Solopreneurs: 4 social media safety tips for the holidays.

Solopreneurs: 4 social media safety tips for the holidays.

There’s more to holiday planning than putting on your out-of-office.

June 30, 2017

It’s that time of year again when we’re all off on our jollies without a care in the world. That is, after we’ve squeezed in all those pre-holiday work requests!

We’re all in the swing of putting our out-of-office live, but what should we be doing with our business’ social media accounts?

Facebook encourages us to check-in to various locations when we post – it could be the nearest town, venue or holiday destination. This is at odds with common sense on safety.

And, did you know that putting your holiday on Facebook can invalidate your home insurance?

Insurance policies usually request that we take ‘reasonable care’ in securing your home and possessions. This includes being discreet about holidays.

You wouldn’t put a poster outside your house saying it’s empty – why do the same on social media?

You wouldn't put a poster outside your house saying it's empty - why do the same on social? Click To Tweet

Most solopreneurs work from home so staying safe on social media impacts on your ability to keep your business as well as your home life running.

Spurred on by some of my LinkedIn contacts posting that they’re away on holiday for the next two weeks, I thought it was time to tackle this topic once and for all.

Here are my tips for staying social media safe over the holidays:

  1. Do not, under any circumstances, announce on social media that you’re going away on holiday.

    This is a biggie. I understand you want to keep in touch with your customers so that they know service may be slower while you’re away. And, as a solopreneur, you’re the face of your business and you want to connect and share with your contacts.

    But, do you really need to broadcast on the world wide web that your home will be unoccupied?

    If your business is home based it’s particularly easy for thieves to find out your address and target your home. It may seem extreme, but really it isn’t.

    Do not, under any circumstances, announce on social media that you're going away on holiday. Click To Tweet

    In fact, says 45% of burglaries happen when no-one is home and 59% of attempted burglaries are successful – stats worth bearing in mind.

    If you’re going somewhere fabulous you might be tempted to share your delight (aka show off) with a photo of you relaxing (think toes at end of sun lounger or cocktail and shades shot). You can always do this on your return though, with a ‘normal service has resumed’ type of message.

    Just in case you need any further persuasion: images posted on Facebook can carry geo-tag data which gives away your location. Check your phone’s privacy settings to see if you’re providing friends and strangers with your location information.

  2. Schedule social media in advance.

    If you aren’t already, use a social media scheduler to plan and post your content while you’re away. You might want to try Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social.

    Scheduling your curated content (aka articles you like to share) and blog post content in advance will enable you to maintain a presence while you relax.

  3. Install (and use) social media apps and browser add-ons on your phone.

    Most solopreneurs and business owners are passionate about their work. This makes it really hard to switch off.

    You’ll probably already have Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and some other social networks on your phone, but you can save time if you use a scheduling app on your phone too.

    These often have browser add-ons so when you’re surfing the web you can easily add any relevant articles to your social queue or post to your networks straight away. These are a great time saver when you’re back on home turf too.

    Be sure to put a password on your phone to keep your social profiles safe!

  4. Plan for how you’ll respond to social messages.

    With good tools in place scheduling your social content is easy enough. But what about those customer enquiries that come in? There are three ways to tackle those:

    Check-in regularly to pick-up messages.

    You can now use your mobile phone contract minutes and data in Europe without landing a whopping bill. So, depending on the nature of your business and where you’re going on holiday, you could choose to respond to any messages during spare 5 minutes here and there.

    Ask a trusted friend to help.

    If you’re travelling further afield, or you just want to switch off completely, then you might want to ask a trusted friend to respond to messages on your behalf.

    You don’t need to give them all your social media logins. Just provide temporary access to your social media monitoring platform and clear guidelines. Make sure they don’t have access to billing information though!

    You might want your delegate to monitor for enquiries and respond with a holding message saying you’re out of the office until [date] and will come back to them then.

    This way your potential customer isn’t hanging on for a response for a whole two weeks, but has still had a personal response within a reasonable time frame.

    Use automation if you need to.

    Automating responses, like you do with your email’s out-of-office, is another option. But, think carefully about how this will work. Check out IFTTT and your social media scheduler for useful automations.

    If you don’t have a social media scheduler in place it’s easy enough to set up Hootsuite on a free plan as a temporary solution.

Your business is important, but your safety is too.

As a solopreneur, your business is dependent on you alone. That’s a lot of pressure!

With a plan in place for not just your social media, but your e-mail out-of-office, phone messages and any other way your customers get in touch, you’ll be able to take that well-deserved break.

Before you go on holiday run through our quick social media holiday checklist:

  1. Post holiday shots after, not during your break.
  2. Schedule posts in advance.
  3. Use social media and scheduling apps on your phone.
  4. Ask a trusted friend to cover responses, automate if you need to.

Other articles you may be interested in:

Should I use Twitter for my business?

How to write your marketing plan on just one page.

Why should my business have a blog?