Summer is finally here! We’ve swapped winter jumpers and boots for light linens and sandals. The past 6 months has pretty much been spent in darkness and now the sun has decided to make an appearance, chances are we’re about to book some time off to go and enjoy it. We’re certainly prepared for a well deserved holiday, but before the out of office is switched on, we must ask ourselves, “is my social media strategy as prepared for this break as I am?”

social media strategy
Unfortunately, hitting the “out of office” button doesn’t apply to your social media strategy too

Don’t Leave Your Plants Unwatered, Your Pets Unfed, or Your Social Media Strategy Untended

When it comes to social media, there’s no on-off switch. “Be back soon” just doesn’t cut it.

The demand to be online constantly means that our social media channels must be managed carefully and our social media strategy followed closely, even while we’re away. This doesn’t mean to say that we have to be glued to the hotel lobby chasing a strong WIFI signal, but this does mean that we need to plan ahead.

So with that being said, here are 4 ways you can enjoy an uninterrupted holiday while keeping your social media strategy ticking over.

1. Keep your social media content calendar updated

Don’t overlook the importance of adding structure to your social media strategy. While social content calendars are needed all year round, they become critical in helping us plan what to post while we’re away.

Calendaring social media content allows you to plan for significant announcements, prepare appropriate images, create landing page URLs, etc. It provides an opportunity for us to understand the type of materials we need to optimise our social media strategy, prior to actually needing them.

We recommend having a clear content calendar that takes into account key brand messaging and also the major events impacting your industry during the period that you’re away. It’s easier to gain brand reach if we newsjack a campaign that has already gained momentum. For example, it was Technology Week last week. Since Meltwater is a key player in this space, we knew that those following this campaign online were likely to be open to Meltwater content too and so we planned more tech-focused content during this time and capitalised on the hashtag.

It’s not much of a holiday if we’re checking our phone every few minutes to monitor workplace social media accounts, but with a social media editorial calendar, your team has everything they need to keep the social content flowing in your absence.

Elements of a Useful Social Media Editorial Calendar

social media strategy
A content calendar is needed to keep your social media strategy on track

So what should we include in a social media editorial calendar? We’ve found including the following columns or fields to be really helpful:

• Day of the week

◦ This is important to include in case there are any day-specific hashtags or topics (such as #TBT) to consider, or if weekend content differs from weekday content.

Need hashtag inpso? We’ve listed a ton of day specific hashtags in a previous blog post here!

• Date and time of the post

◦ Is there a cut-off time for RSVP’ing for an event? Have you been asked to share a particular content item first thing in the morning? It’s helpful to spell out what content will be going out at exactly what time. Meltwater’s engagement tool is able to identify the time when your audience is most active. Use this to understand when you should be posting the content you think is of more importance, basing your decision with your overall social media strategy goals in mind.

• Content objective

◦ If your social feeds are always sales calls to action (CTAs), don’t be surprised if your audience tunes out. This column helps ensure a mix of thought leadership, third-party articles, and amplification of marketing efforts are considered.

• Content topic

◦ Similar to objectives, if your content has too narrow of a focus, it can quickly get boring. This column is a reminder for all key topics to be shared on a regular basis.

• Copy specific for each channel

◦ It’s useful to have related status updates side-by-side in one row of the calendar. Not for ease of copy/pasting the same text into every cell (that’s not a best practice!), but to make sure you’re hitting the appropriate channels for content in the right way.

• Placeholders for recurring content activities

◦ Do you share a new blog post every Tuesday? Or post an inspirational image every Friday? Are you promoting a quarterly PR programme to amplify social channels? Include those details in your calendar, so they don’t fall through the cracks or become a last-minute task.

2. Schedule your social posts

Now we have a clear overview of the content we want to share with our audience while we’re away, it’s time to schedule the posts.

Any decent social media management tool will allow you to do this. With Meltwater, you’re able to schedule posts on all social media channels from one platform helping you to save little time. The tool also features an integrated editorial calendar and the ability to target posts by geolocation, as well as channel, adding to the success of your social media strategy.

3. Set up your alerts

We have limited control over what is posted about our brand or when… this means a crisis could well happen while we’re on holiday. With that being said, logging into the platforms every 5 minutes just isn’t practical (or needed) when we have real-time alerts set up to be our eyes and ears. For example, social listening tools can be used to flag a surge in comments. A sudden increase in buzz indicates something good or bad is bubbling. The tool uses AI to understand the average amount of comments you usually receive and pinpoint anomalies before they spiral out of control.

We’d recommend, prior to going away, setting up real-time alerts for important keywords such as your brand name or campaign hashtags.

4. Share a selfie, but don’t spam!

Social media is the perfect tool for brands to use when they wish to seem more human!

There’s no harm in sharing a picture or two of your holiday read or your stroll along the boulevard—providing that your communication style allows for that. This can help followers to feel engaged while you’re off and is a great way to add a little personality to brand comms.

Needless to say, oversharing can quickly turn into holiday spam – so keep this in mind before you give your followers a running commentary of your trip! Avoid plane wings and hotdog legs – they’re so overdone and boring. It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are certain channels where such images work better – Twitter due to the real-time nature and pace of the platform and Instagram since users love a scenic pic!

social media strategy
We just love mobile network, Three’s, #holidayspam campaign! This is a great example of a brandjacking a hashtag for their own benefit, using timely connections in their campaigns and understanding the type of content that resonates amongst their audience.

*This post was originally published on this blog in August 2015, we’ve edited and republished the content since it’s useful for planning 2018!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Meltwater’s social media management tools, including social listening, publishing and engagement, get in touch by filling out the form below! Simple tweaks to your social media strategy can set you up for great sucess!