Summer and Social Media: Why You Need a Campfire, Fishing Pole, and a Good Story

Summer vacation season is in full swing, and it might seem like your social media engagement is on a break as well. (If you’re reading this on your iPad at a luxury all-inclusive, consider me jealous. But thanks for staying engaged.)

Between family trips, outdoor events and no school, consumer habits change and attention spans shorten during the summer. People use mobile devices more and computers less to check email and engage with their networks in the summer months, and they’re typically slower to respond. Even your own internal resources get stretched as people take time off.

So how do you manage your social media when engagement is down during these lazy, hazy days of summer?

First, know this: It’s okay for your brand to take a break, too. You don’t have to be on all the time. Some of my favorite bloggers have taken a two-week break. And I still like them. So what if your Klout score drops a little (read: not a Klout fan to begin with).

Before you get all “bah, humbug” on summer, consider a new perspective. Here are four ways to give your social networks a little summer lovin’.

1) Build a campfire. Okay, maybe not literally. But think about what people do around a campfire—besides sing cheesy songs. They tell stories. A campfire is a great setting for swapping stories, and while I don’t recommend working through a vacation, I guarantee that if you pay attention on yours, you’ll find a great story or two that could make a great blog article or a clever Facebook post. Things are always more interesting to read when they’re personal and funny. Whether it’s a customer service issue or a branding lesson, use your own vacation experiences as potential material to share with your networks.

2) Read all about it. If you’re taking some personal time off, use it to catch up on all the books and blogs you’ve been meaning to read. Here’s a tip: I recently set up my Google Reader and bought a great RSS app called “Newsify” on my iPhone. This lets me curate all the articles I’m interested in and read them in a magazine format. You also might want to recommend reading material on Facebook or Twitter—while people are traveling, they’re looking for ways to pass the time in airports and on road trips.

3) Go blog wild. I shouldn’t have to say this, but here goes—if you or your company haven’t started a blog yet, what are you waiting for? It’s mid-year (perhaps this was a New Year’s resolution?) and before you know it, it will be Christmas again. You have less than six months left, so make WordPress your friend. Now’s the perfect time to get all your ideas on paper, set up a schedule, and launch that blog. Remember what I said about promoting reading material (i.e. your “new” blog) to your social networks? Refer to #2. If you need ideas to get started, refer to #1.

4) Go fishing. I guarantee that if you listen on social media—even if engagement is slow—you’re bound to catch a fish. Whether it’s an interesting comment about your industry (that you can share or re-tweet), or a tip that someone needs your services, even in the slow summer months, you can find opportunities. The key is to keep your ears peeled and stay engaged yourself. Don’t close up shop on social media just because you notice a drop right now. Keep your line in the water and be patient. Watch for opportunities, and reel them in when the time is right.

Key Takeaway: It’s mid-year and the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened so far in 2013. Have your social media efforts paid off? If not, take this time to make changes and build your social platform even better. And stay engaged with your networks. Even if they’re on vacation, they’ll be back—and you want to be there to welcome them home.