How To Take An Effective Social Media Vacation

Happy 2012 to you all! I’m excited about the possibilities this year brings as I hope you are as well.

Coming out of the vacation period in which many companies took time off for a week, I was thinking about how the last week of the year is probably the least productive one. Even beyond that week, I’m sure you can agree that we should be allowed to take a week or two like that off to recharge the batteries – even those of us heavily entrenched in social media.

Which is why I believe an engineer much smarter than me needs to invent a simple yet effective tool: For everything we do, every social media channel we’re on, there should be an applicable “I’m On Vacation” Button.

That way, our Fans, Followers and Connections would know there’s a reason we’ve gone silent for a little while. And while we’re at it, although I’m not going to be one more person who piles on the social influence measurement tools (i.e. Klout), it would be lovely if these tools factored in the common sense realization that we human beings need to take a break now and then, so we shouldn’t be penalized for doing so. The “I’m On Vacation” Button would allow everything to pause.

I suppose this is where some of my colleagues in social media will say that social media never stops. I agree. So if you can:

1.    Invite someone to guest post for you that week.
Guest posts are great to have anyway for getting new perspectives, so what better opportunity to have someone step in than when you’re away?

2.  Share the load internally across individuals or departments.
You shouldn’t be the only one in your company who “gets” social media. If you are, start training someone else to step in to handle your responsibilities for the planned and, heaven forbid, the unplanned. Do it now.

3. In my case as someone who handles this on the client’s behalf, provide the client with posts in advance with admin names and passwords for posting on certain days, if you are in a place so remote that it doesn’t have Internet access. Cruise lines aren’t impossible but they can be a challenge at times when you’re floating along the Caribbean.

4. Put mechanisms in place to re-post archived posts during your time off that still have relevance.
Obviously if it’s a post that speaks to really old news (i.e. how this hot new tool called MySpace is surfacing), you wouldn’t want to post it. But if it was a broad enough but useful topic back then, it’s probably still useful today.

Then there is a fifth option that’s more powerful than any of the above:

5. Create content so good you could take a sabbatical and return with
just as much Influence if not more.

Here’s my greater point in regard to stepping away from the computer temporarily and what it means for our overall Influence – we are so wrapped up in measuring the elusive metric of Influence that we must realize it really isn’t a day-to-day or week-to-week thing.

If Lady Gaga takes a week vacation, does she stop being influential? How about Warren Buffett? Jimmy Buffett? Guy Kawasaki? Seth Godin? How about any of the top 500 or so people on Twitter? How about other respected authors and speakers? How about sources that haven’t even formally existed for decades like Led Zeppelin and The Beatles?

Of course not.

They have influence that transcends the mini measurements of percentage points or number of Fans. For them, influence doesn’t die. Because they have pieces of content so impactful that they bridge the gaps of time. Through their books, their speeches, their videos, their songs, their presentations, their photos, their posts.

Wait a minute. If we created so much great content that people could chew on it and appreciate it for at least the week or so we’re in Tahiti (or whatever escape floats your boat), we might not even need a Vacation Button. We would be able to come back and see that it’s not the end of the world because people would be sharing a lot of what we have had to say anyway.

It must be nice to go on vacation now and then while knowing your content is just that worthy of being shared while you’re away from your desk.

Not a bad thing to aspire to, eh?

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