Should your company take a public stand on political/social issues?

Freelance HR Consultant Unhappy Opinion

As an expert freelance HR consultant who works with clients across a range of industries offering both ad hoc HR and retained HR, one topic that often arises is that of social media and how a business’s views can affect its standing in the eyes of its customers. Ever since social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook exploded in popularity, it has never been easier to openly declare and spread your political beliefs to the world. This has proved to be as true for individuals as it has for businesses, especially those that are very active on social media. But as an expert freelance HR consultant, the question we would suggest you should ask yourself is this: Is taking a stand on political or social issues positive or detrimental to your brand?

Findings from recent research from Sprout Social shows that 66% of consumers say it is important to them that brands take social stands on political and social issues, with 58% of consumers open for brands to make their views clear on social media channels. You can see how some businesses could take statistics like these to mean they almost have to be vocal in some way on any of the current social or political issues that are trending. We have all seen endless brands offering their opinion on a topic that is receiving a lot of coverage, normally one that invites polarisation.

What stance should I take?

But is this the right approach? Business accounts are not the same as personal accounts, so should they be treated the same? Remember, any posts by your business will automatically indicate that these are the official views of your organisation. So, the question you need to ask yourself here is “Should my business be involved in political issues at all?” Whilst it is true that political posts can often get lots of interaction, the chances are very high that there will be people arguing for and against the point made. This is because when it comes to political or social commentary, you can almost guarantee that not everyone will agree with you. As an expert freelance HR consultant I would argue that there is a high chance that a political comment will spark a hostile response from those who have the opposite stance.

You could argue that all press is good press, but in fact, this is not always the case at all. All it takes to lose a long-term and previously loyal customer is just one bad political interaction. Why? Because political beliefs are very personal to a specific person and people are incredibly loyal to their chosen political beliefs and parties. If you are seen to be openly disagreeing with someone’s deeply held personal beliefs, when those beliefs have very little to do with your actual products or services, well then you risk losing that person as a customer forever.

As an experienced freelance HR consultant, I would always advise my clients to consider the bigger picture when thinking about political posts. For example, imagine that you have done research on a particular political issue that you agree with and all data points to 90% of the population having the same opinion. This seems like a very safe bet, doesn’t it? But what of the 10% who do not agree with this opinion? You might have pleased 90% of your customer base, but how will this shared agreement of a specific issue actually relate in terms of increased revenue for the business? Now let’s look at this 10% who did not agree.

As mentioned above, issues such as political stances are much more likely to lose you customers, so you could potentially have lost 10% of your customer base, without increasing revenue from the remaining 90%. So as your local expert freelance HR consultants we would suggest before posting anything politically driven ask yourself this: Do I really want to take that risk?

Of course, there are always exceptions. Some businesses thrive on driving debate amongst their customer base and actually include these strategies in their marketing plans. But for any business that uses social media as a way of showcasing its products or services, interacting with customers and general brand awareness, as a freelance HR consultant I would ask is it really is worth seriously considering the ramifications of political posts before sharing them on business social media channels.

Expert freelance HR consultant

We hope you found this helpful, and if you have any queries relating to HR advice and guidance, feel free to contact our experienced team. We will be happy to offer the very best freelance HR consultant advice on any HR-related subject and offer both ad hoc HR and retained HR packages for all HR requirements.

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