The holidays are just around the corner and hopefully you’re planning some well deserved time off. Yet if you’re a small business owner it can be difficult to take the time you need to rest and rejuvenate for the New Year. Emails, phone calls and the ping of social media notifications can be hard to ignore. You also worry that your online presence might suffer from your absence. But it’s important to know how and when to unplug, without losing your spot on the social media hierarchy.
Schedule content ahead of time
If you’re not already using a social media dashboard such as Hootsuite or Buffer, now is the time to look into one. Dashboards make scheduling content easy and can act as an inbox for all those notifications. Schedule a tweet or post a day. That’s enough to stay alive online, but not so much that the responses become unmanageable.
Set a time limit
Set aside ten minutes a day to check the accounts; then shut it down and walk away. By setting a time limit you can reassure yourself that all is well, without taking up too much of your personal time. Check to make sure there are no emergencies but then shut off the notifications. If you use Hootsuite you can actually create “quiet time” where your notifications go silent. Better yet, turn off the phone.
Only answer urgent inquiries
Be smart about what you respond to. Is that question urgent? Is that issue an emergency? It’s easy to want to answer everything right away, but many of the queries you receive can wait a few days until you’re back at work. Only answer those questions that are truly urgent.
Allow yourself to let go
Too often we get caught up in the details. While one negative tweet might seem catastrophic at the time, in the overall big picture it’s not worth much worry. The same goes for checking the Facebook page and sending out that tweet. If you go silent for a few days, nothing terrible will happen. Your business will not fail and your customers will not desert you. In fact they’re probably not online either.
My past experience as a social media manager for a large charity taught me the importance of work-life balance when it comes to managing your online communications. While being online and listening is important, having the courage to turn it off and take time for yourself and your family is just as, if not more, important.
So this holiday, turn off the phone and enjoy the season. I promise your followers will still be there in January.
Evelyn Senyi is the owner and chief marketer for Recurve Marketing, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency that offers creative, effective and affordable marketing strategies for Canadian small businesses and non-profit organizations. Follow Recurve on Twitter @recurve_ca and on Facebook www.facebook.com/recurvemarketing.ca.