Leveraging Your Reputation: Stay connected on vacation

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

You’re going on vacation: time to relax! And time to promote! You can still enjoy your vacation and do simple things to stay connected with other people while maintaining your personal publicity plan. It won’t feel like work and won’t take much effort either. Here are some easy ways to keep yourself in front of others when you’re off the clock:

Restaurant reviews. If you haven’t created an account at Yelp, then now is the time to do it, before you go on vacation. People all over the country and beyond, such as in Canada and some European countries, post their opinions about restaurants and rate them, and the site is easy to use. When you go to a restaurant that you like, write a review at Yelp, and let other people know about it through a link that you can email, send by phone, or post anywhere online.

Recommendations. In addition to restaurants, tell other people about a good hotel that you’re staying at, a must-see tourist attraction, or a unique store that you’ve encountered. Sometimes you don’t even need any words; you can simply post a picture of your location to recommend a place. For instance, if you’re staying at a tropical resort, you can just post a picture and say, “Here’s where I am now,” instead of trying to describe it with text.

Photos. An obvious way to talk about your vacation is through photos of your trip. You can post them many places online, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Picplz, and Flickr, and some of those sites can be linked to each other, so you only have to post the pictures at one place, and they will be dispersed among the network that you choose. But remember to post pictures sparingly because people will feel overwhelmed with too many photos. Choose the best ones and add an entertaining caption to keep people interested.

Observations. When you are on your trip and see anything fascinating, or if you’ve had a memorable experience that you want to share, write something at your LinkedIn or Twitter account (or both, if you have linked them up). But write something compelling and personal, so that your personality comes through. For instance, instead of writing “I just had some great ice cream,” write “Handmade banana chocolate ice cream: worth the calories. Now time to burn it off in the clear blue sea.” It tells a story, shows your beautiful location, and reveals something about you.

Do whatever makes you feel comfortable and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to post as much as possible. After all, it’s time to relax and enjoy a break from work. But it doesn’t hurt to maintain your communication with others, at least once a day.

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