Loose Lips Sink Ships

Saying Too Much On Your Personal Social Media Page

If you are a small business owner, talking too much or saying provocative things on your personal social media page could ultimately impact your bottom line! Many of your customers will know you are the owner and may seek you out on social media. People do this for all kinds of reasons, but the bottom line is people are curious and want to find out what you’re all about! HR Departments do it all the time on potential job candidates.

During WWII, there was a popular slogan from our war department encouraging people to not discuss military issues in public. It read “Loose Lips Sink Ships” meaning that talking about military operations to the wrong person could lead to disaster. After all, spies were everywhere! So, the military adopted a policy for Communications Security that is simple, and still in use today for our American service people – “Do not talk about military operations except with authorized personnel in a secure environment.” Anything less could end up getting you in deep trouble or worse, cost the lives of innocent people. So how does this apply to social media, specifically, your personal social media page?

Let’s start by saying in today’s media world, nothing is private if it is online. Sure, your Facebook and Instagram page is loaded with pictures of your family, friends and adventures you all share, but anyone can view that information and decide how to react to it! That information can be used to make decisions and assumptions about your personal life. So how should a small business owner manage their personal social media accounts?

Let me give you three simple guidelines to follow, which should keep any ships from sinking! You don’t want to lose potential business connections because of a silly political rant you shared on your personal Facebook page do you? Those losses could add up! Follow these common sense suggestions and you will be well on your way to managing your personal social media page in a positive manner!

#1 Be Positive. Just like in real life, no one wants to be around someone who is constantly saying negative things about people or venting their personal trials and tribulations for everyone to hear. Sharing positive, uplifting personal content is always going to get you more engagement than sharing your dirty laundry or negative opinions. Sure, you will get the occasional support from friends, but think about all the other people reading your list of heartbreaks that truly feel awkward or cannot relate and therefore do not engage. Share positive personal stories, inspiring quotes or content you find uplifting, and by all means, share positive things about your small business! You should always be promoting your business, everywhere!

#2 Be Mindful. You may have very strong opinions about social issues, politics and religion, but you will never convince someone who has different views to see your side by ranting and sharing opinionated and negative content on social media. You are better off meeting them for coffee and having a serious conversation about your opposing views and working on a harmonious solution. Too many small business owners take to their social media channels to vent about politics, and believe they are making a difference and changing someone else’s world view. You’re not. All you are doing is showing the world what your view is, and people may choose to skip doing business with you because you seem like a raving lunatic leaning too far to one side or the other! Be mindful of what you post. Is the content you are about to share validating your own opinion on the subject, and of little use to anyone who sees differently than you, or is the content relevant and useful to anyone, regardless of the side you find yourself on?

#3 Be Respectful. You would never just walk up to someone you do not know, and based on how they looked, start calling them names. Common decency says that is rude and harmful behavior. So why is it ok to do that on social media? You say you don’t do that? I see posts all the time from business owners calling groups of people names. In the political sphere, I see the left call the right wingnuts, extremists, rethuglicans and worse. I see the right call the left moonbats, libratards and snowflakes. How is that ok just because it is social media? It is not. Small business owners are entitled to their opinions and views, but just like the military policy, those views should be discussed in private and with people who have a chance to engage with you. Potential business contacts may look to your social media page to see if they want to do business with you, and they may make a decision based on that knowledge. Of course, they may not care, which is fine, but how many people did you lose who did care?

The bottom line is just be a good citizen. It is okay to share your personal views as long as they are thoughtful, respectful and positive. Yes, even political views! You also want to share social subjects you are passionate about. Do you go on missions? Do you support a local charity? Are you participating in a charity run or event? Are you volunteering with children, seniors, etc.? This shows a concern about the wellbeing of community, and that is a hallmark of a good business. Community involvement is always a good thing to talk about on social media. Be the light, because there is always going to be those people sharing and promoting the darker sides of social media.

Have you ever made a decision on a business based on the business owner’s social media profile? I would love to hear about it if you did!