In this blog post, I discuss the pros and cons of taking a social media break over the holidays as well as what you can do to prepare - regardless of the option you choose.
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In the last three years of being in business, I have found that there is a pattern when it comes to social media content that most Instagram gurus will post in the weeks leading up to Christmas and the holidays. There are those social media coaches who say that it's totally fine to take a break from social media and that you'll come back more refreshed. After all, your Instagram isn't going to go anywhere.
And then we have the other side with coaches who say that you can take a break BUT there will be negative consequences that you should be aware of and that you should consider.
👉🏼 First of all, let me say that I believe that both sides to this debate have a point and in the end, it's always a personal/business decision that you need to take. In this blog post, I want to give you my honest and professional opinion on the matter so you can go ahead and decide what you think is best for yourself as a person but also for you as the owner of a business.
The pros of taking a break:
+ We are humans & need breaks. You'll come back refreshed & have more ideas.
You and I, we aren't robots who can just go go go all the time. Especially for those of us who work in the creative industry, breaks are crucial. We need this downtime to let our brains breathe.
+ It's usually when friends & family come to visit or you travel yourself.
Especially if you, like me, live in the Southern Hemisphere, your Christmas holidays are also your Summer holidays. This is THE best time to travel, have friends & family over and visit others. It's definitely not a time when we want to be glued to our screens the whole time.
The cons of taking a break:
- It will have an impact on your business.
Last year in October, I took a whole month off from posting on social media because my parents came to visit us in New Zealand. I saw a decrease in inquiries as well as a cut in income. Would I take that time off again? In a heartbeat but I would want to prepare for it differently.
There's no sugarcoating it:
Shutting down your marketing for 2, 3 or 4 weeks will have an impact on your business.
While we always have months of higher or lower intensity throughout the year, we should never stop marketing completely. After all, marketing is like the fuel in our car: we can't go anywhere if we don't fuel up.
- You will only have 11 out of 12 months to reach your business goals.
If you take off a whole month and you don't do any marketing at all, it means that from the 12 months you usually have to achieve a certain sales goal, you now only have 11 months left. This means that in those 11 months, you need to put in much more effort & budget.
Remember: it's much easier to get an already rolling ball moving faster than to get it rolling in the first place.
- The beginning of the year is a popular time for business owners to make changes to their businesses & processes.
At the beginning of the year, traditionally, a lot of people are wanting to make changes in their businesses. If you haven't been marketing for a few weeks in the lead-up to this big push of people coming into the space who are looking for support, you will not be top-of-mind with them. This then means they will probably go with someone else and you lose out on their business.
- The Insta algorithm doesn't like inactivity.
While it is true that your Instagram account, most likely at least, will not go anywhere, you will find that it’s much harder to gain momentum again and you will probably see a decrease in reach & engagement. If this is something that you are already struggling with right now, you're in a different situation than someone who doesn't have a reach and engagement problem. It also depends on the role that social media plays for you in your business: if Instagram or other social media platforms are your main traffic sources to your website then that's different than for someone who gets most of their traffic from Google searches.
👉🏼 So what should you do?
I really hate to be this person who talks about not taking breaks and just doing business as usual because I'm not someone who usually embraces "hustle culture". I am actually very strongly opposed to the idea that business owners need to work 24/7 and can never have breaks.
This is why I really don't want you to think that you cannot take a break if you need one. Breaks are healthy to take and we are humans and we need downtime. But at the same time, I want to help you understand that it will have an impact on your business so that you can prepare and avoid that from happening. I'm not saying you shouldn't take a break. I'm saying you should take a break but prepare for the time of the break and afterwards, so that you can actually afford to take that break.”
Is it easier to just go on a break, not prepare anything and then just see what happens? Absolutely. It requires much more effort to plan your break and your marketing activities during that break now but you can do hard things.
Okay, I want to take a break. How do I prepare?
If you do decide to take this break, it's all about thinking of ways in which you can either promote something “passive" (an online course, a pre-recorded masterclass, a template...) or grow your e-mail list. As a product-based business, you obviously need to decide whether you want to keep shipping. If you do, you could schedule Instagram posts and/or emails in advance.
‼️ Remember that marketing is also not always just about making a conversion. Marketing can also be about increasing brand awareness and making people get to know your brand while you're on holiday so that, when you're back, they are already at a stage in your marketing funnel where they are ready to buy. A great way to do this is through nurturing email sequences.
I don't want to take a break. What should I do?
Think about what I said before: the time between Christmas and New Year's is usually very quiet on social media. But that doesn't mean that people aren't watching. I would use that week and also the beginning of January to ramp up your marketing while other businesses are taking a break. This could be really beneficial for you because there is not much competition going on and everyone has already spent all of their marketing budget on pre-Christmas campaigns. You now have an almost empty playing field where you can talk to your potential customers.
Think of these people who want to make a change in their business or in their life: which one of your products or your services would be really useful for them at the beginning of the year?
I think it's important that you make an informed decision and that regardless of the option that you choose to go with, you know what the potential consequences might be and how you can minimise any negative impacts on your business. Remember that you can do both things if you take some time to plan ahead now: You can have a relaxing break, not think of social media for a few weeks and still come back and have a pool of people who are excited to work with you and want to get started when you're available again.
If you would like some professional support in preparing for your break, book a 1:1 coaching session! We'll brainstorm together and set you up for a successful and profitable break.