Summer is almost upon us, and that means vacation time. Downtime. Time away from the office and the laptop and your marketing efforts online. Now, there’s a lot you can do to keep your online presence strong even when you’re not around to look after it, and one of those is autoresponders. Today, we’re going to look at a couple different ways to use them, and when NOT to use them, as well.
You can, and probably should, use an email autoresponder when you’re going to be away from your inbox for more than a weekend. That’s because it notifies the person contacting you that you are unable to respond, and that you will be unable to respond until you return. You can customize their content so that you can add emergency contacts for those that might need immediate assistance. You can create a personal message that’s a bit more, well, personal than the auto generated ones many services and apps offer. And receiving an autoresponder with info on why you won’t be answering, and when you will be available to answer, and who to contact in case you need that answer NOW is better than no reply at all. Consider an email you receive on the first day of your two week vacation, which doesn’t receive any reply at all. Now, imagine an inbox flooded with daily, perhaps even hourly follow ups emails from the same sender. Nightmare scenario to face your first day back in the office, right? Now, imagine one email, received on the first morning of your first vacation day, that was greeted with a prompt and courteous autoresponder telling them exactly when you’d return. Much better, isn’t it?
Email autoresponders are also a wise choice if you choose to make your blog a subscription service, or develop a “members only” group of some sort. Sending a quick “thank you for joining us” message gives that personal touch and bit of exclusivity that subscribers and members expect. There are services like MailChimp, Aweber, and InfusionSoft that can create and manage these types of scenarios quickly, easily and affordably.
Social Media Autoresponders
I know what you’re thinking – social media is supposed to be social, so what’s the point of an autoresponder for social media? Well, that depends on how you’re going to be using it. The social media autoresponder service Relaxed for example, can send a simple reply every time you’re contacted on Facebook or Twitter. The service includes private messages on Facebook, but not, at this time, for Twitter. It does, however, respond any time someone writes on your wall on Facebook, or addresses your @username on Twitter. And it’s free to use. So, again, if you’d prefer to NOT leave your Facebook and Twitter account unsupervised while on your getaway, it may be a good idea to consider using an autoresponder.
It is NOT a good idea to use something like HiFive, however, that automatically responds to each Like, comment or share you get on Facebook. The point of social is that pesky little word “social” and yes, using an autoresponder is a bit oxymoronic. It’s a bit like calling the all-access hotline and being placed on hold or told you don’t qualify for the “open” house event. Autoresponses to EVERY personal message, every like, every share, is well, pretty impersonal and anything but social. Leave that idea in the dustbin where it belongs. You’re social media needs to be as social as it can get, but an autoresponder for times when otherwise your account would go “dark” and very quiet – like a vacation or emergency – are better than nothing at all.
Autoresponders – the Alternative
You DO have an alternative to autoresponders. You can hire a social media account or community manager to cover things while you’re gone fishin’ (or skiiing, or beach bumming, as the case may be.) Or you can entrust your accounts to an assistant or intern. While they may be more costly than an autoresponder service, your accounts certainly wouldn’t suffer from lack of attention when you were not there to attend to them. The choice is yours – to automate your responses while you’re off and away, or not.
We here at Best Legal Practices are here to help you succeed in all your online marketing endeavors. We are always available and would be glad to help you decide how to handle all your social media and blogging needs while you take time off to enjoy yourself this summer. Give us a call or initiate a chat. We’ll be happy to help in any way we can.