Personal Branding

Solopreneur’s Taking a Stand – 6 Rules for Supporting Controversial Issues

One of my all time favorite bloggers is Jenny Lawson, a.k.a., the Bloggess. In a recent post she forewarned everyone by saying:

“Skip this post if you aren’t for gay rights.  No judgement.  Just come back tomorrow, okay?”

Then she shared the following video.

I’ve talked about the importance of understanding branding before, and I understand how publicly supporting a controversial topic can hurt your brand’s image. Because as a solo business owner, YOU are your brand. Whether you realize that or not.

So as my fingers were hovering over the “Share” button on Facebook, I thought about what that may do to my personal brand image. As a solo business owner, publicly supporting gay marriage could damage my reputation within certain circles.

But I don’t care. 

Ever Heard About Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility  (CSR) is when corporations concoct a strategy that supports certain social causes. Sometimes it’s because they truly believe in the causes, and sometimes they are trying to improve their public image. Regardless of the reason, many corporations support social causes.

So what’s the lesson here? If corporations can choose to support important social issues, why can’t solo & micro businesses?

The answer is, of course, you can.

Social Responsibility Rules for Social Media

1. Think before you post. Only share what you truly believe in.

2. Don’t engage in public debate. Don’t get into pissing matches in any social media platform. You will never win against some people, so don’t try.

3. Not everyone will support the same things you do. Be prepared for hostile responses, especially if you share political or religious information.

4. Don’t jump on every bandwagon. The media circus has a new focus every week. Don’t join them.

5. Be professional. Don’t forget that your professional image is at stake. Think about other’s who have not acted like professionals. Find a way to be professional in every statement you put online. And live by that code.

6. Never name-call, insult, or be disrespectful in any of your communications. If you want people to respect your views, respect theirs.

Back to My Choices

I believe in standing up for what I believe in. I also understand how this affects my business image. But my CSR includes supporting tolerance and acceptance, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

This video honestly brought me to tears. I’m not gay, but I support gay rights. Just like I support free rights for all people, regardless of race, religion, or culture. And I don’t care that some people will now associate me with this cause. In a small town, with many close-minded people, I know that this may affect my personal brand image.

And that’s okay with me.