Conferences, client meetings, vacations… there are plenty of reasons we have to abandon the comforts of our offices and convenience of our desktops / laptops entirely. What we tend to run into, especially in the event that we may not even have our mobiles handy, is how to handle the real-time demands of our online communities while being away. Here are some helpful suggestions and tips to managing your blog and social media accounts with and without your smartphone.
Make sure someone can cover specific areas of your blog and social media management while gone.
While it may not be an option for solopreneurs or small businesses where only one person knows the ins and outs of community marketing, if you have the option to leave someone trustworthy in charge of maintaining your blog and social media, be sure to so. Particular areas of concern include:
- Moderating and responding to comments on your blog.
- Monitoring and responding to mentions on Twitter, posts on your Facebook wall, tags on Google+, comments on your YouTube channel, and other networks your business is active upon.
- Monitoring and responding to reviews on your local search profiles like Google, Yelp, Merchant Circle, and other critical listings.
Prior to leaving, make sure that your trusted person or team has the necessary logins for your accounts, access as a team member on social management tools, permissions as admins of your Facebook page, and any other needed information. Also be sure that they know your company’s social media management policy so that the messages and responses they share fit your company culture.
Schedule your blog content.
While you may think you’ll have a little time here and there in your hotel room to work on your next blog posts, you might not want to leave it to chance. A few evening business dinners or conference after parties could easily dash your weeks’ worth or content. So unless you are adamant of live-blogging about the event you are at for the time you are out of town, you should schedule some content ahead of time.
If you’re stuck for ideas of content topics, try a recap post like “Top 10 Posts on ___ from 2012 So Far” or a curation list like “Great Summer Reading for the ___ Industry.” These will keep your visitors either on your website longer or happy that you have helped them with a valuable resource (or both).
To make sure your posts are shared on your social networks while you are gone, set up your blog’s RSS feed with services such as HootSuite, Dlvr.it, or Buffer to make sure they are at least shared to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. If you normally prefer sharing your posts manually, be sure to turn automated services like HootSuite RSS & Dlvr.it off when you return.
Install the latest smartphone apps for your main social networks.
If you’re guaranteed a strong 3G or 4G signal while you are gone (and the time to use it), make sure your iPhone and Android apps for your top social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ are installed and updated as well as apps for tools like HootSuite, Buffer, and others. This way you can keep up with your updates on the road.
Schedule some good updates to your social accounts.
Even if you think you will have plenty of opportunity to use your mobile to update and respond to mentions on your social networks, you still might want to have some canned updates ready just in case or to supplement your activity. Buffer is a great service to use for this. You can create schedules for Buffer to post to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn account. Then you just add status updates and Buffer will post them at the next available time slot.
In general, it’s a great way to share updates with your social media audience, but it can be especially helpful to keep your accounts maintained with fresh updates while you’re away. It’s not meant to replace live interaction and engagement with your fans, but to simply not let your accounts fall stagnant.
Some good ideas of status updates to schedule include links to articles in your blog archives, links to posts on popular industry blogs, quotes, videos, and fun images. Questions are good for engagement, but not if you are not going to be able to respond to answers.
Cut through the noise.
If you are going to get the chance to do things like check your Twitter mentions, you might want to cut through the noise. If hundreds of people are tweeting your username with your latest blog posts, it can make it hard to see tweets that you might need to answer.
Try setting up a search for @yourusername -filter:links -#ff on Twitter, HootSuite, or your other Twitter management tool. This will show you the tweets mentioning your username without links and, if you get a ton of #FF (Follow Fridays), without #FF messages. Just be sure to wade through your tweets when you get back to make sure you didn’t miss any important messages that may have come attached to a link or #FF.
Make sure your email notifications are really necessary.
Another area that is likely to get out of control quickly while you are away is your email inbox. To keep things manageable, you should run through your notifications from your blog and social networks to make sure they are absolutely necessary. For example, you might want to temporarily turn off notifications from your blog to moderate comments, especially if you know you won’t be getting to them or someone else is handling them anyway.
You may also want to check your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (Email Frequency & Group Digests), Google+, and other network email notifications that you receive to see if you really want them piling up in your inbox while away. These links will take you straight to your settings if you are logged into your accounts.
Set your away responder on email.
Chances are this is the first thing you think to do when you’re leaving the office, but if not, then consider it. People may send messages directly to your email from your blog, contact form, or social accounts, and the last thing you want anyone to think is that you are ignoring them. Therefore, it’s a good idea to set your out of the office responder. And if you have content scheduled to post to your blog and social accounts or plan on managing them while away, it’s not a bad idea to point people in that direction.
What do you do to manage your blog and social accounts while you are away? Leave your tips in the comments!
Photo Credit: keithpr