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With the summer holiday season almost upon us, it’s an essential time for wellbeing and rebalance. However, it can also be a great time for processing powerful ideas to improve your approach to social media (and work in general for that matter).

Now don’t get me wrong, a proper break over the summer is vital to recharge the batteries and spend time with loved ones. And of course we all know the beauty of a holiday is having some distance and a change of scenery.

But from my experience, it’s also a great time for some stimulating, clarifying thoughts on what’s happening at work. Without a little outlet for some work ideas, they can start building up in your head and distract from all that R&R you’re supposed to be doing! salcombe1

Here are 5 things I always find useful to percolate and cogitate… 

1. You’re the consumer: more than at any point in the year, you’re in the consumers’ shoes. How are you consuming social media from brands during your hols? What’s catching your eye? What’s generally interesting, fun or entertaining? With your consumer hat on, what are other brands doing that’s “cutting through”? It’s so easy to get stuck in a brand/agency bubble when planning and developing content.

2. A foreign approach: shopping in foreign supermarkets is always fun; browsing unfamiliar products and spotting brands with rude names in English (*snigger*). But what else are foreign brands doing with social? How are they integrating it into their products or point of sale? What can you pickup and tweak from a different cultural mindset?

3. Big social projects: without getting too deep, what are the big workstreams you and your team will be known for? Are you giving them enough TLC, or getting sucked into the daily grind? Pick 2 or 3 as your big priorities when you get back.

4. Why are we doing this: social media is awash with data points, metrics and reports. But what actually are you trying to achieve? What are the 3 questions the business would really like the answer to? Focus on those and perhaps don’t sweat the “3 month rolling average organic engagement per brand message tweet to audience group B” so much.

5. Keep it simple principle: it’s a general theme that runs through all these ideas, but it’s so easy to over complicate social media. There is just so much you can do, and we always like to tell people that we’re trying the latest and greatest social media (yes boss, we’re all over Peach…). How else can you cut away the noise and focus on what’s really making a difference. Saying “no” to a new test can be tough, but essential.

And finally, two super-simple tips for avoiding smartphone temptation;

  • keep it low-tech with a pad and pencil for capturing your ideas
  • limit your thinking/scribbling time to 10 minutes per day – it’s just long enough to empty the ideas reservoir and get back to the banana boat/ sangria/ beach yoga/ snorkelling/ karaoke/ tour of ancient ruin/ catching Pokemon (delete as appropriate).

Please add any other tips in the comments below – I’d love to hear them. And happy holidays if you’re heading off!

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