Sounding Off on Social Media: What to Think About Before Getting On Your Soapbox

There’s nothing wrong with having strong opinions.

There’s nothing wrong with having strong beliefs.ID-10081311

In fact, surviving as a solopreneur takes the conviction to press onward even when you encounter naysayers and people who don’t see eye to eye with you. But as a small business owner establishing and maintaining a professional reputation, you could be putting your livelihood on the line if you spout off too much about being pro this or anti that regarding situations and circumstances in the public domain.

Politics, high profile jury decisions, human rights, and other hot topics fuel debate and disagreement. We all like to express our thoughts and perspectives. We all like to have our voices heard. But as solo-professionals, that could come at a cost.

Back in September of last year, I wrote a post that touched on how the lines between personal and professional have become blurred on social media. What I hoped to instill as a takeaway in that piece is that even though you might not post your opinions on your business social media accounts, any rants you make as status updates on your personal accounts won’t stay in a bubble. Your personal self is tied to your small business brand. What you say personally will carry over to your professional persona. And that could hurt your business if clients or prospective clients either don’t agree with your views or find them offensive.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe in or express yourself. I am recommending that as solopreneurs, we should all take a deep breath and consider our motivation and the impact our public statements will have before posting, commenting, and tweeting.

Think…

  • Am I inclined to post because I’m “in the heat of the moment” angry?
  • Am I simply posting because everyone else I know is weighing in on the topic?
  • Am I posting for the sole purpose of discrediting someone else?
  • Do I believe that my posting about a topic will truly make a positive difference?
  • Do I know enough about the topic/issue to post a strong statement about it?
  • Is the topic polarizing? Will a fair share of my clients find my views offensive or at odds with theirs?

And after those questions, think some more. Social media has given us all a soapbox to stand on. It’s up to us to use care when stepping upon it.

How have you seen the lines blurred between your personal and professional persona because of social media?

Image courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Dawn
Full-time independent content writer and copywriter based in Lancaster County, PA. I am not Amish nor do I drive a horse and buggy, but they pass by my house every day. I'm a fitness enthusiast, lover of live theater, and I believe everyone should adopt a pet from a rescue (unless you're allergic). I specialize in blog content, website copy, newsletter articles, industry editorials, press releases, and social media profile content. Please note that when reading my blog, you interpret and use the content at your own discretion and risk. Tips and guidance that have worked for me, may not produce the same outcome in your situation.

Comments

  1. Very tricky living in the social media fishbowl!

    I occasionally have clients send friend requests to my personal FB profile. I actually had to scramble and double check my personal posts and comments for anything that might not represent me well.

    It’s funny how a political opinion can come off as hostile, or a snapshot of a harmless happy hour get-together can easily make someone look like they have a drinking problem.

    Happily, I’m relatively boring and uncontroversial 🙂

    • Hi Marcus! Ha, ha…yeah, I think most of us have had to go through the rigors of reviewing our past FB posts before accepting clients’ friend requests. You made a good point…what’s harmless and what’s problematic is in the eye of the beholder. I know there’s a photo or two of me enjoying (in a well-behaved manner!) some wine with friends and family on my personal FB page. Innocent enough I would say, but you never know what conclusions people might draw from that or anything that anyone might post. BTW, I’d have to say that I’m in the category of “boring and uncontroversial” too. Cheers to us! 😉

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