I was on vacation recently, but depending on how/where you follow me on social media, you may or may not have known that. I strongly believe in vacations and, though I work for myself and taking a “real” vacation usually isn’t completely possible, I try to live it up as much as possible with the following social media vacation strategies:
I knew I needed to publish a post on my personal blog while I was away, so I wrote it before I left and saved it as a draft. Through the wonder of tools like Hootsuite, you too can plan ahead for nearly every content outlet, if necessary, with very little effort. However, while I endorse planning ahead for things like blog posts, I do not recommend auto Tweeting, Facebooking, G+ing (yeah, I know that’s not a verb), etc. while you are away. Why? You schedule a marketing tweet for Wednesday afternoon and promptly forget about it. While you are enjoying a hike in the mountains, a notable politician or celebrity passes away. In the middle of the well wishes and outpouring of grief, up pops your marketing tweet. Fail. If you can’t plan ahead and get someone else to take over your social media accounts, I highly recommend the next strategy.
It’s okay to be off social media for a while. Really, it is! If no one else will be taking over social media duties while you’re on vacation, prepare your adoring public by tweeting and posting that you’ll be away from social media from DATE to DATE and that any questions or concerns people have will be addressed upon your return. In the event there is a true emergency, odds are good you’ll get a screaming freak out phone call from someone at the office. Should that happen, you can either instruct others how to handle the crisis on social media or hop on your social channels and handle it yourself. Odds are good that nothing will happen in your absence.
Please and thank you
While I was on vacation, I used my personal Twitter account primarily to let restaurants/museums know we were coming and to call them out for a great meal/exhibit after we’d enjoyed ourselves. I try to call out great customer service in a timely manner and businesses (particularly small, local businesses) appreciate this. Please and thank you has the added bonus of letting people follow along with your adventures and providing you with a log of what you’ve done that day (events can become jumbled after days of walking and flying and visiting).
I did have to take care of some client business while I was traveling, so I planned ahead and made sure I could do a bit of work based on my vacation timeline. We were on the west coast so I just stuck to the central time zone, got up “early” and worked in the morning and had someone else cover the afternoon, so I had plenty of time to explore and enjoy. I also didn’t allow myself to use that time to check any personal accounts — it was time for business and nothing else.
Vacations are meant to be enjoyed and experienced in the moment, not live tweeted or instantly Instagrammed. When you’re not working (or taking a breather at the end of the day catching up with Facebook), declare the rest of your vacation a device-free zone. And STICK WITH IT! Take pictures, but share them later (at the end of the vacation or, if you must, at the end of the day). Stay in contact if you need to, but not when you’re supposed to be relaxing and having fun.
Americans don’t get much vacation and it’s *really difficult* to take a vacation when you’re self-employed. Don’t let social media be a leash or choke your awesome trip — a few simple strategies can help you blend social media and vacation and keep your sanity. Happy travels!