Guest post by Megan Totka.
Think about the business structure where you work. What happens if you call in sick? Are you on a team of coworkers or are you the sole contributor in your department? Quite possibly you’ve never really thought about a sick day as anything other than what it is. You know you’ll be playing catch-up for a few days, but the business goes on.
What about small business owners though? If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, a sick day can actually mean the entire business shuts down until you get better. Not only do the doors close on your storefront, but all communications with customers, including social media marketing, goes down. One day, two days, what if it’s more than a cold? The flu? Pneumonia? Ten days? How long is too long before something as simple as a sick day turns your business upside down?
It’s safe to say that small business owners do not get sick days. Losing an entire day of sales from a store can be a large chunk of change. It’s a contingency to plan for before even opening up a business. Many business startups are online only. If the owner gets sick, will customers even notice? Actually, yes. Let’s examine what happens when your business takes a social media sick day.
Your online reputation is important. Ensuring your business looks good online isn’t just about managing bad reviews or seeming personable; consistent and frequent posting is the best way to reach out to your customers.
The top social networks for business are Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The best way to reach customers is by writing often. If you are sick, nothing gets posted. No posts means no retweets or shares, no comments or likes or favorites, and most importantly, no links back to your website. Even just one day with no social engagement can have a negative impact on sales. So here are five tips to keep your online image moving, even if your body isn’t:
- Use a smartphone. If your condition is less than serious, you might be able to keep in touch with your customers by simply logging into your social networks with your smartphone or tablet from bed instead of going to your office (or sitting at your desktop). You won’t need to be online all day so hopefully there will be a few moments of clarity between the Tylenol and NyQuil you are taking to feel better.
- Plan ahead. Getting sick is sort of a fact of life. You can do all the right things but sometimes it just happens. It’s not a bad idea to have 3-4 spare blog posts saved on your computer for just this reason. Readers are none the wiser and you don’t have to write while under the weather. The same goes for having informative articles to share with your audience on social media. Keep a stash of extras so you don’t have to work too hard when you don’t feel well.
- Postdate updates. If your “sick day” is for more an unplanned day off like for a funeral, postdating your work is a great idea. Facebook allows you to change the date so you can plan your posts to update while you aren’t even online. You can do the same with most blogs.
- Link sites together. Another helpful tool when managing your social media quickly is to have things linked together. There are many tools for managing your accounts so you can have your tweets automatically post to Facebook and have your blogs automatically post to Twitter. It saves you time even when you aren’t sick.
- Have a second in command, even if only for emergencies. This could be your spouse, family member or an assistant. Make sure it is someone you trust. Do not give the person your personal passwords to access the sites; rather, make them an admin to make the updates on behalf of the business from their own pages. You retain control so if anything happens, you can revoke their privileges.
Preventative care for business owners is going to be important too. Eat a healthy diet. Live an active lifestyle. And overall, take care of yourself. If you do get sick, you now have a few tricks up your sleeve so you can take a break and run your business successfully when you’re under the weather. Stressing about your business surely isn’t going to help you get better. And hopefully the next time you get sick, your business will have grown and you can pay an employee to worry about these things.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.