Political Correctness and Your Utility’s PR Efforts
ID 124843565 © Artur Szczybylo | Dreamstime.com
- Jul 5, 2019 12:50 am GMT
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I’ve long been a fan of companies using social media to send messages that don’t necessarily have to do with business at all.
Sending out a tweet, Facebook post or Instagram message on a holiday, for example, seems harmless enough, right? After all, who’s not in favor of the Fourth of July, for example?
You would think there wouldn’t be a problem, but the world’s getting so politically correct that you have to be incredibly careful about what you post.
In just the last week, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, announced it no longer would celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday because he was a slaveholder, while Nike decided to withdraw a patriotic limited edition sneaker that featured the original Betsy Ross flag.
If Thomas Jefferson, Betsy Ross and the 13-star aren’t immune from criticism, what is? That’s why you need to be careful with your posts – you don’t want to accidentally create a firestorm of protest when all you’re trying to do is send an innocuous message.
So, how do you cope with it?
One option is to entirely cut out any messages that aren’t strictly tied to your utility, but that seems a bit extreme.
Your other main option is to make sure your posts are vanilla and generic. It’s not ideal, but in today’s climate, where seemingly everything is under scrutiny, you have no choice. Leave nothing open to interpretation and don’t try to be too clever.
As always, steer well clear of politics –- that is a no-win situation.
Focus on family, but choose your images carefully to avoid stereotypes.
You might also think about increasing your social media oversight to make sure all posts are reviewed by a couple of people at minimum, The extra eyes on the copy don’t have to be the equivalent of a Ph.D. review team, but additional perspective may keep you safe from unintended messages.