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How to Keep Social Media Updated While on Vacation

Vacation season is well upon us so I thought in this post, I would focus on some applications that can help you keep the social media train running while you’re away.

In my mind, I see running social media as a customer service position. So it is important that while you are on vacation your community doesn’t feel left behind. Planning out your posts is an important step to make sure that your social media plan doesn’t skip a beat. There are many templates out there that can help you lay out what you are going to post and to which network. It is important that this plan is a detailed as possible and shared with a teammate who might be looking over your social media sites while you’re away.

After you’ve planned everything out you can actually schedule your posts to be posted in the future. This can be done in a couple of ways. First, Facebook recently added scheduling functionality. When you are typing a status update on your organization’s page, you will see a clock in the bottom left corner of the box in which you are typing. Upon clicking on it you will be able to assign a time that you’d like this post to be published. All posts are then accessible through the Activity Log in the page’s admin panel.

Third party applications can also help with the scheduling of posts on Twitter. The most popular application is Hootsuite. Hootsuite can also schedule facebook posts, so it might be the all-in-one solution for your and your team. Other social media sites such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+ do not seem to have scheduling functionality at this time. It will be important for you to leave your plan with someone who will have access to updating your sites while you are out of the office.

In addition, if your organization runs a blog, you can have those posts either waiting as drafts to be published or scheduled to be posted using your blog management software. That way, the blog doesn’t look like it has skipped a beat in your absence.

Even though you have taken the time before your vacation to schedule the posts to be published, I would recommend that someone still look over those posts and have the ability to cancel their publication if needed. Part of having a strong social media presence online is being current and sometimes something happens that needs to be posted over a post that you planned out a week ago. If you can, avoid sharing log in information with your team member and either make them an administrator on that site or set them up using a third party application such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck or Sprout Social.

Outside of planning social media posts, make sure you have your email covered as well. Don’t forget to activate an out of office message to be sent when you get an email while you are on vacation. Don’t forget to give people a place to go if the need an issue attended to in an urgent manner and let them know when they can expect to hear back from you. Out of office messages are able to be set up in both Gmail and Outlook and other email programs.

If your company uses gmail for their email service there is one plug-in that can help you send emails while away from your desk. The service is called Boomerang and using it allows you to schedule emails to be sent in the future. This could be helpful service if need to send a reminder to your team while you are on vacation.

Planning to go on vacation can be stressful. This is specially true when you work with social media because being connected is part of the job. I hope these tools can help ease some of that stress. What tools to you use when planning for vacation? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Non-Profit Time Management: Scheduling Social Media Updates

The non-profit world moves fast. You walk-in at the start of the day, sit down, check-in, and before you know it the day is over. When time moves this fast, it can be hard to remember to update your social networks. Even if your job is solely dedicated to cultivating an online community, time can sometimes get away from even best time managers.

Today we are going to look at three tools that can help you schedule your social media updates and ensure your online presence is not neglected during the busy times in your life.

Plotting It All Out

When pressed for time, coming up with the perfect status update can be hard work. What do you want to say? Have you said something similar recently? Are you talking about an engaging topic? Planning what to say, when to say it, and where to post it, can save you time and make the whole process go a bit smoother.

DivvyHQ is a great resource when you have multiple people in charge of updating your social networks. It allows you to create a calendar to plan out what type of posts you are going to put up and where you are going to post them. There also is a post approval option if you need that as well.

For example, if there is an upcoming event and you are not the right person to talk about it, then why not ask the person who is? With DivvyHQ you can create a task within the program which will notify them via email. This gives you a place to manage your social media calendar.

DivvyHQ does offer a limited free plan, but their best features are found in the paid options.

If you decide that paying for DivvyHQ is a too expensive, you can still accomplish the same things using tools like Google Calendar and a spreadsheet. Simply create a Google Calendar named “social media” and plan out your posts by creating events for each day. You can even put the time you’re going to post it and create a reminder. If you need help, then you can invite others to that event. A good old fashion Excel spreadsheet can also work much in the same way.

Whichever method you choose, sitting down to plan out your posts can save you lots of time in the long run.

Posting to The Future

After you have planned everything out in advance, you can write posts and schedule them for publication in the future. That’s right . . .  where we’re going, we don’t need roads. What’s nice about taking the time to do this is that your social networks will automatically be updated and you don’t have to freak out about not posting on the correct day if something comes up.

The best thing about scheduling your posts far in advance is that you can actually go on vacation.

One tool that can help you with posting to Facebook is Post Planner. Post Planner is great because for a very low-cost ($4.95/month) you can post to your organization’s facebook page in a very organic way. Going beyond telling it what you want posted and when you want it posted, Post Planner allows you to upload photos to albums you already have on Facebook. You can post videos and links the same way. What’s nice is that it will look like you updating in real-time.

Another option to consider is HootSuite. HootSuite is a popular social media manager that allows you to schedule Facebook and Twitter updates in advance.

While HootSuite works well for many people as free social media tool, it isn’t something that works well for me because I have a number of photo albums that are updated on a weekly basis, which means all of my pictures go into a HootSuite album. So, I just use HootSuite to automate non-photo tweets and find it extremely helpful.

It should be noted that both Post Planner and HootSuite will email you when your scheduled post is posted.

Taking the time to come up with a calendar of when you post to your social networks will save you time in the long run and allow you to have a more structured social media plan. Using tools like Post Planner or HootSuite can help you schedule your posts so you don’t have to worry about posting at exactly the right time. What tools do you use to plan your social media message? I’d love to talk about it further in the comment section below!

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