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How Business Owners Can Take A “Vacation” From Social Media

As a business owner, you’re probably no stranger to considering how the day-to-day of your business will run while you’re on vacation.

Since summer is in full swing and you may have a well-deserved vacation coming up, I wanted to make sure you also accounted for the day-to-day management of your business’s social media channels.

While it is possible to take a break from your business’s social media during your vacation, some planning and preparation will definitely help you do so more successfully than if you were to just unplug “out-of the-blue,"

Here are my top 5 tips for taking a “summer vacation” from your business’s social media.

Make time to prepare beforehand.

Once your business is up and running with social media, day-to-day management can be done in about 10 minutes per day. So, you shouldn’t have too much trouble making a little extra time for “social media activities” in the week(s) leading up to your vacation.

Putting this time on your calendar will set you up to successfully complete all the other tips in this post, so your social media will be working for your while you’re enjoying some offline R&R.

Use scheduling tools to your advantage.

If you’re taking a vacation (or going on maternity leave, or just feel like taking a sabbatical), get familiar with a few of the free and paid social media scheduling tools. These make it possible for you to personally take a break from social, without your business having to take a break too.

Here are a few of my great scheduling tools:

  • Good: HootSuite

  • Better: Buffer

  • Best: Edgar

With these tools, your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can keep running without you having to lift a finger.

Instagram is slightly tricker. You can still schedule posts in advance, you’ll just get a notification on your phone at the time you scheduled. Then, with a couple taps, the post content will open in Instagram and you’ll be able to publish it in about 20 seconds.

Avoid “total” automation mode.

Be cautious of automating several of your channels together. By this I mean that when you post on one channel, it automatically pushed content out on another channel.

For example, people do this all the time when they post something to Instagram and at the same time share it on Facebook. And a lot of people have their Facebook posts set to be automatically posted to Twitter.

That type of regurgitation ends up looking unprofessional and lazy. Especially since these posts will often include content that isn’t properly formatted for the specific channel where it’s posting.

Create content in advance for all the channels you use, so they’ll remain active, with engaging content, while you’re on vacation.

Determine who will represent your business online.

Just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean your audience is too. They’ll want to keep engaging, so don’t just leave them high-and-dry.

If you’re available to look at your social media platforms during your break, schedule a little bit of time to do so. During that time focus on responding to comments, mentions, messages and reviews.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) check in, I recommend designating someone to do this on your behalf.

Consider hiring social media pro.

If you want absolute peace of mind, or if you want your social media audience to grow in  your absence, working with a professional social media manager is going to be your best bet.

 This person can keep an eye on your channels, post live, engage with your audience and even grow your following -- all while you’re totally relaxed and completely unplugged.

 Want to leave your social media in good hands while you’re on your next vacation, let’s chat.

 And be sure to grab my free Social Media Vacation Planning Guide to help you make sure you’ve got all your online bases covered the next time to need/want to unplug.

 Get it free here, in my resource library.

Top 10 Small Business Social Media Questions Answered

     1. What are the 1-2 social media platforms my small business should be using? Why?

It really depends on the business, but Facebook is always a good bet. Twitter can used as a good customer service-type resource. If your brand is product-based and very visual, Instagram is definitely a good platform to be on.

Of these three largest social media platforms, Facebook is a solid choice, especially since it shows up often in search pages.

     2. Does my small businesses need social media to stay relevant? Why?

Absolutely. Many people use social media not only to communicate, but for research. If your social media isn’t updated, many people assume you’re no longer in business. People search for mentions and reviews a lot of the time.

     3. What should I post on my social media channels?

Post content relevant to your brand and industry. Are you a dog groomer? Post content about DIY dog grooming tips, ways to prevent fleas/ticks/heartworm, funny videos and recipes you can make for your dogs. If you’re a CPA, post content about tax season, money dos and don’ts, and updates about your practice. A good rule of thumb is to post content that you know your audience will love.

     4. How often should I post?

It really depends on your brand and what you’ve been doing so far. If you have a larger audience, you can post more often. If you’re just starting out, start slow, but be consistent. A good place to start is 3-4 times a week and tweak that number as needed.

     5. Is there a best time to post? What time is it?

Again, it really depends on your brand. Generally, good times to post are between 8-10am and 7-9pm for Facebook, 12-2pm for LinkedIn, 1-3pm for Twitter and anywhere between 7-10pm for Instagram. Again, these are just averages. The best times to post vary widely by audience.

     6. How do I get more followers?

See #3. Post consistent content often, respond to your audience, and always be human.

     7. Why is it taking so long to get more followers? How can I grow a following faster?

Growing your followers takes time. Nothing happens overnight. You could buy followers, but that will actually do more harm than good. Give yourself at least 90 days to start seeing results. Listen to your Grandma - Good things come to those who wait.

     8. How many followers do I need to make X amount of sales?

This is a great question! While it would be totally ideal to attribute reaching X amount of followers to sales, it’s not quite that easy. Tying sales to a social media post is very difficult. Don’t use social media to make sales, instead, use social media to build awareness and make people want to buy from you.

     9. Isn’t social media just for online businesses? Should local businesses care about social media? If so, why?

Nope! Social media is for everyone! Big businesses, small businesses, start-ups, nonprofits and even personalities can benefit from social media. Local businesses should especially care about it. When utilized correctly, it’s a great way to reach the community and increase brand awareness.

     10. I’m working so hard to grow X platform, but my followers and/or engagement is decreasing - why?

It could be a number of things. You could be posting at inopportune times, you could be posting irrelevant copy, or you could come off as fake and boring. The best thing to do is test your content. Trial and error is a necessary process of building your social media following.

6 Secrets For Stress Free Social Media Success

No doubt, social media is one of the simplest, most affordable ways to market your small-medium business. That is, if you know how to direct your time and effort.

Without a clear focus on the activities that truly matter, social media can quickly become a confusing and overwhelming time-waster.

That’s why in this post, I’m sharing six pro tips to help you focus your time and effort effectively on social media.

  1. Keep your page alive with a posting schedule.

Posting consistently is, hands down, the highest impact social media activity.  

Even if you do nothing else, posting consistently lets people know you’re open for business -- so if they stumble upon your profile, they won’t have to wonder.

Having an active page (on all of your primary social media platforms) also sends the message that you’re around and, therefore, worth engaging with.

To keep your page alive, decide on a few days per week to post (most businesses can get away with posting every three days or so). And show up with quality content on those days each and every week.

People will appreciate the consistency and it’ll build trust with an audience of your ideal clients/customers.

2. Engage with your audience.

You don’t need some fancy approach to connect with your online audience. Keep it simple by promptly replying to reviews and messages.

Hint: if you’re DIY-ing social, allow notifications on your phone or set a reminder to check your page 2-3 times per day.

Businesses that engage with their social media following on a routine basis can also get away with posting less frequently. Users will see your recent activity, so they’ll know you’re around and open for business.

3. Plan ahead.

To get ahead with social media, you’ve got to have a plan in place.

Start by picking a slow day or setting aside some time on the weekend. Spend an hour finding or creating sharable content your audience will like. Then, schedule it for the upcoming week.

If you’re only posting 2-3/week, you may not even need the full hour.

Here’s my super-savvy step-by-step plan to help you schedule 3-5 posts in less than 30 minutes:

  1. Use a tool like Feedly or a number of other resources to collect content that might interest your audience.

  2. Spend 5-10 minutes selecting 2-4 articles you think your audience would like.

  3. Write captions (or copy/paste a couple sentences from the article to really save time!), this should take no more than 5 minutes.

  4. Schedule the articles to post with your captions throughout the week. Again, this probably won’t take more than maybe 5-10 minutes.

  5. Create + schedule 1-2 original posts.

Want more help handling each step with less time and effort? My resource library has step-by-step guides that go deeper, get access here.

4. Manage efforts with free tools, or hire a pro.

There are tons of great tools out there to help you systematize and automate many of your social media management efforts, so that you don’t constantly have to think about it.

In a recent post, I covered my favorite tools for any business DIY-ing their own social media presence. Many of the tools are free or super-affordable. Check them out here.

Or, you could outsource your social media management. That way, you don’t even have to think about it. If that option sounds like it might be a fit for you, let’s chat.

5. Understand that some “time-savers” are actually a total waste.

The biggest mistake I see small-medium businesses making in an effort to save time on social media is automatically publishing on specific post across multiple platforms.

A common example of this is automatically posting Instagram photos to Facebook and Twitter. Since the content and conversations on each platform vary, an automatic posting strategy just looks lazy.

When you regurgitate information, you’re not giving your audience intentional value. And you’re likely to lose their interest and engagement.

6. Consistent efforts make it worth it

By now, you may have heard me say this, but I just have to say it again:

Social media takes time.

A lot of businesses are surprised when they don’t see instant results. In fact, many give up after just 30 days.

I think that’s a shame. A whole lot of wasted potential.

Think of it this way, it took time to hone your craft or perfect your product, right?

Building and engaging an online audience also takes time.

But if you stick with these six tips, and exercise a little bit of patience, social media has the power to be an amazing, and virtually stress-free way to market your business.

I want to know, what’s the most stressful thing about using social media for your business? And which tip will you apply first for some “fast relief”? Share your answer in the comments below.