We all know the feeling of dread that comes from waking up in a glorious hotel room with a massive swimming pool, a spa, and a full day of fun planned, only to think, “I should be working.” After all, your business can’t wait till tomorrow, right?
You’re right. It can’t. But… while you’re traveling, you shouldn’t have to be attached to your phone or computer at every opportunity. Keep reading to learn how I personally have fun AND run my biz while traveling!
First, let’s cover WHY social media must be maintained while you’re on vacation. Social media is the fastest moving promotional platform, so missing a day or six can be detrimental to your brand. Moving from posting every single day, several times a day, to not posting for a week – even if you tell your audience that you’re on vacation – can seem inconsistent to newcomers and cause your audience to decrease in size.
Maintaining your social media presence is a lot easier than you would think. Let’s go over a few really easy tips and tricks for creating an effortless, consistent presence while you aren’t even online!
Scheduling your posts out in a strategic manner can enhance your business while you sleep, or even attract clients and give them top-notch attention while you’re offline. I have several systems in place, even for my day-to-day so that I can focus on writing more and better content rather than hanging out on Twitter for hours on end.
I have Buffer set up to publish my social media posts strategically, starting at 1am. Buffer is inexpensive at $10 a month, and can ensure peace of mind for a low-cost investment. I did my research for my time zone, which you can easily do too by Googling it, to find out when and how often I should be posting, as well as the best times to post what kinds of content. Here is a great article on when to publish what types of posts or promos at what times. Once I’ve scheduled out my posts on each platform, I move on to make sure that my Pinterest has a consistent presence, too.
I utilize BoardBooster to ensure that my pins are getting re-pinned and looped all day long. The cool thing about BoardBooster is that you can create campaigns that will cause it to automatically pull pins from certain boards and pin them to others each day, and you can also use the looping feature to re-pin certain pins from the very bottom of your boards to the top. It’s an exciting program, but you have more options than just that one. Tailwind is another very popular scheduling service for Pinterest. I’ve used it and loved it – and the only reason I switched to BoardBooster was because of the looping feature.
Side note: If you’d like $15 credit on Tailwind – in addition to the free trial – go ahead and grab it here!
This is not a necessary email system to have, but I prefer it to Mailchimp and just about every other email automating system. ConvertKit ensures that when I’m not available to welcome a new client on board, my email can ensure them that they’re well cared for and wanted, as well as respond to anyone who opts into a form or an offering I have on my website.
Crowdfire is an automated response service, as well as a tracker of your social media following. It tells you when someone unfollows, and when someone follows. It can also be set up to send automatic messages to new followers, which is what I’ve done with my Twitter account. Crowdfire is currently only for Twitter and Instagram. My automatic message looks like this:
Heyo! Thanks so much for following me! Let me know what social media outlets you hang out on, and what your blog URL is so we can be friends! 🙂 – Allie http://alliewilliams.co/
A lot of people don’t respond, but I’ve had a few specific followers respond and say thank you, and that while they realized it was an automated message, they still loved that I wanted to be friends with them. One even said it was the most welcoming message they’d ever received on Twitter!
Once you’ve scheduled out your social media posts for as many days as you’ll be gone, it’s important to know what you will need to do while you’re gone. There will be some upkeep required.
Upkeep is part two of your vacation process. It requires daily check-ins with your clients, your social media accounts, and your email. While you’ve scheduled out all your posts and such, your job isn’t done. Each morning – or each evening, whichever you prefer – dedicate about an hour to being online and being present. This doesn’t mean posting things or creating content – that’s for before you go. It means interacting: answering emails, responding to Tweets and comments on your Facebook posts, and commenting on Instagram pictures that speak to your brand. This interaction – at just an hour a day – can exponentially increase your reach before sunrise. It also ensures clients that even when you’re out of town, they can expect first-rate service from you.
There are a few things that can help with upkeep.
If you have a virtual assistant, you know what I’m talking about. She’s perfectly capable of hopping online for a few minutes each morning and whipping out some replies, checking your email, and responding to inquiries. Outsourcing your small tasks to someone is much easier than trying to control it all by yourself. I would, personally, still hop on each morning just to make sure that my VA doesn’t have any questions and that everything is running smoothly. It’s good to trust your virtual assistant, but it’s also good to keep an eye on the business that has your name on it.
Setting a timer
Clocking your time online each morning will help you not get carried away or sit there for too long and miss the four-wheeling trip you scheduled a week ago. After all, those photos of the mountains at sunrise won’t take themselves! I use my iPhone timer and set it to 60 minutes. If I’m on any longer, it’s for an absolute MUST-DEAL-WITH-NOW situation, and nothing more! If you feel more needs to be done, consider discussing an expansion in your VA’s work with them. They might welcome the opportunity, and even if they can’t take on more work, you can still do the other things you wanted to do when you get home from vacation.
You can snag my totally free social media tracker spreadsheet here to help with time management! It contains my own personal schedule.
Now you’re fully equipped to go on vacation without guilt! In a nutshell, here are my tips and tricks:
- Schedule your posts and email responses to form sign ups
- Keep up with the responses by dedicating a certain amount of time each morning to social media and email
- Outsource, outsource, outsource
- Never stay online longer than you said you will unless there’s an emergency
- Get outside and have fun!
About the author: ALLIE WILLIAMS is an entrepreneurial blogger, the founder of the BizBabes Unite online community, and is launching a free blogging challenge on May 11th that is totally outside of the norm with team-oriented tasks. She works from home and lives in Alaska, soon to be So-Cal. She offers free email resources and hangs out mostly on Twitter.
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