The leaves are changing, and that crisp breeze winding through the streets means winter is on its way. Of course, that means many businesses are well into Q4, that magical time employees have been saving up for their paid time off (PTO) hours.

We’ve all seen it—or at least felt it. The holiday weeks leading up to the end of the year are the most difficult time to get in front of potential clients and close new business. Of course, if you’re struggling to get contacts on the phone, you are not just risking meeting your quota, you’re also missing a valuable opportunity to make a good impression on behalf of your company when people are generally in good spirits.

However, even though your client prospects may disconnect from the day-to-day emails and phone calls during the holidays, their social media accounts remain alive and active. The Global World Index found that internet users keep an average of six social media accounts and actively engage with four of those. You might think your prospects have gone dark, but social media provides some unique, contextual touchpoints where you can plan to continue reaching them with your message.

Here are four tips for managing social media communication during the holiday down time.

Reserve powerful content for down time

Your prospects love to consume high-quality content online. They may be out of the office, but that doesn’t mean their brains are too. If you or your company have developed an original content distribution strategy, reserve some of your best content for this period. Your competition is likely to take a break during this period too, so reserving some of your most heavy hitting content for down time can provide you with a unique competitive advantage when prospects are more likely to be on their mobile devices.

Use a paywall mentality to create automated lead generation

Although you may not be able to directly contact prospects who are out of the office on holiday, you can still capture them as leads. During down time, consider rolling out gated content strategies where visitors to your content “pay” to view it with their data. Although research shows that requiring users to fill out a form to access premium content can lower the number of total readers, it also creates a powerful, middle-of-the-funnel lead generation strategy for your business. This means that the people likely to give you their information are more interested in what your company can provide them and may be more likely to pick up a phone call from you after the holidays.

Share contextually relevant articles

The lowest hanging fruit for anyone on social media is to share or repost news articles published in real-time. If you’re looking to remain relevant among your client prospects during down time, spend 10 to 20 minutes daily reading your favorite news sources online with the goal of sharing one to two posts on your social media accounts each day. This will keep your name at the top of your followers’ news feeds and will show that you’ve got your prospects’ needs in mind, even during vacation.

Use social media as a direct messaging strategy

If email and phone calls to prospects go cold during the autumn and winter months, consider using outlets like LinkedIn and Twitter—which come out of the box with private direct messaging capabilities—to send notes directly to the people you want to reach. Oftentimes, communicating over these outlets can give prospects a sense of comfort about the conversation compared with the formality associated with email.

As you enter the season of unreturned calls and archived emails, consider your options when it comes to social media. You may find yourself to be more successful than you thought, and you may pick up some new skills along the way. For more on how to grow your business, regardless of the season, contact one of our business growth experts at Burke & Schindler today.