A monthly column featuring branding + design tips and tricks for standing out online.
How to take a Digital Brand Sabbatical
I get asked all the time, “How can I step away from my brand online?”, “How do you manage to keep the posts and conversation going when you really just want a vacation?”.
Great questions and a perfect time to consider as we head to the beach for some R&R or just take some time away from the digital conversations to allow our lives to just happen, verses click, print and share.
1. MAKE YOUR PLANS AND ANNOUNCE THEM (1 month before vacation)
Start by determining the best time to schedule your time off. If you work for a company, make sure your colleagues are not taking the same time off. If you work independently, determine best time around your client work. Once you have the date, start by letting everyone know in advance of your plans, not that you are going to Hawaii for two weeks, instead, tell them your intentions while on vacation. Let them know you plan to take a digital sabbatical and see if they will support you by taking on responsibility for continuing your work or taking calls or emails. Make internal work plans to have things covered.
Brand Digital Management Pre-Departure: Send out email reminders to colleagues and clients a month in advance of your vacation to see if there are any needs prior to your vacation that you can support.
2. PREPARE YOUR SCHEDULE AND SUPPORTERS AHEAD OF TIME (3 weeks before vacation)
Now that you have everyone on notice, it is a good time to begin thinking about who could support you while you are gone. Who could take emails?, who could update social media sites?, who could fulfill order requests or client support needs?, who is best aligned with you that you would trust to represent your brand fully?
You need to take a moment and understand all of your digital touchpoints with your audience. Perhaps email messages need to be followed up on, maybe you are working on a project that needs to be supported, or maybe you are very active on social media and need to make sure the conversations keep going.
Brand Digital Management Pre-Departure: Find people that align with your brand (style, communications and reputation) and ask them to support your digital needs. Meet with them to hand off any ongoing work and digital logins needed. Give them specific instructions for social media and client communications.
3. PRE-SCHEDULE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS (2 weeks before vacation)
Set-up systems to work while you play. Use a tool like SproutSocial or Hootsuite to pre-schedule some social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to post while you are away. If you are a blogger, you can draft blog posts and simply ask for someone to hit the publish button while you are away as well.
Brand Digital Management Pre-Departure: Prepare several social posts ahead of time and schedule them to post while you are away to keep your brand and voice in play while you play.
4. ACTIVATE DIGITAL NOTICES (1 week before vacation)
Prepare your out of office email; be sure it is specific on who they can contact in your absence. Be very clear that you will not have internet or phone access while away so they are clear that you are not just on a business trip and will respond when available.
Brand Digital Management Pre-Departure: Be clear of your intentions in all notices. Place notices on as many digital sites as possible to let your followers know that you will be stepping away but can expect posts/responses from a colleague or whoever you put in place. Show them you care and you have a plan in place.
5. HANG OUT THE “ON VACATION” SIGN (day before vacation)
Send out an email to colleagues and clients that you are leaving for vacation the next day and who will be available in your absence. Be very clear of your intentions of truly stepping away from the digital landscape and let them know you will follow-up as soon as you land back safely.
Brand Digital Management Pre-Departure: Go, play, and connect with reality. Remember to live by what you said. If you are serious about a digital sabbatical you will stay OFF line and you will not respond, even for 1 message. If you do, you will be expected to continue and then all your work over the past month will not be followed.
If you still think you need to take your phone or computer with you on vacation, I urge you to watch this video clip called “Get Back” to help you rethink that idea.
Ready to leave the digital world yet? Just remind yourself that taking a break from the constant connected world will recharge your human battery and provide you some time to breathe, relate, and reconnect with the real world.
Here’s to your digital sign-off success! Back in two weeks
Robin Bramman Brand Experience and Digital Media Coach who specializes in chic + savvy Online Identity solutions! The founder of Chic Branding and Partner at EEKO Design Studio, Robin works with high-achieving professionals and innovative entrepreneurs in defining their brand and interactive strategies to increase her client’s digital visibility.