Today's web-savvy small business owners are flooding to the social networking sites and finding that it is easier than ever to build new friendships, partner with peers and increase web sales. Transparency is the new trend. See who I am, what I do, the things I like, the people I know, and the places I visit. Once visitors see the "real" you, the hope is that you'll build trust and they'll feel motivated to do business with you. Sounds great, and works great often times, but today's thought to ponder is simply this: Can Social Networking Sabotage Your Small Business?
Let's focus upon two of the most popular sites, like Facebook and Twitter. For many of us, it is not difficult to figure out the person behind the store. Some people even use their personal profiles to advertise said store! Considering that we all share various levels of private information on those profiles, are the posts that you make ones that you want to whole world to access? The whole world can, to a degree. Twitter, unless you completely privatize your status, is available to all, and tweets appear in search engine results. Voila... you're public! Facebook privacy can be customized, to a point, but if you have hundreds, or thousands of friends, that's pretty public, too.
So what are you sharing?
You know, I was a bartender, back in the day. One of the unwritten rules of bartending is that you don't bring up subjects like Religion and Politics... it always ends up in an argument! So, inviting the inevitable, I am going to pick Politics as my subject here.
I see a lot of political rambling, at both Facebook and Twitter, from many people who I know to be online merchants. Usually, I just skim over it, because I am still that bartender above, and I really don't want to discuss politics. I worry about those folks, though. Why? Well, not only do I think that they could be alienating potential clients, I really feel that a little mystery, a little temperance, would only enrich their success. Look at the following pie chart:
This chart represents the United States in the year 2004. I found it at Wikipedia, while I was researching the number of registered voters. That's a total of 169 millions voters! Since 2004, I am sure that number has grown.
Now don't pay attention to the division in parties... just the number of voters. Regardless of your political party, that's an awfully large number of potential customers that you may piss-off with your side of the rhetoric. Can you take that chance?
I have two kids who are now registered voters. Appealing to the younger generation, I asked each of them the same question. Would a rant, taking a stance on a broad topic, such as Politics or Religion, influence your decision to make a purchase from a store? They both said yes. Once child even mentioned the word tolerance as being a quality that today's youth admire, whether it pertains to Politics, Religion, Race, Equal Rights, the Right To Life, or Gay Pride. To be tolerant, you must be socially accepting of others' views. I agree with them... do you?
Let's take a poll!
Please vote! Your answers may be very revealing.
And store owners, please take a moment to think about the consequences of what you post. Sharing too much on social networks just might sabotage your small business. Perhaps it's time to separate your personal profile from your business.
Welcome to my blog! My name is Cindy, and I love selling online. Fleapirates Plunder is my Antiques and Collectibles store at OnlineAuction.com, where I've had a happy home since 2008. (Before that I was an eBay fanatic!)
This blog showcases many of the "happenings" at OLA, but also diverges into other areas that interest Online Sellers from all venues... topics like SEO and Social Networking are some of my favorites.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll leave a comment or two, chime in with your opinions, or share your stories!