You're on holiday. Your Social Media Isn't.

For the lucky among us holiday time is looming, but what do you do with your social campaigns when you're away? Our handy tips can help you plan.

For the lucky among us holiday time is looming. Whether that means a luxury break on far flung shores, sightseeing in Europe or just holding down a deck chair in your back garden it’s something we can all get excited about.

But before you kick back with a Margarita (or three) there’s a bit of planning to be done. Sorry. Switching your “out of office” on might be fine for some of your projects but neglecting your social media when you are away can mean relatively big losses in a short amount of time.

Here are our top tips:

1. Plan

Your content can be planned well in advance. Use your brand’s events, sales or promotional calendar, look at relevant forthcoming world events and then get creative – basically what you would do normally, just well in advance. If you’re working with an agency let them know your holiday dates, they should be able to plan the bulk of content in advance for you to sign off.

It is easier if nothing “difficult” is running whilst you are away – especially if it is particularly labour intensive or needs your specialist input. For example a photo competition where entries need approved frequently. If possible try and plan so these don’t happen when you are on holiday, obviously this may be unavoidable. If that is the case make sure you work with whoever will be running your social to ensure they completely understand the complexities of the campaign.

2. Schedule

Scheduling is your friend. Facebook allows you to easily do this through its own platform. For Twitter, use a community management tool such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social. If possible schedule posts for an additional day or two after your break. Chances are when you get back to work you will have a small mountain of emails to get through, voicemails from everyone and their dog as well as lots of catching up to do so a little buffer will be a big help.

3. Tidy

Try and tie up your loose ends before you go – if a customer has a query that needs answered push on the relevant department to get an answer. If not make sure whoever is taking over knows to pick up on it.

4. Handover

Just because you have scheduled all your posts doesn’t mean your work is done. You should never leave your social networks unattended. All brands will (or at least should!) be delivering some kind of reactive customer service online, for some this will obviously be a lot more than others.

Whoever you are handing over to needs to know the kind of queries you normally receive, the way they would normally be handled and timings. Be sure to let them know if you have any repeat complainers or abusers (that you haven’t blocked) – you might know that Sweary Jane is just a bot that spouts unjustified venom on Twitter daily but it could send someone unfamiliar into a flap.

It’s also a good idea to let them know the amount of time you normally spend on you social media. Make sure they can handle it in addition to their usual workload. If not you might have to work out a rota system. If you normally work with an agency or freelancer make sure they know who to contact in your absence, it’s a good idea to get an email chain going so that everyone has “met” each other beforehand.

Also it goes without saying that a verbal handover is nice but you’ll probably need to do a written document too. It’ll all take a little bit of time so plan it early – if you are shouting instructions as you wheel your suitcase out the door you will forget things.

This might seem like a lot of effort, especially if it is just for a short break but when broken down it shouldn’t be overwhelming at all. And if it helps you totally relax and have a carefree holiday, we say it is totally worth it!

By Jen Haughton, PR & Social Media Consultant