Holidays? Give me a break!

During the week a former colleague and friend mentioned to me that a business networking organisation that he joined some time back is closing up shop for the month of August.

At first I thought it would be nice to be in a position to do that – then it dawned on me that what he really ought to have said was “what on earth is the business organisation in question thinking?”

In marketing, everything, is of course, about perception – it’s about how consumers view your brand; what your clients think of your business practices; how your company holds up when compared with others in the same sector. In this case, the organisation, which, up until now, communicated with its members via digital platforms on a daily basis, has, according to my former colleague, no activity planned whatsoever.

Apparently, resources and fees payable to the digital agency which runs all activity on behalf of the organisation are an issue, but regardless, the management seem to have missed a trick. By ceasing all operations and communication with its membership, it has taken two or three giant leaps backwards, not to mention the fact that it’s membership are now left in limbo and without a point of contact should they need it over the next few weeks.

It’s difficult to fathom how any company, unless they’re a sole trader of course, can shut up shop for an entire month, especially given our straitened economic circumstances these days. But if it’s an absolute necessity to do so then there are ways to at least give the impression that the organisation is still operating on some level.

Software like TweetDeck can manage all of your social media output on a timed basis, so once you have content and messages prepared, TweetDeck will allow you to time their release. It’s a good idea to keep this to at least once a day so even when you’re not available, you’re still interacting with your customers, or in this case, members. Blogs, too, can be timed to be published at a later date while you can keep an eye on the comments section on your smartphone and interact there.

The days of closing a business completely for holidays is well and truly over, especially if you want to keep the good reputation of your organisation intact. What organisations like the one that my former colleague is involved in miss is that there may not be a business to come back to. As competition heats up in most sectors, taking your eye off the ball like in this instance is equal to commercial suicide.