The Fargo-Moorhead CVB social media policy circa 2009 (an Anne Hornyak tweet screenshot)The social web is not quite the lawless, anarchic “Wild West” that some would have you believe.

It is 2012 …. long past time to get serious about social media.

Heck, if the US Air Force can come up with a 31 page PDF set of guidelines titled New Media and the Air Force (covering social media, blogging, metrics, engagement, tips and examples) then the rest of us can certainly put some thought into this topic.

But let’s not overthink it, right?

Your tourism or hospitality organization only has immediate access to one of the most powerful, effective, worldwide, 24-hours-a-day communications platform in the history of mankind.

No biggie to pull together a few guidelines for how to handle it, hmmmm?


As Tom Webster said back in 2010, however, if you won’t allow and train employees to engage with people online, “You don’t have a social media problem, you have a trust problem.”

Here are some resources for you to review and adapt for your own use regarding wise and effective social communications policies….


Don’t Re-Create Round Transportation Objects

(you know – reinventing wheels)

When in doubt, remember this phrase that is one of Sheila’s favorites:  consider the spirit and intent of a set of rules.

(In fact, calling them “rules” is awfully restrictive when the tools change so quickly. “Guidelines” is better.)

When you can’t fit a situation into your current guidelines, then stop. Reflect. Apply common sense and leadership.

Ask:  Does this action conform to the spirit and intent of how we want to connect with visitors, guests or customers?

Then proceed accordingly.

Here’s how others deal with the social web:

***  Five Things the Air Force Knows About Social Media That You Should Too  —  An infographic of how to respond to blog posts based on the guidelines from the Air Force.

***  Social media impact and presence of U.S. states (how social is your DMO?) (PDF) — 

***  Two brands to learn from:

***  170 more examples:

If we’ve missed any helpful resources – including yours – by all means give a shout down in the comments.


It’s Time To Move On From Social Media

There’s no such thing as social media anymore.

Fine. We said it.

Yes, it’s a rather provocative statement, but in our role as geek scouts for you, it is time to point out that social communications is not going to be seen much longer as a separate, silo’d, specialized entity. It will become simply another way to communicate, like its brethren in print, TV, radio, direct mail, outdoor, and email.

Do you have a separate Email Department?

Do you have a separate Telephone Department?

Of course not – those are tools that everyone uses each day to conduct business.  At some point here, we will arrive at the same situation with social media.

The difference with social is the two-way communications aspect, and if an organization can’t get up to speed on how to handle that sort of customer service and interaction….well, it will be tough sledding.  This should not be news to anyone.

Firebrand author and consultant Gary Vaynerchuk sums it up….(direct link to the video on

Think about it, folks.

Don’t bet against the internet.


Announcing a New Option With Our Online Course

Several customers of our six-week online course in social media for tourism have told us that they’d like more individualized guidance, more chances to ask direct questions of us (other than in the Lesson comments) and more help in staying focused on all of our course material.

We hear you!

We’ve added a “Full Course with Full Support” option to our online Store.

Soak in the learning from six multi-part lessons – plus get answers to your specific questions and advice for your situation with seven half-hour video chat or phone sessions throughout the course, in person with one of us.

We’ll keep you on track. We’ll make sure you get the most out of each lesson. We’ll make you laugh and kick destination marketing butt – guaranteed!

Thanks for your continued feedback on our educational products. We’re here for you, we’re never generic and we’re independent educators who only want to “teach you to fish,” then get the heck out of your way so you can tell your story.

Put our brains to work for your destination, attraction or lodging. Go here, see what the course offers, and if you want more of our personal attention, add Full Support.


Have you connected with us in your favorite places? If you arrived here directly from a link, here’s the email signup for this newsletter. Say hi to Tourism Currents on….

Don’t miss these goodies, either:

Comments are closed.