Navigating the mandate minefield on social media

Navigating the mandate minefield on social media is difficult.

It’s fair to say that in South Australia right now in the absence of government mandates around peoples vaccination status, businesses have been left navigating the mandate minefield on social media and all their other communication channels.  In this article we are going to avoid most of the obvious debates in terms of whether you should mandate or not mandate a double vaccinated status for your staff or your patrons.

This is a difficult decision that every business owner faces and regardless of your choice it is easy to get the way you choose to announce it wrong. What is important though is once the decision is made  – how do you navigate the mandate minefield on social media and all your digital channels

Here is a great example of a well crafted response that is pro choice

The above post garnered a lot of positive support, the detractors of this post were responded to politely and with respect which meant that nothing really blew up.

Below is the most recent example of two venues  one on either side of the fence


If you compare the two there are some really simple things to learn from both.

  1. The more heart you put into the story the better the response is going to be – what I mean by that is that people either side of the fence feel very strongly about the issue of choice and discrimination or the issue of social responsibility and consequences so you need to speak to people in a way that connects.
  2. Be prepared for the firestorm – if you have chosen to go down the path of self imposed mandates for your customers then understand that you have lit a fire. There are a large number of freedom groups etc on Facebook with large followings who will ensure that your post is responded to, and usually not in the manner you were hoping for. This means you have to put water and not fuel on the fire. As someone who has spent a good portion of their career successfully supporting companies with disaster recovery efforts in the digital space my best advice is DO NOT COPY AND PASTE. You will need to address and personalise each response, this can be exhausting and emotionally draining so it is often best to retain someone to do it for you like Digital Marketing AOK.
  3. Engage with the comments don’t ignore them – Often people feel it is best to let sleeping dogs lie, but it is really important to understand that these people are not sleeping and their comments on your post are nothing compared to the damage they will do long term through word of mouth and word of mouse so start by responding to their comments.  When you do so though apply the maximum three responses rule though so you don’t jump down the rabbit hole of justification.  Reread your responses to ensure they aren’t emotionally loaded or inflammatory. The best way to put out a storm is with facts and logic.
  4. Don’t personalise it – Easy to say I know but this is where most of the ongoing issues will come from. The people responding often don’t care about you or your business they care about their point of view and their perspective. If you can remember this it will be much less painful and draining as you deal with the process ongoing.

Lastly remember that at best it will last for perhaps 72 hours before it fades away so start with carefully crafted posts for each channel, respond to the comments as they come (make sure you have cleared your diary that day) and ride it out. If it really blows up just give us a call.

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Simone Douglas

Simone Douglas

Simone is co-founder and Senior Principal Solutions Architect of Digital Marketing AOK. Simone offers over 17 years in corporate management roles encompassing generalist HR recruitment and development of small to large teams across multiple sites, industry sectors and states. Experienced in a variety of social media platforms and their complimentary applications, social media strategy, risk management, disaster recovery and associated HR policies and processes.