Let’s face it, holidays make startup life harder. Engaging as it may be to see full blown Facebook summer holiday feeds from Australia to Bora Bora, it feels catastrophic when you consider work. With small teams, even one person going out is an issue.
And it is worse for a social media team that just never stops functioning. How can you handle the pressures of social media during summer holidays? Please excuse my north hemispherical bias, but this is a question for all holidays no matter what the season.
Here are some tips that I recommend for startups and small businesses for the coming holidays.
Prioritise your networks
I’m off Instagram. It’s just one of those things, because there’s only so much I’d like to handle as a person and as a business. Considering I usually work in specific B2B settings, I prioritise other networks. I am more active on Twitter- that I prefer and see fit for my Startup. Just like any other business.
You focus on your most important social networks. Because unless your team size is a 100 people just for social media, or you’re a big firm, the likelihood is that you will be limited in resources. Some of the questions that you may ask while prioritising your networks are:
- Where is my audience?
- What type of product/content experiences would my audience prefer (e.g. visual/video/text)?
- How can I best convey my brand message (e.g. platforms/mediums)?
- What’s the demographic of my audience (e.g. age, gender, interests)?
Use holiday proof tools
I have shared this before that startups and small businesses need to use tools that enable them to expand their social marketing teams. And I mean everyone, not just the one-two people assigned to the cause. This helps generate new creative ideas, get a sense of ownership from others, and reduces the pressure on the one or two individuals.
It is important to be ready with the right tools that this kind of empowerment will entail. Opening up to multiple teams also means more responsibility to ensure your brand voice is retained. Ken Herron, the Head of Marketing of Unified Inbox, shares his insights.
Be summer social. When employees have downtime, they catch up on their reading, which means great new content for your organisation’s social media streams. Use a social publishing tool like Outbox Pro, which enables everyone on the team to capture and create great content (yes, even if it’s not their “day job”), for approval by your social media manager(s), so that great content can be approved and scheduled for publishing.
Less could be more
Did you ever consider how much you need to share on your networks? Or what is the most critical activity on your social networks? Here are some questions to begin with, in order to be lean with your actions:
- What is your social media goal (e.g. more traffic to your site, more social media impressions, more engagement etc.)?
- Which activity has the strongest impact on your social media goals?
- What are the absolute necessities that you need to share or talk about on social media while you’re away?
Once you define your most critical needs, you may also be able to get more ROI out of your plans by focussing on what works the best for you. It’s always important to keep experimenting and learning new things, but know what is the real need and where the impact comes from.
Define a clear back-up plan
Recently while talking to a friend, she told me, how in her previous job, her holiday was a big issue. If she was on holiday, no one could be a back-up or a support for her projects that left them half-done and incomplete till she was back again. Sometimes this made her not take holidays at all, given the pressure she would face.
Is this how your startup is running too? Ken offers us a tip again for this issue that many startups and small businesses face.
Create and communicate a clear “out-of-office” communications policy for when employees are away on vacations and holidays. When the entire team knows someone is away (and who to go to in their absence), it’s easier on both the team and the person who’s away. And the returning employee will not have to spend their first day back culling old, out-of-date messages.
Some important aspects to consider:
- Share a transparent holiday plan within your team/extended team
- Share who will take over the holiday responsibilities from the person on a holiday
- Define a holiday communication plan and emergency plans in case something goes off
Share your holidays with your consumers
This may sound crazy and your privacy alarms may go up. But think about it. Holidays are seasonal and no client will come down on you, if you take a break. You tend to come back with a refreshed mindset to your business. You can share a completely human side of your brand by being authentic and sharing a holiday picture with your consumer.
Think about the beauty of being out-of-office and sharing your 90-year old grandmom’s birthday picture. Or a message from your kids on the beach to your office folk. You can be creative and build an emotional, authentic connect while you’re sipping tea on holiday!
It’s hard to part with work as a small business, but the benefits of a downtime, far outweigh the struggles of not being able to take any time off. Allow yourself and your teams a break. And more important, continue to be pro-social while you’re away! It all starts with a plan.
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