Should You Schedule Tweets During a Holiday?

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Illustrated graphic of two fists at odds in a round 1 battle

In our new series, Katherine and Sarah duke it out — high school debate club style! — over whether or not your Twitter account should “go dark” over a holiday.

The question: Should our company continue to publish pre-scheduled tweets or should we go dark over the holidays?

The contenders: Sarah Best, Mightybytes Content & Social Media Director and Katherine Raz, Mightybytes Content and Social Media Editor

Sarah: Why You Should Maintain Communication Over the Holidays

Here are some circumstances in which it might be appropriate to not go dark over the holidays:

  • If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, it might be wise to use social media to alert your customers about unusual holiday hours or office or store closures.
  • Since people celebrate different traditions at different times, it’s a great idea to let people know if you’re open on a day when others might be celebrating.
  • For those who work in travel and hospitality, social media can be a helpful way to assist holiday hosts in finding things for their out-of-town guests to do.
  • If you work in retail, using social media to alert your customers about post-holiday sales, discounts and promotions can help you stay top of mind with your customers. Use caution when determining when to schedule a post — during a meal on a holiday is probably not the best time. A few days before a holiday, or the morning of a strong retail day, such as Black Friday, might be more effective than a post scheduled on a holiday itself.
  • If you work for a nonprofit organization, the holidays can present the perfect opportunity to thank your patrons and reinforce calls to action for year-end donations.

In addition, if you do decide to go dark it doesn’t mean you should stop listening to what your clients are saying to you and and about you on social media. As always, social media can be a critical tool for discovering and resolving customer concerns.

You don’t need to answer every question immediately over the holidays, but someone on your staff should take a few minutes each day to monitor social networks. Having a roster of staff who are trained in appropriate social media response and can take turns being on-call works better than burdening a single vacationing staff member with this responsibility.

Proactively tweeting about your holiday hours, office and store closures can help build a reasonable expectation about how quick of a response customers should expect through your social media channels.

Katherine: Why You Should Turn off Twitter During the Holidays

If your office is closed, it’s okay to shutter your social media accounts for a few days, especially at a time when much of your audience’s attention is focused elsewhere.

Twitter is a platform built to share messages about what’s happening right now. If nothing’s happening, you shouldn’t feel obligated to tweet just to keep your name out there. While maintaining a constant presence on social channels aids in boosting site traffic and branding efforts, without someone at the helm, scheduled tweets have the potential to backfire. If a social media manager isn’t paying attention and a customer responds to scheduled content, your account appears to be on autopilot. Worse, if she can’t reach social accounts and there’s a disaster, she can’t turn off scheduled tweets. You don’t want to be auto-tweeting marketing content during an unfolding national crisis.

It’s perfectly alright to announce that no one will be monitoring Twitter during the holiday. You can use an app that automatically sends Twitter vacation autoreplies, or you can publish a single tweet that remains at the top of your feed during the holidays stating that your offices and social accounts will be dark during certain dates.

If social media is about transparency, then tweeting when no one is around is slightly dishonest. But! If you decide you really must schedule tweets during the break, you could author your tweets in a way that conveys that no one’s at the wheel. Like this:

Happy holidays from the Mightycrew! We’ve taken the day off, but wanted to share this roundup: 10 Best Beers of 2013:

And if you wanted to get really creative, you could announce that you’re scheduling a series of posts for your days off.

We’re out on vacation for the next 10 days, but we’ll be tweeting our top 10 blog posts each day. Stay tuned!

That way any responders to the content you’re tweeting can tell, with a quick peek at your feed, that you’re on planned autopilot mode.

Stay tuned for more posts in the series featuring members of the Mightycrew taking sides on issues in social media, marketing, web design and development! Got something you want to see us throw down on? Contact us.

Mightybytes is a Chicago-based digital agency and Certified B Corporation. Connect with us on Twitter or get in touch via our contact form.