Finding time to take a vacation can be hard for just about anyone, but social media managers, especially social media managers or office staff for local parishes, may struggle more than most. Many people in these positions are underpaid, or they work in a volunteer capacity. Still, even if you aren't making the big bucks – or any bucks – doesn't mean that it's easy to find time to take off. For most parish social media managers, this is a labor of love, but with a few tips and suggestions, you, too, can find time to take a vacation, or just unplug and relax for a few days!
Spend the few weeks before your vacation planning and drafting content to automatically post on your behalf, while you're away. Set aside several hours to create content that flows smoothly and makes sense when read in succession.
There are a few different apps that can allow you to post content on multiple platforms, scheduling the date and time for Facebook, Instagram, and your church website's blog. This takes the guesswork out of manually loading onto each platform, or scheduling ahead multiple times. Later is our favorite.
You may also wish to schedule content to post a few days after you return from your vacation, giving you time to unpack, check comments on the content that you've posted on vacation, and mentally refocus on your job.
There may be times where parishioners or other interested people have pressing needs or questions and may contact your parish over social media. In YOUR absence, set an out of office reply on your email and designate a second person to monitor the comments and reply to the ones that need a timely response.
You may also wish to post a message on the parish social media that it may be a little quieter than usual, but so-and-so is available for help.
Make sure that your Parish staff or organizational team, and anyone else involved in your role understand that vacation means vacation and that you'll only be available for emergencies, such as passwords in case the site goes down. Ask your secondary contact person to make notes of anything special you should be aware of, for review on your return.
Ok, this one is tough, but hear us out. Save the posting on your personal social media for after vacation. Yes, it's tempting to share the exotic food or beautiful sunshine – or the smiles on the faces of your kids or travel buddies – but if you're logging in to your own social media accounts, it can be really tempting to check the parish ones "Just a look, while I'm online."
Don't. It can be a slippery slope, and you'll lose precious moments of vacation time doing this. Just put all your vacation photos in a special folder on your camera, and you can have fun posting over the next few weeks after you return.
You don't need to feel guilty or apologize for taking a vacation or simply taking some time off for family. Healthy work-life boundaries are essential, and in fact, can help you mentally recharge and be more creative and positive in your role as a social media manager! Just make sure that you're prepared, and go have fun!