ImageLet’s just suppose for a minute that you didn’t get your Christmas wish this year and you haven’t managed to outsource your community management for the Christmas period.

With a user group who have lots of time on their hands, brand new devices to access the internet and possibly – just maybe – a drop or two of Christmas cheer to fuel them, how are you proposing to make sure your social media channels stay merry?

Here are some ways to help ensure that trouble doesn’t happen – or that you’ll know about it if it does.


  1. Manage user expectations. Tell users when someone will be around to answer their queries on your Facebook page, your Twitter profile. Set up your autoresponses with creativity and sensitivity to help assuage consumer frustrations.
  2. Anticipate trouble, and write FAQs.  Post these on your website, screenshot them to Pinterest.  Schedule tweets and status updates with links to them. If you can, look back to last year.  Were there questions raised then which are likely to come around again?
  3. If you are a retailer, have you got your returns policy and the instructions clearly posted and signed?
  4. Schedule tweets by all means.  But always ask yourself how foolproof they are likely to be: are you saying anything which could look ridiculous if circumstances change (if for example,  half the country is snowed in and pensioners are dying of hypothermia then cheery tweets about ‘Hope everyone gets the white Christmas they’re longing for!’ look frankly crass).  For this reason, print out your scheduled tweets and posts and check them each morning. Are they still OK?
  5. Get everything you need prepared. Contacts. Have you got the holiday contacts for your regular social media team, your tech team, your crisis team – and the lawyer?
  6. Get everything prepared. Logins. Do you have all the log ins you will need?  If you are using a secure system, does it work on the mobile devices you need to access it from the motorway on the way to Auntie Lil’s?
  7. Make sure you are monitoring your brand: keep an eye on keywords and your key staff with Google alerts: it need only take a few minutes with a smartphone under the dinner table …
  8. Do, by all means, join in the chat with your community over the holidays.  BUT NOT IF YOU’VE BEEN DRINKING.  Make absolutely sure that you have your personal account and your work accounts completely separate, so that even after three of Auntie Lil’s famous snowballs, they can’t be confused.
  9. Set your filters to strict: if you haven’t got moderation team working round the clock then it’s better that the comment doesn’t make it to the page at all than you end up with a screen full of spam or offensive material.

Can you add your own favourite to make a tenth tip in this list and help a poor community manager enjoy a festive break?

With many thanks to Craig at Contentedly Managed, whose list from 2011 was most helpful in compiling this.