In order to make the most of your time away from work, it’s a good idea to take a digital vacation. With online scheduling tools, you can maintain the connections and keep your company’s marketing machine up and running, even while you enjoy some much-deserved downtime. Before we get to the online solutions, here are a couple of points to consider:
A Digital Vacation
If you haven’t thought about including a digital vacation along with your REAL vacation, then it’s worth consideration. Disrupting your normal technology use to focus on your family, destination, retreat or adventure is quickly becoming the new trend in vacation planning, with several destinations offering to “lock up” your technology so you’re not tempted to fall into your daily tech-infused routine. If, however, you just can’t live without the tweets and Newsfeed updates, then, well — enjoy!
A benefit to your mobile technology is the ability to take great vacation photos and immediately post them to your preferred social media platforms. The safety issue with this is that you have essentially announced to the world that you are on vacation and away from your home and possessions. This makes your home a target for potential criminal activity. Social media sites often change their privacy settings, so unless you keep up with this on a regular basis, and keep your settings updated, someone other than a “friend” may be able to view your photos and get just enough information to act on. If you can wait until you get home to post those photos, it really is in your best interest.
Solution #1: Reduce Inbox Anxiety
Have you ever returned from a relaxing vacation only to discover several hundred emails awaiting your immediate attention? If so, you know that it’s certainly not the easing back into reality that you may have hoped for. With a little pre-vacation planning, you can reduce this anxiety and provide better communication with your coworkers and clients. Microsoft Office not only has an out-of-office reply tool, but you can also set a “rule” that will funnel emails sent from specific senders into different folders that you specify. If you have subscribed to an e-newsletter, for example, you can set those emails to go directly to an “e-Newsletter” folder and read them after your more urgent correspondence. Gmail offers a similar out-of-office reply that can even be set to reply to those in your contact list — so only those you know will be aware that you are on vacation. Before you leave, I also suggest unsubscribing to any emails that you really don’t read. This is a great time to prevent those unwanted emails from showing up in the first place.
Solution #2: Schedule Your Email Marketing
Both MailChimp and Constant Contact allow you to schedule email campaigns for a date in the future. This feature is a great way to keep your email marketing schedule intact while continuing to deliver value to your customers. MailChimp has a video tutorial to walk you through this process. Constant Contact has instructions available on their site as well.
Solution #3: Manage Your Social Media Platform
Having one online tool to manage your social media has become essential for business, especially with so many emerging social sites filling out the business landscape. The highestrated and most-relied-on source for managing multiple social media is Hootsuite. From Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn to Google+, this site allows for management of your sites, plus includes reporting and analytic tools. With a mobile app also available, you can keep an eye on your posts (that is, if you didn’t put your smartphone on vacation lockdown).
As your social media needs may differ, there are several other respected alternatives to Hootsuite. A Google search of “social media management websites” will provide you with other options that may better meet your needs. If you choose not to use a site like Hootsuite, the social media sites themselves may have scheduling features. Facebook, for example, allows you to schedule posts for a later time and date.
Marketing never takes a vacation — but you should. So rest assured knowing you’ve got quality marketing messages set up for automatic distribution. Enjoy your time away from the computer screen, and don’t forget the sunscreen.