LCI Blog: Managing Social Media During the Holidays

By Alexis Anderson, GroundFloor Media Senior Director of Communications
The last two weeks of December become a ghost town in many offices, as employees scatter far and wide to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. Social media management often falls to the wayside as team members focus on year-end reports and 2012 plans instead of Facebook updates and new blog content.
It could be dangerous to assume however that just because the social media manager is away from his or her desk that your customers and followers are offline as well. In fact, many people will capitalize on quiet mornings at home during their vacation to catch up with their interests online, including social media content distributed by the companies they follow. Moreover, if you are a retailer or service provider, customers will actually expect to hear from you throughout the season—especially if they are anticipating coupons or exclusive sales for being a social media follower.
To remain relevant during the busy holiday season without over-extending a skeleton staff, below are five tips for staying on task into the New Year.
1.)   If your company does not already follow a monthly social media editorial calendar, draft one with daily, pre-written content from Dec. 19 – Jan. 2. This will save whoever is in charge of social media through the holidays any added pressure of being creative when he or she is hearing crickets around the office.
2.)   Create an “in case of emergency” social media monitoring and response team. A crisis can bubble up at any time, particularly on social media channels, and depending on the size of your business, you need to have at least two people on call for responding in a timely and effective manner. Dealing with a customer complaint from Dec. 24 on Jan. 4 is no longer considered acceptable, and could cause more harm than good if the issue spreads virally in the interim.
3.)   Use the scheduling feature of a social media dashboard like Hootsuite to schedule tweets and Facebook posts on days when no one can publish content personally. However, do be sure that someone will review comments and questions that might come in from fans within a 24-hour period to maintain some sort of responsiveness.
4.) Take advantage of quiet time in the office to review your 2011 social media plan, and dedicate time to executing ideas that have sat on the back burner all year. For example, if you planned to issue at least one Facebook poll but never got around to it, draft and distribute a short poll that is relevant to the holidays and your business. We all tend to get stuck taking care of tactics when we’d rather focus on being strategic – take advantage of the time you have.
5.)   Ask an eager employee who enjoys social media to help with creative posts on official office closure days. For example, if a few team members will be meeting on New Year’s Day to go skiing, having them post a photo to wish fans a safe and fun holiday can give your company personality, and show that employees enjoy being together.
The holidays should be a time when we can all unplug and unwind to celebrate a successful year. Just be sure that downtime is balanced with the type of social media content and customer service that will have customers returning to your company for more in the New Year.
Or, at the very least, offer followers a sincere “best wishes” for the holidays and let them know when your company will be closed in order to allow staffers to spend quality time with loved ones. Tell fans what date to expect regular posts to commence and enjoy the downtime!
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