Get Out of Town! Automating Digital Marketing for Vacations
Vacation season is upon us! This means sun, sand, and lots of travel are on the horizon and vacation days are populating your calendar.
As a small business, time away from the office needs to be handled carefully, whether you’re a team of one or have a handful of employees. You know that just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean your business can put up an out of office message and pause your business and social media activity.
To best position your business to thrive while you’re enjoying your well-deserved time off, consider these tips for managing your social presence.
Notify your audience
A perk of being a small business is that you can communicate directly with your customers. In regard to vacation time, you can notify them of adjusted business hours or that the business will be closed for a few days through email, social media, or an update on your website. This kind of communication shows your clients that you are mindful of their customer experience and want them to be prepared for any unexpected changes while you are way.
Proactively reaching out to your client-base is considerate and sets expectations while you are away from the business. The more information you provide upfront, the more your customers will feel taken care of. They’ll appreciate your transparency and be understanding of a temporary change in user experience with your business.
It is also a good idea to set up a vacation reply in your email so that your partners and customers are notified of your time off and when to expect you back. If you are using a good small business phone system, your customer service number will go with you on a trip, so there will be no interruptions.
Set up security monitoring
Wouldn’t it be great if our websites could exist in a perfectly safe online environment – free from threats, data theft, hackers and malware? Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 100% immunity from hackers.
That does not, however, mean that you don’t even try to secure a website. In fact, it’s riskier to avoid the persistent issue of website security completely, especially when you are going away.
Something bad happens when you are away.
Plus, being away means exposing your devices to new (potentially insecure) connections which increases a risk of a data breach while you are traveling. Make sure your site is verified with Google’s Search Console for it to notify if your site is hacked.
Additionally, make sure you are notified when your rankings drop, just for the piece of your mind. SE Ranking’s rank tracker is the tool you need for that.
Automate your social media posts
In order to sidestep live posting, planning and scheduling your content in advance is the way to manage your social media presence. There are a slew of tools that assist in automating your posts and remove the need to post in real-time. Make sure you use a social media management system, like Hootsuite, to automate your social posts prior to your vacation.
Before you begin scheduling your automated posts, you must make a few decisions:
Set consistent posting times
As we know, audiences need consistency and expect new content at certain times based on your posting behavior. Schedule your posts at the same times and same frequency while you’re away so there are no gaps in your social presence.
Determine your content
Since your posts will deploy automatically, posting about evergreen topics is recommended. Evergreen content is comprised of industry-related topics that are not time-sensitive or seasonal, and have ongoing relevance. Your vacation time is a great opportunity to dig through your older content and repurpose it. You did a lot of work to create those pieces in the first place, so get the biggest return by publishing them again.
Evergreen content is less likely to generate comments or notifications that need immediate responses as they are ‘expected’ and are not sensational. If possible, go through your analytics and see which blogs or posts performed the best and schedule those for your vacation.
Plan for the unexpected
Inevitably someone will need your assistance while you’re away and it may be urgent. In those cases where attention is required in a timely fashion, implement a customer service back up plan. There are quite a few free WordPress plugins to help you monitor and fix any unexpected errors.
If you have other employees, make that person visible and known as the point of contact during your vacation time. Include their name and contact information in any communication you put out prior to your departure. This way customers know who to ask for in your absence.
If you’re on your own, consider employing a virtual assistant to manage immediate customer needs. It takes time to get a new person up and running, so plan ahead and establish a relationship with your freelance assistant well before your vacation date. This way the person has the proper amount of time to learn the nuances of your business and can provide thoughtful customer service when it’s time for your vacation. Having an interim employee who is attuned to your business is well worth the hourly rate and your peace of mind while away.
Utilize mobile apps
If you have trouble completely unplugging from your business, download a social media management app to your mobile device or tablet. A one-stop shop allows you to seamlessly monitor all of your social channels from one place and tend to any urgent issues should the need arise.
Being able to check in without firing up your laptop can provide a huge sense of relief to a business owner and actually help you further appreciate your trip.
Bonus: Use your vacations as new project opportunity!
I know this sounds weird if you are really looking to relax, but you can actually find it motivating and inspiring to start a new site to share your adventuresses. At least we did. During one of our trips we have set up a new site and started sharing our adventures there. This is ended up one of the best things we’ve ever done: It is now a great journal full of memories.
Who knows, maybe your trip will help you discover more business opportunities. If you need even more inspiration, use this blog name generator to find a cool name for your adventure. Here’s mine:
Have we got you itching for those days off? Get your ducks in a row now so you can rest assured your social media will run smoothly during your trips.
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