Can Social Media Take A Vacation?

5 Tips To Ensure Your Social Media Stays On Course

Can your social media take a vacation Can your firm’s social media marketing team take a vacation or be out sick? In other words, do you have a social media backup plan to ensure your business stays on course when your employees are out of the office?

For most businesses, the short answer is no because the chances are that an issue will transform into a social media firestorm when no one’s around, namely at night, on weekends and during holidays.

Not surprisingly, research shows companies are active on social media platforms during business hours, not when prospects and customers are active on social media. 

To better align your business with its social media audience, here are five social media activities to consider when planning vacation time. Understand there’s a difference between planned time off and unplanned emergencies. (Here’s how to develop your social media contingency plan.)

  1. Monitor the social media conversation. While you can use a variety of different tools with a combination of analysis, it’s critical to ensure that this information is checked on a regular basis. The frequency and depth of information collection depends on the size and scope of your business. It requires watching your competitors and macro trends since nothing happens in a vacuum. Actionable Vacation Tips: Use the best social media monitoring tools you can afford. Learn how to enhance your use of the monitoring product. Ensure this information is reviewed on a regular basis. Make sure that you have backup personnel in the event that the primary analyst is unable to work for health or vacation reasons.
  2. Provide useful, social media-friendly information. This content relates to your product offering, brand and customer needs. Consider offering an array of formats including text, photographs, videos and presentations to meet the information needs of your prospects and customers. Bear in mind photographs tend to increase many social media metrics across platforms. Actionable Vacation Tips: Your content marketing distributed across social media platforms can be created in advance and scheduled to appear at the optimal time. Some formats like blog posts and tweets are easier to schedule.
  3. Make your content marketing easily shareable across major platforms.  Include a set of social sharing buttons on all content you’re willing to allow your employees and customers to distribute for you. At a minimum, include the basic buttons on all text. Actionable Vacation Tips: Ensure that these buttons appear automatically once content is published. This is a great way to ensure that your content appears on your social media networks seamlessly.
  4. Respond to participants on your social media sites. This should happen in as close to real time as is at all possible. Depending on your prospects and customers, this may not be during normal business hours. It’s worth assessing whether to allow these employees more flexible hours to better mesh with customer social media usage. Actionable Vacation Tips: Incorporate this fucntion into an employee’s job or the customer service function. Have a set of social media guidelines so that every employee knows how to engage on social media when they represent you and when they’re on their own.
  5. Offer customer service across select social media networks. Train your representatives to engage effectively via social media. Understand that this may require different skills than other types of customer service. Select platforms based on where your customer segments are active. Actionable Vacation Tips: Have a set of representatives trained to handle customer service issues via social media who can fill in for your core team.

Have a social media contingency plan outlining the chain of command for social media participation. Train the backup personnel and provide them with appropriate passwords and clearances. Make sure these plans are integrated into your PR crisis management plan.

How does your firm handle vacations and absences in your social media area?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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