Don’t Forget: Don’t Get Caught Up in the Politics of It All

Don't forget. Don't get caught up in the emotions of politics online. Photo courtesy of Ronaldo Taveira. Above Promotions Company 2012.
Don't forget. Don't get caught up in the emotions of politics online. Photo courtesy of Ronaldo Taveira. Above Promotions Company 2012.
Don’t forget. Don’t get caught up in the emotions of politics online. Photo courtesy of Ronaldo Taveira. Above Promotions Company 2012.

It would be too easy and probably too late to bring up Pizza Hut (please click the Pizza Hut link and read this humorous take on the story) and their short-lived debate advertising campaign. Although it must be said, that their marketing tactics accomplished what it needed to do. No one would really expect a person to stand up in front of millions of people around the world at the town hall presidential debate and ask “Sausage or pepperoni?” just to win a life’s worth of free pizza. Although they recreated the promotion for online, it is safe to assume, they will not lose a noticeable amount of sales over it. It will be interesting to see if they actually see a positive or negative spike in sales or brand awareness afterwards.

Former President Bill Clinton makes the debate gaffe with a binder full of women. Photo Credit Unknown. 2012
Former President Bill Clinton makes the debate gaffe with a binder full of women. Photo Credit Unknown. 2012

It would be just over doing it by bringing up this week’s social media debate gaffe, binders full of women, as mentioned by Governor Mitt Romney on Tuesday. Although it’s actually quite funny to see that former President Bill Clinton seems to have had more of a viral effect with the binder statement than the candidate that mentioned it. It seems like Mr. Clinton just will not be able to shake the women from his past. It can pretty much be expected that the binder will last at least until the debate next week. So brace yourself to see the funny and incorrect images attempting to restate what Romney stated during the debate.

It would, however, be appropriate to remind everyone about not spreading their political views through their business or non-profit organization platform online. I stumbled across a Facebook page which was titled and even described in the “About” section as being a religious organization promoting pro-life music cds. (I’m still unclear as to what those songs entail, but perhaps one of you readers can explain.) Upon reviewing the page, it became clear the page went from music to being a place with more political party affiliation updates than anything else. Assuming the page was not a front for a political party, it would be safe to say, they are inappropriately using an avenue that could instead help them to gain positive exposure about their music.

Last Saturday after finishing the Bar Camp Tampa Bay workshop on “Turning Your Beta Testers to Brand Ambassadors”, I had to call in to WEAL in Greensboro, North Carolina for our monthly on air discussion regarding marketing. I explained to the listeners why people should not allow themselves to get emotionally charged up and jeopardize sales for their business or their non-profit status with the government over politics. Although it was my first public conversation regarding determining what is and is not ok with sharing with your customers, this discussion really started the previous week offline with a colleague asking me, “do you think this year’s election is worse than others?” She was surprised at my answer of “no.” These discussions led to the need to share this “don’t forget” reminder with each of you.

I believe that this year’s political campaign on a local and national scale is more emotionally charged due to social media. The candidates are really using the same amount of mudslinging directly from each campaign. Those of us that use social media daily are just feeling more overwhelmed by it all.

Let’s go backwards to the 2004 and 2008 elections. Neither former President George Bush nor Senator John Kerry were using the internet nor social media in the same manner to drive their campaigns as is done today. Neither were social media users as active in the campaign online when President Barack Obama‘s camp led a charge of merging politics with Facebook and Twitter in 2008. Now with staggering numbers of social media users (Pingdom announced in 2011, that Facebook had more users than there were internet users in 2004), the immediacy of gathering information and sharing it (whether correct or not) is extremely easy.

Just think about it. How long would it have taken for you to reach all of or at least a third of your social media friends to share your political views in 2004, then in 2012. In a hour, I can tell hundreds how I feel on a topic or share a funny meme with others. A lot has changed and this election is important, but I would not venture to say the political climate is the same. It is the citizens’ environment that has changed, due to the manner views are quickly shared from within and outside of the candidates’ campaign. The flood gates are literally opened to the opinions of others.

With all of that said, you can easily find yourself swimming in political statements online which could be further from your truth on the topic in question. When you do feel like the misrepresentations or views of others are so vile, step away from the computer. Ask yourself, how can the words you type or image you share be used to hold you accountable for offense or against you and your business or organization. You may want to stand on the “freedom of expression” leg, however, be prepared to stand alone when customers drop off or your comments are so biased they cost you your non-profit status with the IRS.

I’m not encouraging silence, but intelligence. You must be prepared for how your words will bring about change in and out of your business.

All in all, don’t get caught up in the politics of it all. November 6th will come and go, but your business or organization, will need to still be in tact.

What are your thoughts on sharing in political discussions as a business owner or non-profit leader?

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.

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