One of the most common things we hear as social media managers is that social media is 24/7. You are expected to be responsive and available at any given time to resolve any possible situation. So, what happens when you want some time off? What if you want to plan some vacation time? How are you supposed to manage your social media accounts while sipping margaritas poolside?
The reality is that, like most things social media related, that all depends on you and your business. I honestly can't give you a golden formula to make vacation and social media work for you. But, I can give you some ideas that might help you to determine what works best for you.
So, here are some ways in which you can manage your social media while on vacation. Maybe you're relaxing in some exotic location or pounding drinks while avoiding family drama at the latest wedding, but either way, your social media pages are still working.
Schedule Your Posts
One of the best ways to stay "active" during your vacation, is to schedule posts for the time you'll be on vacation. I also recommend scheduling posts on the day prior and the day following. We all know how crazy it gets preparing to leave for vacation and how overwhelmed you are when you get back. Save yourself the stress, and schedule posts to cover these days.
I also recommend scheduling posts that are more informational or entertaining, and less conversational. Avoid asking questions that generate a lot of conversation - since you won't readily be available to answer those comments.
Set Aside Time to Check Your Sites
If you know you're going to have to check in on your sites, I recommend setting aside some time every day for this. Whether it means getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning or bringing your laptop on the drive (if someone else is driving!), give yourself time to engage online.
Don't Drink and Drive (Away Your Audience)!
Alcohol and social media DO NOT mix! We know this all too well from our personal pages, so please don't do it on your professional pages. Do not check your notifications after a late night of partying. Do not respond to comments after you've had that extra glass of champagne. Leave your social media accounts alone until the morning, when you're clear-headed and rational.
Keep Personal Photos to a Minimum
We don't need to know what you're doing every step of your vacation. Sure, you can share the token airplane window shot, and maybe a photo of you at your exotic hotel (in appropriate clothing, please!). But, remember, this is your business page, not your personal page. Being relatable and sharing your experiences is great, but we don't need to know every detail of your vacation!
Have Someone Manage Your Sites
If you have an employee or other responsible person you can trust, leave your social media accounts in their hands while you're on vacation. Give them clear instructions on what you expect them to do and how you want them to handle posting, comments, and responses.
Let Your Sites Go Silent
Personally, I don't recommend this method, but for some it may work. However, if you are going to go "silent" and not post nor respond to anything for the days you are on vacation, you had better give plenty of notice! I would recommend posting in advance that this is your plan. I would also suggest changing your banner/cover images to advertise that you are on vacation and not currently responding to posts until the date you return. Make sure that anyone visiting your site knows why there's no one there.
Tell Them You're Going On Vacation
Everyone deserves a vacation, even you! But if people are expecting you to be present and responsive, they might get annoyed at your delayed response time. Save everyone the headache and let your audience know you're on vacation! Make it a conversation - let them know where you're going, when you'll be gone, and what they can expect to see while you're away. Let them know if your sites will be silent, or if you'll have moderate response time, or if you'll have someone else managing the site for you. Whatever you have going on, be open and honest with them! It will be appreciated.
Set Up and Monitor Alerts
You never know what can happen when you go away for even a few hours. So I recommend setting up Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts for important keywords, including your name, your company name, etc. Chances are you will check your email at least once a day, even when you're on vacation, and these alerts can keep you informed of any potential issues.
So, now that you have a better idea of how to handle being on vacation, I hope that you'll feel more comfortable taking time away.
And on that note, I'm on vacation! Yes, I'm taking a few days to celebrate my hubby's birthday. I took off today though Monday! And while we're staying "local" in our southern California area, I will have limited access to social media throughout these four days. I hope that you'll understand any delayed responses.
Do you have any tried and true methods for handling vacation time away from social media? I'd love to hear your tips in the comments!