With the holidays very rapidly approaching, it would make sense that you would plan to take a hiatus from social media. Even if you aren’t planning to take a break now, there will likely come a time when you know you won’t be actively updating your social sites—how do you prepare for those times?
Taking a vacation from social media, from your devices in general, is a great way to reset yourself and prepare to start fresh. However, social media relies on consistency; you want your followers to know they can rely on your accounts to provide them with a constant stream of relevant information. How can you reconcile these two disparate thoughts? With a little bit of time and preparation, it’s easy to prepare your social media for a vacation, so that your followers will never realize you weren’t there.
Step 1: Gather content. For me, this is the most time consuming step in this process. Depending on how long you plan to step away from your social media, and the sites you need to prepare, you’ll need a good amount of content to sustain continuous updates. I typically plan on one post per day for LinkedIn and Google+, two posts per day for Facebook and three-four posts per day on Twitter. (For these purposes we won’t be doing anything for Pinterest or Instagram, because the ability to schedule content simply isn’t there in the same way it is on other platforms.)
To gather content, I generally look at a lot of different sources. Examples include the Raveis blog, InmanNews, REALTORmag, RIS Media Updates, Huffington Post Home, New York Times Real Estate and Home & Garden, Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, Curbed, etc. I’ll look through major headlines and start pulling relevant articles, typically four to five for each day I know I’ll be on vacation. I’m also careful to vary the type of content I pull for each day. For example, I try and do a piece of real estate news, a homeownership piece and an interesting statistic or fact.
Sometimes I start this process a week or more in advance, just to make sure there’s enough new content on the sites I frequent. As a general rule of thumb, you want to make sure the content you pull is “evergreen,” or rather, could be relevant at any time.
If you write a blog, this is also when you’d start planning out posts for the time you’d be gone.
In general, I tend to post slightly less than normal when I know I’m going to be on vacation. I want the cadence to remain consistent, but I might only post four times on Twitter, instead of six, or twice on Facebook instead of three times. Use your own discretion, but I’ve found that slightly scaling down the volume of content for a short period of time has a minimal adverse effect on my overall numbers.
Step 2: Create content. Once you’ve sourced all of your content, this part of the process should go pretty quickly. I typically keep everything saved in a Word document, broken up by day of the week and then by platform. I always start by writing tweets, because I find that once I condense an entire story down to 140 characters, it’s much easier to expand that message for Facebook or another social network.
This is also when you’ll want to shorten your links (I prefer bit.ly, but use whatever works for you) and write your blog posts. Bonus! If you’re writing blog posts, make sure you have corresponding social media posts in your content calendar for that day. You’ll save yourself time and energy when it comes to creating content for that day.
Step 3: Schedule content. Now comes the fun part—you’re on the home stretch! You get to schedule content. I always do this platform by platform, because I think it’s easier to keep track of that way. I start with blog posts, which WordPress lets you schedule through their website (simply change when it will publish) and they even give you the link of what your post WILL be when it publishes (don’t use the preview link, it won’t work for anyone but you) so you can include it in your pre-scheduled social updates.
Next, I schedule Facebook. If you use a Facebook business page (which you should!) you can schedule posts directly on Facebook. Simply input your update, attach any photos and then click on the down arrow next to “post” to schedule. Space your posts out over the day for each day you’ll be gone. Typically a morning post and an afternoon/early evening post work well.
Then, LinkedIn and Google+. Both of these are easiest to schedule through Hootsuite. With a free account you can schedule content for LinkedIn and Google+, simply by connecting your accounts. For these platforms, I would suggest posting in the morning.
Finally. I schedule Twitter. For this, I also use Hootsuite. You’ll want to evenly space out your tweets throughout the day for the span of when you’ll be gone.
And with that, your social networks should be ready for you to go on vacation! When you get back, make sure to check your sites for comments and to thank people for engaging.
Do you have any other tips for preparing your social media presence for a vacation?
If you have any questions about anything discussed in this post, please contact Samantha Jorgensen, Digital Marketing & Content Manager for William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance at firstname.lastname@example.org.