A Company’s Social Media Policy Can Lead to Freedom

Flickr Image by Haags Uitburo

Taking the time to put a social media policy in place now will lead to freedom later. This is a case study. I guess you could call it the modern day version of crisis communications. It’s the story of one client and why they were really glad we had a company social media policy in place for them when MarketingMel helped guide them in the launch of their social media presence.

Now, the story….Sadly, not all people play nice. Not all people think before they write or post. As we prepared to launch this client’s social media presence  we put a social media policy (with its own visible tab). The idea would be rather like locks on car and house doors. Let’s keep the honest people honest and if some crazy person tries to break in we can point to our policy. Several months went by (about five from the time of launch) and there was still no need for the policy. Then one day, in response to a job posting (of all things), someone decided to post a truly insane, slanderous tirade aimed at another human being (who was not employed by our client) and chose the client’s Facebook page as the medium. We quickly caught it. Thankfully we had the policy in place and suggested the client message the slanderer and point it out. It’s the first time we’ve ever had to advise to take something down and, in retrospect, I supposed there could have been a public notation made as to why the post was being deleted. Since that time I’ve advised other clients to be sure to have a social media policy in place and I help them write them. Ironically the person who posted the tirade actually came back to post some positive comments later. Do you have a social media policy? What are your experiences? Please share your success stories with us so we can all learn here.  By the way, I really like the motto on Best Buy’s social media policy statement: “Be Smart. Be Respectful. Be Human.”


  • Sue Painter says:

    Many businesses don’t plan for emergencies in communications, and it can lead to such disaster. Excellent points and a good story about a save!

  • Eric Benson says:

    Whew! Good thing you were there, on the front end, to keep this from spiraling out of control…Proving once again that heading things off before they get out of hand is far less stressful than trying to deal with them when they’re out of control 🙂

    • maryellen says:

      You are so right Eric! Planning ahead helps avert potential crises in any situation including the digital world.

  • Jeff Brunson says:

    I think you summed it up wonderfully: ”Be Smart. Be Respectful. Be Human.”

  • Great advice, as usual Mel. Most people don’t think of having a social media policy, especially if they’re solo-entrepreneurs or small business owners, but it really is important for everyone. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Heidi says:

    Indeed forward planning is the key to crisis management – no good trying to dig our way out of the quicksand once we’re in it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *