Chamber President's thoughts on the General Election

Jonathan Cage, President of Norfolk Chamber

Today Norfolk goes to vote in the general election. Whilst the Chamber has kept neutral throughout this campaign, I always find it frustrating as a business owner myself that businesses themselves don’t get a vote, yet they contribute greatly to the economy and the tax revenue which effectively funds the majority of public services. Whilst virtually all businesses rely on the people they employ, it is also important to remember if there were not entrepreneurs out there who were prepared to start up and build successful businesses then many of these people would not be in employment.

There is a real danger that when people make their decision at the ballot box that they will vote on the basis of a headline grabbing sound bites which have been posted by all parties and their supporters on social media, rather than a well informed study of each parties manifesto.  This election above all previously seems to have been significantly affected by social media and in my view not all for the good.  People are circulating photos of graffiti covered political banners, protests are being held when politicians are visiting communities and businesses, and generally the overall feel of the campaign has been aggressive.  

Social Media should be a brilliant way for politicians to get over their policies and beliefs in an efficient and rapid way. Allowing people where they want to show support for their political party, without being shouted down and often abused by those who often make the most noise on social media.   

Clearly Social Media and the internet generally has already been shown to be an amazing tool in the promotion of business activities, allowing access to billions of potential customers worldwide, which prior to the internet would of been impossible.  A whole new industry has developed helping companies to make the most of social media and the need for that ever so important google ranking. It is almost now impossible to ignore it and it appears that Social Media has to be an intricate part of any successful digital marketing strategy.

We are however still developing the rules for engagement with social media, creating a whole range of issues for businesses to consider.  One of the biggest of these is the blurring between peoples personal profiles and their business profiles.  Often business owners merge the two making it even more important that they manage carefully what they post on social media sites and consider how this could impact on the reputation of their businesses.

Clearly following today's election, I am sure that Social Media sites will be going mad and I only hope that whatever the decision is, that we as a nation accept the result and try and move on and stop this continually divisive series of events, which started with Scottish Independence, followed by Brexit and now this general election.  

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