The holidays present an interesting dilemma for community managers: How do we take time off? Do we actually get to celebrate the holidays? Can we even unplug? What about global communities who don’t celebrate the same holidays? These are the questions we tackled during our Black Friday Hangout with Amber Osborne, Carrie Jones, Jonathan Brew, and myself. Here are a few ways you can step away from your community around the holidays without worrying about it imploding.
- Set up a holiday/time-off policy for your community. Whether you’re a freelancer (or agency) working with different clients, or are part of a community management team, it’s important to set clear guidelines. Important component of those guidelines include:
- Who will be moderating spam on the back end (if that’s an issue)?
- Will you publicly declare that you’re taking time off away from the community?
- What’s the crisis escalation plan in case something does go wrong?
- Does it make sense to post holiday-relevant, lightweight content on that day?
- Decide on the major holidays that are relevant to your community. Aside from the major holidays (such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s in the United States), what are hallmark days that make sense for your community. To identify the holidays for your community:
- Get to know their needs and what’s important to them.
- If you have a global community, identify the major holidays for each region.
- Ask your community about their plans ahead of time. When you know a major holiday is coming up, as a community manager, you have a great opportunity to create engagement. You could try to play the guessing game on what your members are planning, or you could simply ask them ahead of time. This gives you a chance to create personalized instances to surprise and delight your members when they least expect it on an off day.
- Empower your active members to step up for moderation on ‘off’ days. If you have a global community with members in different parts of the world who may not be celebrating the same holidays (or is in the future), you can delegate the moderation duties to your trusted members.
- Stay true to your brand voice, and avoid hashtag-jacking. Stop trying too hard. You’ve already established a voice, and if you will be posting around the holidays, do it in a voice that your members are already familiar with. It shouldn’t change based on the holidays.
- Remember to unplug, and let your members unplug too. One thing that we sometimes overlook as community managers is that our members also want to unplug. Recognizing the days your members probably won’t be at their computers (Small Business Saturday for small businesses, Thanksgiving, etc) is crucial. This is especially important when deciding your editorial calendar. Sure, you could use scheduling tools on the days you’re technically off, but is it really worth it to send out that content?
How do you take time off around the holidays?
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