Every company has its own voice – generally as an extension of the owner or board’s views and opinions.  In working with the multiple clients that we do, we can see the varying voices of our clients through their media content.  Whether it is their social media, blog posts, podcasts, or video projects, some of the individual’s characteristics occasionally come through.  While some content may not be obvious, there are some times when your voice can come through a little strong.  While we generally encourage people to embrace their voice in what they are doing, there is a tipping point where it can go awry.

In today’s climate especially, where openness and honesty is what many companies are trying to embrace, it can be difficult to draw a line in the sand between what you think personally and what you may say professionally.  No matter what you may think personally, it is important to look at the message you are portraying professionally.

I recently undertook a series of meetings with a few local groups to discuss social media options for small business owners.  Although the meetings involved different individuals from varying backgrounds, a resounding topic came into play with regard to riding a sensationalized media trend – particularly Twitter and Facebook posts utilizing the current political frenzy surrounding President Trump.  Some of the business owners were inquiring about how they could utilize President Trump’s name in their social media in order to gain some visibility for their businesses.  It turned into an interesting conversation, to say the least, in each meeting.

Sure, the topic of President Trump can get you or your business in front of a larger group of eyes, but depending on what you’re saying you can be defining yourself on either side of the political fence – without even necessarily realizing it.  If your message can be interpreted as supporting President Trump, you may be inadvertently alienating those who do not support him.  Likewise, if your message can be interpreted as non-support of President Trump, it may adversely affect the pro-Trump crowd.

While some people may look at it as a good thing because they see an increase in viewers or followers, they may not be taking into consideration that they are potentially alienating a group of individuals simply by making such a statement.  There are plenty of news headlines about businesses and individuals that come under scrutiny as a result of a public comment or policy.  Off the top of my head I am thinking about the bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.  Of course, we can look at Anthony Weiner and his inappropriate social media message debacle.  More recently, a national airline came under scrutiny regarding the forceful removal of a passenger from a flight.  In each circumstance, those individuals had an increase in attention that did not bode well for their image and/or careers.

If you decide to utilize commentary regarding President Trump, or some other sensationalized headline, in your social media, you should definitely weigh the pros and cons to your business.  Remember when there was a time that politics, religion, and sex were things not discussed in a public forum?  There were reasons for that.