People like to express their opinions on social media. Politics. Religion. Social issues. But will expressing your opinion be bad for business?

These are difficult times and emotions are running high. Many business owners are finding it difficult to keep their emotions in check when it comes to politics. In fact, some have decided to ditch conventional wisdom and let their “freak flag fly.” They are voicing opinions  on social media that in the past, they would have kept to themselves. However, that can be bad for business. What are your choices and what are the possible ramifications ?

Traditionally, business owners, particularly, small business owners, have not expressed their feelings with regard to hot button topics. This is still the safest policy. You can have an opinion,  but instead of blasting across your social media channels, you can express it with family and friends over a drink at the end of the day. Just like in the old days.

However, perhaps your opinion lies deep in your soul and you can’t imagine not expressing yourself. It seems disingenuous not to let people know how you feel. What opinions do you have?

When one shop owner found that women were buying pink yarn at her shop to make hats for the wome ‘s March, she told them she didn’t need their business. Not only did they not buy their yarn there, but they also called for a boycott on social media. She became a national figure in the middle of a hot button issue, damaging her business and her profits.

However, another business owner, I know, became a community leader in the Black Lives Matter movement. She posted on both her personal and professional social media taking a slightly different approach on each. In her case, she found that customers who had never even considered her business, were now interested and asking questions. She lead with her heart and people responded.  I was recently at a conference and Guy Kawaski, an influencer and social media figure, said he had started posting pretty blunt political opinions on his social media page.  “Sure I get negative comments, but out of 20 million followers, I got four negative comments and a lot more likes.”

Some business owners choose to only express their opinion on their personal pages. However, as a small business owner, you are your business.  If you make your pages public, then your opinion will be public. However, some sites give an option of targeting your audience. This may be a great option as you can share your opinion with like minded people.

The most important thing to remember is that there may be consequences for supporting a cause, but if it is truly important to you, it may be worth the price.