Can Brands Take A Holiday From Social Media?

Digital Strategy, Social Media10 Comments

As a social media strategist, I often preach the importance of consistency. After all, how can you hope to build a relationship with your audience if you hardly ever post or disappear for days or weeks?

But with many businesses about to shutdown for the year (if they haven’t already), it begs the questions: can brands take a holiday from social media?

The short answer is yes, but with a few caveats:

  1. Set expectations early
    Let your followers know in advance that you will be closed so that they have time to ask any burning questions before you leave. You can even schedule a few posts over the holidays – e.g. “Happy New Year!” – with a note letting people know when you’re back. People are generally understanding, and don’t expect you to be on call 24hrs unless of course that’s your business.
  2. Check in periodically
    It’s advisable to log in every now and then (daily, if possible)  if  to check the pulse of your community. In an era where an issue can flare up on social media in the blink of an eye, you must still be vigilant. Consider turning on notifications and giving them a cursory once over. Mentally file what isn’t critical and time sensitive as “to do later” and investigate any potential issues straight away.
  3. Have a crisis management plan
    If something does go wrong, make sure you’ve got a plan in place to deal with it. Nominate someone with the requisite knowledge and experience to deal with an emergency as the primary contact on social media. You DO NOT want a Nestle on your hands and you can’t afford to leave it until you come back.
  4. Do as your business does
    If your workplace shuts down, it’s much easier to take a break from your regular posting schedule. But if you work somewhere like retail which remains open throughout or where your customers may need to contact you urgently, then it’s important that you are also present. Going back to the issue of consistency, you need to be there when your customers need you, not just when you want to be.But most importantly…
  5. Keep your ears open
    One of the side effects of our rapidly growing connectivity is that the line between personal and private time is now more blurred than ever. In this always on environment, companies have no excuse for neglecting their customers particularly as their customers now expect brands to interact with them on their terms. With that in mind, if your business allows it, you can take a break from proactively engaging and stimulating conversation with your community without risk of them forgetting about you provided you are still keeping track of the conversation and are ready to address any major concerns.

Community management is emotional and stressful, that’s why to avoid burnout take the time these holidays – if you can – to get off the posting schedule and rest, reflect and recharge for next year. This will be better in the long run for your company, your community and most importantly, for you.

10 Comments

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Tom

Great blog Mal. We manage a few large communities and will be out from Dec 23 to Jan 3. On Facebook, we’ve decided to post a Happy Holidays post with our return date and set our FB wall to posts by brand instead of ‘everyone’ so it will remain visible on the wall. Our Twitter accounts will be scheduled with a few occasion posts and a few “we’ll be back on…” posts. It’s nice to see we’re on the same page with this, social media consumes our lives all year, it’s nice to reduce the load for a week or so.

Cheers,
Tom

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Mal

Amen. I’ll still be on call as part of the emergency response plan but am looking forward to the break without the burden of proactively responding, engaging and stimulating discussions around our brand.

Have a great holidays!

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Prakky

I really enjoyed this Mal, and thanks for the reminders. There are really useful tips there.

Sadly, I think you’ve also pointed out that a genuine ‘time out’ break from social media management may not be possible, because ideally we’ll give our sites a cursory glance to ensure they’re okay.

Sure, we can take a chance that our online communities will be fine without us. But with the media always on the look out for the next ‘social media disaster’, and clients reliant on us for the best possible caretaking, that tactic is increasingly fraught with danger.

As for me, I do want to scale back over the Christmas week. Enjoy your break!

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Ben Teoh

Cheers for the read, Mal.

I think that last point is really important, and I like Tom’s idea of scheduling a few updates over the holidays just to keep things ticking along. Social media’s such a tricky beast as I imagine a lot of brands would have their community most active outside of regular working hours – including holidays.

Hope you have a great Christmas with your family!

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