How To Go On Vacation as a Social Media Manager
If you are here, then you probably know that being a social media manager is tough work. The need to always "be on" and create/curate content at a moment's notice, come up with captions/hashtags/tags, track analytics, plan upcoming content, stay up to date with trends and generally keep everything "together" at all times is difficult enough. So what happens when you need to take a much needed break?
My boyfriend is starting his full-time MBA program this fall, so we wanted to take a big trip to celebrate since we knew he would not have the ability to do so without him having a paycheck for the next two years (at least the way we like!). We planned out a two week holiday in Italy which just so happens to be the longest vacation I have had in my working life (we joked that some people do not even honeymoon that long).
Before I left, I made sure that all of my ducks were in a row so I could truly relax, but it does not mean I was 100% disconnected. With that being said, this process worked for me, but you may choose to just leave everything how it was when you left the office.
Here is how to go on vacation when you are an independent manager working directly with clients.
Let your clients know about your vacation way in advance
I knew I was going on this trip months ago, but I gave my clients about a casual two month's notice (I reminded them more as it got closer) and also added it to my email signature about a month in advance. I signed a new client about two months before my vacation and I told them right when they brought me on what would happen with my schedule. The last thing you, or your clients, want is surprises.
Have a designated backup
If you are a one person company then this may or may not be possible, but if you work with others on a particular client, have them cover for you. I had a partner of mine serve as my backup for one client, but then had to totally manage another client of mine on my own.
It is also important to note that I am not the type to leave my work for someone else to handle as l prefer to have everything situated so they can simply jump in if something goes wrong.
Plan your posts ahead of time
To echo my last point, planning all content out for your clients ahead of time will make everything run smoothly when you are out. I had two weeks worth of editorial calendars filled and posts on each platform approved and scheduled before I took off.
Set an email away message
Be sure to set an away message for anyone who emails you (not just contacts) so they know you are on vacation and not just ignoring them in case there is a deadline/request involved.
Mute chat platforms
Do not let messages from Slack, Jabber, Webex Teams, Skype, etc. reel you in. If there is something important, an email will follow.
Engage/check in here and there
I purchased an international phone plan so that I had service at all times in case of emergencies and for navigation. The last thing I want is a phone that only works on WiFi in a foreign country.
I recommend this as a SMM just in case you need to remove or edit a post you have scheduled. It is unfortunate that we have to think this way, but the last thing you want is to have a certain type of post scheduled during a national/world tragedy and make your client seem insensitive.
We took a lot of trains while in Italy so I had the chance to go through my emails and delete unimportant items/reply to important conversations, quickly check the news, and engage with followers in comments after I finished with my books and magazines (if the time difference made sense). It helped me not feel totally slammed when I returned.
Take screenshots of Instagram analytics
Since I use the insights tools from the platforms themselves, I know they are sometimes only available on the platform for a short interval of time before they reset for another time period. I simply took screenshots of my clients' Instagram analytics on the day I typically check them so I would not have a gap in my numbers.
As a Millennial, there was honestly no way I could go ghost on social as there were just too many hilarious and beautiful things to post about. However, going off the grid and simply not posting or checking anything may work for some. Find the line that works best for you.
Leave your computer at home
Regardless if you go silent or not, do not bring your computer or else you will make up emergencies and reasons to do serious work. Period!
In closing, do not feel the need to work hard on your vacation. I am guilty of checking in on things as that is my personality type. If you make your expectations clear, you will be fine!
If you are a social media manager or work with clients, how do you handle going on vacation?