The last thing anyone wants is to have to work over the holidays. But letting your business social media pages go dark isn’t a good idea either. While social media strategy can be easy to neglect in the midst of the holiday chaos, this time of year is a great opportunity to stay in touch with existing customers and find new ones. Take advantage of this opportunity without compromising your own holiday fun by making a plan to automate your social media.
Another reason to keep your social presence active during the holidays: you might get more eyeballs than usual on your page and content. Facebook has reported that usage goes up this time of year, and once the shopping rush is over, there may be less competition from other businesses for those users.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend your precious free time this holiday season posting and tweeting. You can have your eggnog and drink it too with these four easy steps to automate your social media over the holidays.
Bonus Content: Social Media Field Guide
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Step 1: Make a Content Plan
Deciding what to post can feel like the hardest part of your plan to automate your social media. Before you begin, take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my audience?
- What goals do I hope to accomplish?
- What information does my audience enjoy?
Once you answer these, you can start planning your content. This should be a mix of content you’ve created and curated links from around the web.
1. Apply the 80/20 rule.
- 80% of your content should be fun, entertaining or educational, and most of all non-intrusive. 20% can directly promote yourself or ask for something in return.
- Examples of content that falls under the 80% would be sharing a favorite store for holiday shopping or some holiday-related tips that are relevant to your industry.
- For the remaining 20%, you can do things like share listings, promote holiday specials and generally pitch your services to potential customers.
2. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words, and usually even more likes!
- BuzzSumo found Facebook posts with images saw 2.3x engagement than posts without images.
- Keep your eyes open for great photo opportunities.
- Snap a couple of pics as you’re preparing your favorite holiday meal or going shopping.
- Most of all, remember to share these moments with your audience.
3. Vary your types of content.
- While pictures are important, mix things up by including links to blogs, videos, infographics and more.
- For example, share the link to a Q&A video you recorded or post an infographic about Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday.
Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble finding other items to post, check out these 10 tools to discover shareable content.
Step 2: Nail the Timing
Choosing the best time to post during the holidays can take a bit more effort, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. While you should aim to be present on high traffic days, you’ll want to consider post times. For example, a New Year’s Eve post should probably be shared in the morning instead of the evening when most people will be busy and not necessarily checking Facebook.
To a degree, the day and time you post to social media will impact the engagement that your content receives. The best time to post has changed over the years and it may vary for your particular audience. For example, you may notice your audience social surfing later because they don’t have to wake up early for work or that visits increase during the week because their weekends are booked.
One strategy to try out: find the peak posting times for your location and industry, but on days when many people will be off work, use the weekend peak times rather than the weekday schedule.
If you’re using a social media management tool to automate your posts, set your own posting schedule or use the tool’s auto-scheduling feature. The key is to make sure you’re covered during all peak traffic times.
Pro Tip: Once you feel comfortable automating your social media, dig into your analytics to see if or how your audience’s habits change over the holidays and adjust your scheduling accordingly.
Step 3: Use Technology to Your Advantage
Now it’s time to actually implement your automation plan. Social media management systems like Buffer or Hootsuite can help you stay active while freeing up your time to focus on more important things.
Buffer requires you to write posts and then it will automatically post to your queue as you schedule it. With Hootsuite, you can manually choose post times or use the auto-scheduling feature to allocate optimal times based on your audience.
Both of these tools allow you to manage multiple social streams (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) in one convenient location, although you may need to upgrade to a paid plan depending on how many social sites you use. Use these platforms if you want to spend the time writing and designing posts but not worry about posting them when you’re busy.
Pro Tip: Want to completely automate your social media, including the planning, research, writing and design? We’re here to help.
Step 4: Keep it Human
Automation doesn’t mean you should lose a personal touch. Keep things human by prioritizing certain interactions during the holidays that are worth your direct, real-time involvement.
Monitoring engagements from your audience via comments or mentions is important. Use this opportunity to directly connect with and provide excellent customer service to your customers. Pay attention to your notifications and respond in real-time (when possible) to your followers when they interact with your brand.
Creating calendar alerts or reminders will help you remember when to incorporate real-time posts into your holiday social media strategy. Don’t miss the opportunity to share a photo of your festive decorations with a message of warm wishes or a video of fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Pro Tip: Download the mobile apps for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to easily push your real-time content from your mobile device across several platforms. To catch your engagements as soon as possible, make sure each app’s mobile notifications are on.
Bringing It All Together
Ignoring your social media during the holiday season is a missed opportunity to connect with your customers during peak vacation times. With these four steps to automate your holiday social media, you’ll gain peace of mind that you’re making the most out of increased holiday social media usage. Even better, you’re able to free up your time for important work like eating leftovers and recharging for next year.
Automate your social media by taking advantage of free tools and planning ahead. Be sure to add your own spin to keep your accounts personal and authentic. Take advantage of calendar alerts or reminders that prompt you to share content in the moment.
Even with these steps broken down, we know it may still feel like too much. We understand! That’s where OutboundEngine can help. We will handle the writing, designing, and sending your social media posts (and emails, too) so you can focus your time on other important work. Learn how we automate your social media during the holidays and all year round.