How many hours have you unintentionally spend in front of your computer reviewing Facebook posts, retweeting your Tweeps, and uploading photos? We’ve all done it.
Perhaps your only intention was to post an update and an image on Facebook, but then look at what happens instead? You see a post from a friend who is feeling down so you stop to write an encouraging note.
Then you notice that a colleague posted a great article about self-publishing and you can’t resist the temptation to read it. You navigate to the website where the article is and you find a book for sale there. You’ve got to have it. So you click the purchase link, navigate to Amazon, check out the book further, read the reviews, and decide whether you want a new or used version or an eBook.
You eventually return to Facebook, upload your image, and write the update. How much time did you lose? Fifteen minutes? Maybe twenty? If you took the time to look for another book while you were on Amazon, you may have spent even more time. Who has the time for that?
Getting lost in the vortex of social media time suck — while trying to sustain an author marketing platform — is easy and it’s the greatest fear among writers who are new to social media. But there are remedies.
How Do You Allocate Your Time?
We each have 24 hours a day with which to play. How we allocate our time is the difference between wasting hours unnecessarily and accomplishing your goals, writing your books, and enjoying the success you deserve.
Too often, authors approach me worried about social media. They aren’t as worried about understanding how to use social media as they are about how online marketing will zap their time and energy.
Writers often tell me, “I don’t have the time for social media.”
Well, you made the time to write a book. You hired an editor, a graphic design consultant, and a cover designer. So if you want to reap the benefits of writing and publishing your book, you need to invest time in learning how to use social media—as well as how to tame it. By taming social media I mean learning how to reduce the amount of time you spend networking online without losing your effectiveness.
Four Steps to Saving Time on Social Media
There are four basic principles to social media that will help you to save time and become more efficient when marketing your books.
- Focus on those social media networks where your readers spend time online. Refer to this post to review which demographics spend time on the different social media networks.
- Curate – Just as museums curate paintings and sculptures for their exhibits, you will be search for the best content you can find that your readers and other segments of your audience will want to read. Set a timer and spend 10 minutes each morning scouring the Internet for the best information to share.
- Schedule – No one has time to spend all day – or long periods of time – in front of their computers or staring at their smartphones posting content on social media. Instead, use a timer and spend five minutes scheduling your posts for the day by using an application to schedule your posts, tweets and updates at regular intervals throughout the day, depending on the social media channel. For example, you probably won’t want to post more than twice on Facebook in one day but you will want to post about eight times on Twitter.
- Socialize – Use your favorite mobile device in the evening while you relax to check your social media accounts. Spend 15 minutes commenting on your friends’ posts, sharing their posts with your friends and fans, retweeting and re-pinning. Consciously schedule this time into your day and enjoy the time getting to know members of your audience and tribe. Don’t forget to set your timer so that you don’t lose track of time. Alternatively, if you have more than 15 minutes available, take more time on this step.
Apps to Make You More Efficient
Here are just a few tools to help you curate, schedule, and socialize online.
Created by social media megastar and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, this is the mother of all curation websites. You’ll find the day’s top articles here in every possible niche. Just use the search bar to find posts in your niche.
If you use the scheduling application Buffer, Daily is a companion app. Daily will suggest stories. Select the ones you prefer with a touch of the finger, and Daily will send the story to your queue for scheduling. It’s one of the easiest curation apps to use.
People new to social media tend to start with the free version of Hootsuite. It’s easy to set up and will allow you to post to Facebook, LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups, Twitter, your Google+ page, and Instagram. You can set up your feeds and use Hootsuite to keep in touch with your friends, fans, and followers by aggregating your social media news feeds on this application. What this means is that you can navigate to Hootsuite to see all of your friends’ and followers’ posts in one place. The paid version provides analytics.
Buffer is another popular choice. You can use Buffer for free. If you’d like to schedule images to Pinterest, you’ll need the Awesome plan, which is $102/year. What’s fun about Buffer is its integration with other social media applications, such as its curation app, Daily. Buffer is one of the easiest scheduling programs available.
This app will analyze your relationships and help you to engage with them better. The basic service is free and keeps track of your followers and interactions. With a single glance, you’ll know which users you should follow and which of your followers you need to thank or send a reply to. This application allows users to manage their Twitter lists and also provides analytics.
This nifty tool will help you to keep in touch with friends who send you private messages on Facebook. You can use it on your PC, iPhone, Mac, or Android device. It’s free.
Which apps do you plan to try out this week?
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. She’s written several books including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads, Avoid Social Media Time Suck, and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free here. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.
Does Goodreads confuse you? Have you been using it for a while but just can’t get the hang of this social media network and readers haven?Then check out The Author’s Guide to Goodreads.