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Politics Is The Enemy Of Profits

Politics can be your passion. But don’t let it overtake your business sense on social media.

Erica LaCentra headshot
Insider
Erica LaCentra
Dollar signs arrayed over a red-blue gradient
Political commentary has leaked beyond the boundaries of personal Facebook profiles and onto profiles often reserved for company promotions

I’m not sure, but I’m hoping that by the time this article is published, the election has come and gone and is nothing but a distant memory so we can look forward to what is to come in 2021 and beyond. This election season has been a long one, dragged out for what feels like years, and there has been no shortage of people loudly voicing their political leanings. Now everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, some might argue there is an appropriate time and place for them.

Conventional wisdom says don’t talk about politics in the workplace. However, an emerging trend this election season seems to show that piece of advice has been thrown out the window. Individuals in the mortgage industry are not only voicing their strong political opinions, but they are doing so very publicly.

Political commentary has leaked beyond the boundaries of personal Facebook profiles and onto profiles often reserved for company promotions, onto company pages and even onto LinkedIn, a social media platform usually reserved solely for professional networking and business endeavors.

With many of these posts often crossing the line of professionalism, is it time that individuals in our industry become more conscious of what they are posting and how it reflects not only on themselves, but the organization they represent?

Tamp Down The Flames

It is a well-known fact in the marketing world that more often than not, companies should avoid taking a stand on politically charged issues. By taking a firm stand on a divisive issue, a company is opening a can of worms and effectively alienating at least half of its potential clients, inviting backlash from opponents and angering current customers and employees. However, should the same advice hold for employees within a company? In many cases, I would argue that it should. Especially when they are using a professional profile to post about it.

For those of you that have highly visible positions in the mortgage industry or hold higher titles in your respective organizations, it becomes nearly impossible to separate you from your employer. So, while you may see posting strong political content on LinkedIn or on a profile you also use to promote your company as your right to express your opinion, the lines are actually blurred, and you are effectively sending out a politically charged message on behalf of your company. That, in turn, opens your company up to previously mentioned problems such as losing customers, inviting unwanted negative attention, and a whole host of other issues.

We have seen people in other industries get fired because of what they had posted on their personal social media profiles. It’s not far-fetched to think that it could happen in the mortgage industry as well.

Political commentary has leaked beyond the boundaries of personal Facebook profiles and onto profiles often reserved for company promotions, onto company pages and even onto LinkedIn, a social media platform usually reserved solely for professional networking and business endeavors.

Now I’m not saying that folks should delete their social media profiles entirely, mainly because we know that even still it is nearly impossible to not have a digital footprint nowadays. However, as a word to the wise, just err on the side of caution. Take a few seconds to reflect on what you want to post before you post it.

Rules, Or Regret

Not sure if it’s a potentially risky post? Then I urge you to treat all your future social media posts as if you were a recent college grad. Would your content prevent you from getting a job or would it make you unattractive to future employers? If it’s a yes, or a maybe, then don’t post it or keep it limited to your private pages.

Still itching to voice your potentially inappropriate political opinions? With the holidays here, apply the “Holidays with the Family Rule”. Would your post be an appropriate topic of conversation over holiday dinner with your family? If not, then it has no place on LinkedIn, unless you are okay being seen professionally as the crazy conspiracy theory-spouting uncle.

Social media has become a critical part of the mortgage industry and will continue to be in the future. But just a gentle reminder to all my colleagues in the industry, especially considering what I’ve seen over the last several months, you can have an active social media presence but make a point to maintain a high level of professionalism while doing so.

Close more loans, be more efficient, stay out of trouble.

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This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine December 2020 issue.
Erica LaCentra headshot
Erica LaCentra

Erica LaCentra is director of marketing for RCN Capital.

Published on
Dec 18, 2020
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