How to win enemies and influence no one in social media

In an age of identity politics and divisive rhetoric, it’s become easier than ever to turn off potential customers from your brand. Should you avoid it or embrace it?

It’s virtually impossible to get on Twitter or Facebook today and not see a political post in the news feed. Sometimes it’s a tweet about something you agree with, and it makes you feel empowered. While other times it’s a Facebook post that someone you are politically aligned with has shared that makes you mad. Those situations are easy to navigate. You might choose to Like the tweet, apply the Anger reaction to the post, or ignore it and move on.

It gets a lot more complicated when you see a divisive post you don’t agree with, and it’s from a friend, an industry leader, or a company you like. Do you ignore it and hope they stop publishing similar posts? Do you mute them? Do you go into complete flame mode and tell them all the reasons why they’re wrong? Do you unfollow or unfriend them?

How you respond can become even more vexing depending on who it is. For example, the person publishing the post may be a colleague or someone you see at conferences on a regular basis. Even more conflicting, they might be a longtime friend or close acquaintance, and you don’t want to sever your online relationship with them.

Regardless of the action or inaction you choose, when people post divisive posts that are not aligned with your ideology, it creates a negative experience. And if you feel that way about their posts, imagine how they feel about your equally divisive posts.

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