The biggest resistance writers have to jumping into social media is that they fear they will need to spend countless hours in front of their computers posting, tweeting, updating, uploading images, and of course, and leaving comments or replying to someone’s message.
I refer to this as the “time suck factor” because if you let it, social media can suck precious time from your day and your writing.
But, news flash, marketing doesn’t have to be an ugly word. And it doesn’t have to be a task you accept grudgingly.
We’re not conducting robocalls or telemarketing. And we’re not creating direct mail appeals – junk mail – that people toss without even opening the envelopes.
We’re in the era of social media marketing, and the beauty of it is that it’s not interruption-based marketing. Your message is waiting for people when they choose to navigate to Twitter or Facebook or other social media networks.
But you’re still afraid that if you start to use social media, you’ll lose track of time and spend hours in front of the computer when you should be writing or going to the gym. Am I right?
Nonsense. Fitting social media into busy schedules is easy and takes disciple. That’s right, discipline to not turn a quick internet research for your book into a foray into your Facebook newsfeed, which, by the way, I’ve done.
So I speak from experience.
Over the years I’ve learned that you can manage your social media marketing and still have time to write, cycle, relax with a novel, or soak up suds in a tub by following a simple four-point plan.
- Curate your posts.
- Schedule your social media updates.
- Be social because the essence of social media is engagement.
- Measure your results so that you’ll know how to improve your engagement.
By spending as little as 30 minutes a day, you can grow your contacts, further your brand, sell more books, and stay in touch with colleagues, readers, and friends.
Here are my social media tips for writers that will help you to better manage your time while marketing.
Curate Stellar Content
There are applications and websites that can help you to find great content in your niche. These are a few of my favorites.
Enter your keywords, and this application will scour the Web for you. You can discard or keep the articles and posts that Scoop.it suggests and even create your own customized “magazine.”
Not an application but a website, this is the top online source for the hottest trending information on the entire blogosphere from A to Z. Find information on a range of topics from writing to social media to romance novels.
Subscribe to the top blogs in your niche. I curate information from the blogs I subscribe to and doing so provides a shortcut to my curation.
Create lists of the top thinkers and writers in your industry. Creating Twitter lists helps me to stay on top of my industry, get through Twitter more quickly, and efficiently curate information to retweet.
Schedule Your Posts in the Morning
There are numerous applications to help you plan your day. Here are a few for you to consider and use at the start of your day.
The free version allows you to post four tweets daily while with the paid version – starting at just $10/month – you can post as often as you’d like.
HootSuite offers a great free plan that allows users to tweet and post as often as they’d like. The paid version will allow you to also post to your Google+ pages, a range of social media platforms, and the paid version offers analytics.
This application is a scheduler on steroids. You can schedule recurring tweets, track keywords and hashtags, check your incoming feeds, and analyze your click-through-rates to your website. They offer a 7-day trial plan that’s free. Note: SocialOomph works best for Twitter and LinkedIn only. It is limited in the breadth of social media platforms it serves.
Tweetdeck is a free application that enables you to manage your Twitter feed, schedule tweets, and monitor and manage unlimited accounts.
You Don’t Have to Be a Party Animal to Be Social
At the end of your day, right before or after dinner, spend some time on social media.
Like and comment on posts you find in your newsfeed on Facebook. Check your Contact feed on Twitter to see who messaged you or followed you. Reply to tweets by telling users that you liked a quote they sent out. Follow back users who followed you during the day – assuming they are interesting enough – and comment on their blog, website, or Facebook page.
Read a few blogs and leave comments. Check in on one of your groups on LinkedIn and add to the discussion. Check in on your Google+ communities.
In other words, put the social in social media to work but limit your time to about 15 minutes.
Check Your Return on Investment (ROI)
I love this quote:
Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done there is surprise it’s not better. Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics Evangelist
Time is precious, so it’s important to check to see whether your marketing efforts are having any effect. Here are some applications that can help you to make that determination.
The premium plan comes with a 30-day trial period. Use this application for monitoring profiles and keywords, scheduling posts, and producing reports. The premium level, which is the beginning level, includes ten social media profiles. SproutSocial also measures influence, analyzes your audience, and lets you know whether not you’ve been social enough.
With Social Report you can track the performance of everything from your Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, website site performance and blogs. The data from your social channels is downloaded and laid out on a dashboard. And you can track your social media profiles. Pricing starts at $49/month.
Insights is Facebook’s free and incredibly comprehensive analytics. Once you have 35 or more Likes on your Facebook author page, Insights will reveal your demographics, the best time to post your updates and indicate which posts received the most engagement.
Twitter offers analytics that is even more comprehensive than Facebook’s Insights, and like Insights, it’s available for free. Find out who your most influential follower is, which tweet received the most retweets, and more. Find your analytics at this URL https://analytics.twitter.com/user/Your UserName or click on your avatar from the upper taskbar and click on analytics.
Google Analytics measures sales and conversions and offers information on how visitors arrived at your website and how they use it. This information is important because you can use it to improve your conversations (book sales!).So, spend 10 to 15 minutes in the morning curating and scheduling social media posts, spend 10 to 15 minutes in the late afternoon or early evening socializing, and finally, spend a few minutes once a month analyzing your indicators so that you can measure and adjust your posts.
Frances Caballo is an author and social media consultant. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online and building their platform. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Online Book Marketing Strategies for Writers