Stop the Presses! 3 Times You Should Pause Your Social Updates

Sometimes, the trick to winning at social media is understanding when NOT to post. 

We’ve all been there. Your schedule is perfectly teed-up, but something comes up to disrupt your preset messaging. In other platforms, all you can do is halt every update until the environment returns to normal.

You might have many reasons for needing to temporarily stop posting your updates. Maybe this is due to a breaking news story, a PR scandal, or even just a change in seasons. There are different occasions to pause things, whether that includes all your updates on every network, or just one category or social profile.


When Pausing Makes Sense

Pause Everything

When a major world event has unfolded it may be a good idea to pause all updates on all of your profiles or risk being seen as insensitive for carrying on about digital marketing in the wake of a tragedy. It’s better to pause sooner rather than later in these situations; until you understand the full scope of what’s happened. Use the time to check that none of your upcoming content might be seen as inappropriate: such as an ill-timed joke. If in doubt, don’t resume until everyone has regained their equilibrium.

For larger companies, pausing everything can be a lifesaver in the event of a public relations issue, like the 2013 Tesco horsemeat scandal. In light of an event like this, your company will want to review all scheduled posts and pause everything until you’ve been able to check what’s appropriate. Otherwise, you risk antagonising the people who are angry with the brand and add fuel to the fire of an already tense situation. While this applies mostly to large businesses, the reality is that scandals can happen to anyone.

Case in point is one woman whose world was torn apart in the span of an airline flight due to an ill-received joke sent before takeoff:


When should I restart my regular queue?

Look to your audience to determine when to return to your regular programming. Take your cue from your what your network is posting: it’s easy to see when people are starting to return to normal. For most breaking news or scandalous events, a couple of days is usually enough. For PR issues, however, you’ll know when it’s blown over by the number of messages you’re receiving. If in doubt, wait until coverage has truly died down to resume your normal posting schedule.

Pause Single or Multiple Categories

You may also want to pause only certain categories for a short or long period of time. In SmarterQueue, categories are especially useful for storing social network updates on seasonal content, or limited-time promotions. You can pause your seasonal category once Christmas is over, and reactivate it once the snow starts to fall again.

Pausing categories also allows you to A/B test different groups of content. Perhaps in one group, you try a link together with an image, and in another category, you test a link with a video. By turning these categories on and off throughout your testing period, you can isolate which type of content works best.

It can also be useful to pause your high engagement categories (questions, polls, competitions) if you won’t be able to respond as much as usual. Maybe you’re a small business owner and you’re going to be off the grid temporarily while you travel, or your in-laws are coming to visit. Your followers will appreciate the heads-up and will be ready to welcome you back when your return.

Pause Single or Multiple Profiles

There are also occasions where it makes sense to pause a single profile. Take for example that you’re planning on live-tweeting an event or TV show. In this case, there’s too much content being sent out already without having your regular schedule in there too. To be safe, warn followers in advance when you’ll be at the event and that you’ll be live tweeting, then pause your scheduled tweets for the duration of the event.


How to Pause in SmarterQueue

It couldn’t be easier to pause your updates in SmarterQueue. On the Settings page, navigate to Pause Queue on the sidebar. Here, you can choose to pause certain categories, profiles, or everything at once. Or, you could choose to pause only Promotional images on Instagram, if you’re planning to generate some awesome new content.

Pausing in SmarterQueue


It’s OK to Pause

There are times when there is nothing appropriate to say. Businesses need to know when to step back and be silent, though this may only become apparent if you occasionally get it wrong. Think of crossing the road: Stop, look and listen. With the ability to control what you pause, you can respond that much quicker to events that take place online and in the outside world. Once you’ve taken the time to listen to what’s happening around you, you can manage anything that comes your way, with the ability to pause profiles, categories, or everything at once.

With its built-in pause function, SmarterQueue offers the most control of your updates on every social network. It’s the smartest way to do social media. Properly.  

Courtney Apps

Courtney Apps is a business owner, MBA, and never met a dessert she didn’t like. She is the owner of Upstream Digital, which specializes in web design, branding, and social media for small business. She lives in North Vancouver, BC.