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Don’t let the Holidays affect your Social Media Strategy

The ghosts of the past and Halloween are now behind us. Most people are now getting their minds in gear for the biggest holiday season of the year. During these times of year, most offices shut down, processes start to slow down, and while you’re focusing on vacation and your loved ones your marketing might take a hit which might cost you the ultimate price — a loss of fans and followers on your various social networks. So how do you keep up and still enjoy the holidays?

While it’s still early in the major holiday season, start putting together an editorial calendar for the next two months. What does your marketing strategy need to reflect for the next few months? Gather articles, write status updates, and start scheduling them out if you know you’ll be going on vacation. Also during this time, figure out who in the office will be assigned to manage your social media presence and create a schedule if necessary. This person (or people) should have detailed insight into your company; an ideal candidate would be someone from your marketing team. Setup a Box.net account between you and this delegated team member to share important files and updates. The account can be accessed offline and online. There is also a mobile app for the iPhone and Android to use Box.net on the go.

Some great tools for scheduling updates are Hootsuite, CoTweet and Buffer. The advantage of these and similar tools is that you can add multiple social accounts and additional team members if you’re going to be away from your desk. Since they’re web based applications, they won’t take up space on your computer and there are even an mobile apps, so you have access on the go. Posts can be scheduled using the Publisher tool. If you’re going to be away or busy this season, a scheduling tool can by your ally and send out updates to your network on your behalf.

For each social media site, set clear goals for what you want to accomplish while you’re gone:

  • Setup alerts for each site (this will notify you of any tweets, mentions, wall posts, etc.)
  • Delegate holiday hours and let people know you’ll only be responding during certain hours so that your fans/followers aren’t expecting an immediate response.
  • Decide what those holiday hours and stick to them or delegate them to the staff member you’ve assigned. Have them email you a daily digest of the activities on your social media sites so that you’re aware of what’s going on.
  • Set up a status message on LinkedIn to direct traffic to Facebook/Twitter or your email.
  • If you’re on Google+ (there are no business pages yet), leave a message saying where you’ll be and where your followers can find you.

Another important social media element tool is your blog. If you’re a frequent blogger with a large audience, taking a break during the holidays can cost you a few readers. Like your social networks, blog posts can be drafted and scheduled in WordPress or Blogger. If you’re not running a blog on either of these platforms, consider writing your posts in Microsoft Word or an equivalent and then setting a time to have them posted or delegated.

Before you leave for the holidays, don’t forget to set up your email auto-responders to let important contacts know that you’ll be gone on vacation. If you need to stay in touch during the holidays, email programs like Gmail and Outlook offer ways for you to set up filters and folders to prioritize your mail so that you can focus on answering  just what’s important and save the rest for after your vacation. If you know you won’t be updating on Twitter or Facebook for a while, you might also want to update your bio or leave a message on your wall so that your fans and followers aren’t left wondering where you went. Most importantly, enjoy the holidays and take some time to “unplug.”

Use these helpful tips to keep your social media presence strong during the holiday season, without having to give up your time off. Have you used any of these tips (or others) to keep up over the holidays?

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