you whether or not to get your business involved. What do you think? Any good arguments for why or why not your business should jump into social media and politics?