No Sun and Sand for Social Media

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No Sun and Sand for Social Media "November 10, 2015
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While every professional deserves to go on a summer vacation, it can be hard for some to go completely off the grid.
By Lindsey Cook, Content Manager, PCI.

No Sun and Sand for Social Media

If you manage your company’s social media accounts you know that, like money in the Wall Street sequel, “Social media never sleeps.” Just because you plan on spending a week sipping Mai Tais while half asleep in the sand, it doesn’t mean your company’s social media accounts have the same luxury. You can’t use an auto-reply; Your company’s social media platforms are an extension of your brand, and successful social media use is based on real-time engagement.

What, then, can be done when you want to completely check out for a well-deserved vacation?

Time travelOkay, so maybe social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer don’t allow you to actually time travel. They should, however, allow you to take care of most of the heavy lifting before heading out of town. Use one of these tools to schedule content for all social media channels during the time you’ll be out of the office. It takes foresight, but this is a good reason to keep a social media calendar with all branded content, industry news or articles you’d like to share with your followers, or any upcoming events or announcements.

Have an understudy. There will always be days when actors can’t make it to the show. You could catch the flu, have a family emergency, or, in a better scenario, you could be on a cruise in the Caribbean with little access to the internet! When you’re unable to monitor your social media accounts, there should be a designated person at your company to make sure all scheduled posts are posting correctly and to keep up with engagement.

Document your process. Do you have a Twitter list with all of your clients so you can easily scroll through and engage with their tweets? Is there a certain way you like to format LinkedIn posts? Document your social media processes so anyone can easily follow. Be sure to include a reminder to check in with all social media platforms periodically throughout the day to make sure links are live and pictures are being properly posted. Everyone makes mistakes, and technology is fallible. However, it’s better for your brand to make a social media post edit within the hour it was posted rather than to leave a broken link up for a whole week.

Create a policy. The main task of the person filling in for you should be to to follow up with those engaging with your social media content. Did someone request a proposal for your services? Your social media policy should document your appropriate response and the person who should receive the inquiry. Is someone posting vulgar content on your Facebook page? Your policy should outline how to handle this. Designate an executive level staff member in your social media policy to make decisions if an unforeseen situation arises.

Share notifications. Remember, the person helping out with your company’s social media while you’re on vacation has a full time job. They don’t have time to watch your company’s social media accounts at every waking hour. Instead, when you set up your social media accounts, use an email address other than your own such as “social@_____.com”. This way, you can add your pinch hitter to this email address so they will receive all notifications for direct messages, retweets, etc. If there is an emergency in the Twittersphere or on Facebook, they will be alerted via email without checking in with your social media accounts. They will also be able to change your social media account’s password if needed. (Side note: Keep all social media passwords in a secure location so the person filling in for you can access them.)

When you’re back in the office, with fresh eyes from a week of being unplugged, take time to assess your social media analytics from your week away. Are there any new trends, or was there significant engagement with a specific content piece? Successful social media managers always reassess strategy based on audience engagement. Make sure no questions or comments were left unanswered while you were away, and dive back into your company’s social media community!

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