Many business owners and staff take a well-deserved holiday after the Christmas rush, but that can mean there’s no one to update social posts over the summer. If you want to keep your social media profiles fresh and updated while you’re soaking up the sun, read on for expert tips.
Summer holidays are just around the corner, and many business owners and staff want to take a break after the crazy commerce crush of Christmas. But for many businesses a vacation raises the question of who will update the company’s social media pages during the holidays?
The answer to this question, according to Hugh Stephens, CEO of social media scheduling platform Schedugram, is that it depends on the business itself.
“If the company is closed, a message saying ‘We are off for the holidays and will be back on 15 January 2018. Have a great Christmas & Happy New Year’, is fine because most consumers understand that SMBs have to take time off eventually!”
However, maintaining – and increasing – reach at a time when your customers are relaxed and may be checking social media with more frequency can be a great strategy for business. To manage this while you’re away, one of the easiest solutions is to pre-schedule relevant, evergreen content.
“It’s easy to pre-schedule your content so that you can ‘act’ like you’re not away – this can be a good move if you’re still otherwise operational. For example, if you are an eCommerce store you might schedule content for the week you’re away, as the site will keep taking orders.”
But, Stephens cautions, “As is the case with any type of scheduling, this doesn’t necessarily abdicate your responsibility to keep an eye on things and respond when you can. It looks bad to have a series of complaints without any acknowledgement while the business continues to push out updates. So, it’s a balance you have to choose yourself.”
Social media is a business’s first chance at showing that it cares about its existing and potential customers. For this reason, businesses should strive to respond to any queries on social media in a timely manner.
Stephens offers a tip for handling difficult queries when you’re away from the business and can’t check details: “Sometimes you won’t have or know the answer immediately. That’s okay, and people will understand. But you should still respond by acknowledging the customer’s question/concern and telling them that you need to get some more information and will follow it up.”
“There’s a difference between this strategy and just buying time – my advice has always been that if you can solve the issue within five minutes, solve it then. If you aren’t going to be able to help them (for example, they’re insisting on a refund, which you won’t provide), don’t try and buy time and hope that they’ll forget – be clear about your reasons and practice some (respectful) tough love. It’s better than the hope that they’ll just forget about it”, he adds.
So before you pack your bags, here are four simple yet effective ways to update your company’s social media during the holidays.
Pre-scheduling content. Almost every social media management tool (and even Facebook directly) will let you schedule updates to go out at a particular time and day. This can be great if your business can support it (see above), but also means that people will expect you to be there to respond.
Keep posting live. Thanks to the mobile interface of many management tools, you can just keep posting and “keep an eye” on things by checking in once or twice a day. In fact, being on holiday can be a great chance to post an inspiring pic or two on Instagram and Facebook, perhaps with your products in situ. It does mean, however, that you don’t get a complete break. A good combination is pre-scheduling content so you don’t have to think about it and then adding to it if you feel inspired.
Hire someone to babysit. It’s possible to hire someone to look after your social accounts for the weeks you’re away. While it will usually be a bit more expensive than hiring someone to manage it on an ongoing basis, they can post any “holding statements” necessary and alert you if there is some kind of disaster that they need your input on. They can push out your content, too, or create it for you so you can take a proper break.
Let things go quiet (but tell people you’re doing so). As mentioned above, it’s okay to let things go quiet over a holiday, just make sure you let people know! This is particularly feasible if your business is small – customers know SMBs don’t have teams of people who they can hand the reins over to while they take a break, so they’ll be quite understanding. Just make sure it’s clear that you’re on a break and let people know when you’ll be back by putting out a message on the day that you leave, and another when you come back, perhaps with a few holiday pics attached.