Last night I posted this on Facebook: “I continue to be surprised at all the travel agents who insist on taking one side or the other in the political debate. It's a no-win situation on either side. All you are doing is turning off 50 percent of your customers. One word: stupid."
When I woke up this morning there were so many comments my eyes got blurry. The comments continue to grow as I write this, with the most fervent commenters sounding like activists blinded by their own ideology.
This is true on both sides of the political spectrum, which was the whole point of the initial post (read it again), yet some started out by questioning my political beliefs as if that has anything to do with the post.
Is it stupid to take a hard stance on your social media in regards to politics? My answer is a resounding “yes".
In today’s climate, you’re going to turn off half of your potential audience from the start.
For those who try to separate their personal Facebook life from their business, are you telling me that your “family and friends” aren’t your customers? Ever hear of referrals? Yes, even if your family and friends will buy from you, despite your rhetoric, ever wonder how many of their “friends” won’t?
You’ll never know, as they will simply ignore you and your bloviating. It’s not about six degrees of separation, as this is only one degree of separation, putting you one friend request away from a potential new client. Spend your time spouting off on politics and you’ll turn off people on the other side of that argument, and even turn off people who are turned off no matter what side you are on.
Of all social media, Facebook provides the greatest opportunity to grow your business. Your personal Facebook is the best vehicle for this, not some business page. People want to interact with you, not your brand. Indeed, for most agents, you are the brand, despite what’s on the door or on your site.
Consider a couple more thoughts: If you spent as much time sharing travel ideas and related content on your social media outlets, as you do getting into discussions like the one on my Facebook, how many new customers could you entice to work with you? If you invite existing clients to connect with you on Facebook, and interact with them in a positive way, how likely will you be top of mind when they go on their next vacation?
Since clients traditionally book one to two vacations per year, you run the risk of losing clients that have worked with you by simply being out of sight and out of mind when they are ready for their next vacation. Social media keeps them closer to you, ensuring you are top of mind when that next vacation starts to materialize. Unless, of course, you’re more interested in politics than your travel business.
Connect with me on Facebook and read the comments to my post here.
And just in case you think I'm nuts, here's what other thought leaders are saying on the subject:
From the Wall Street Journal: Politics and Business Don’t Mix in Trump’s America
From Entrepreneur Magazine: Why Politics and Business Don’t Mix
Insights by Stanford Business: When Business Gets Political