Guest Columnist Meredith Oliver: WALK the LINE: Why salespeople should avoid religion, sex, and politics in social media

Meredith Oliver

 Social media networking sites are wonderful tools to connect salespeople with their prospects and existing customers. These days, you can even engage in a political discussion with your prospects/customers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. However, you’d be treading very dangerous waters if you do! 

If you wouldn’t normally make a sales call and start talking politics, then you shouldn’t do it on a social networking site either.  Remember, it’s not just sales people who are using social media to do research. Buyers use social networking sites too.  If you post all of your political, religious and other controversial information on your business site, then a potential buyer that does not share your political views may not want to do business with you. Not to mention that you place yourself in a weakened negotiating position.

 That’s not to say you can’t engage in “hot button” discussions with your friends and family on Facebook. Just keep these personal discussions separate from your professional life. Create a business page on Facebook and use it strictly for business. Limit comments to your personal profile and adjust your privacy settings so your comments aren’t shared with anyone beyond your immediate circle.  

However, you should probably still be careful what you post online. While you can control who YOU share your information with, you can’t control what your friends and family share. As a result, there is still a possibility that whatever you post online can be found by someone conducting a Google search.

 Unless your business happens to involve politics or religion, the safer course to follow is to avoid discussing these subjects online or in-person with your professional contacts. Remember what happens on Facebook, doesn’t always stay on Facebook! 

 If your sales team needs social media training, Meredith Oliver’s Social Media Boot Camp can teach your salespeople click-by-click how to use social media to increase sales. Call, e-mail, text or send Meredith Oliver a carrier pigeon for more information – whatever works for you!


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