Social Media Tips for Writers (And Reluctant Marketers)

Social Media Tips for Writers (And Reluctant Marketers)

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.

  1. Curate your posts.
  2. Schedule your social media updates.
  3. Be social because the essence of social media is engagement.
  4. 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.

Scoop.it

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.”

AllTop

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.

Blogs

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.

Twitter Lists

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.

bufferBuffer

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

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.

SocialOomph

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

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

It’s important to schedule time in your day to be social. What does this mean?

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.

Sprout Social

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.

Social Report

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

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.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – November 17, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update is chockfull of helpful tips. From Facebook ads to author websites to cross-promotion, you’ll find information to help you sell more books.

Indie Author Updates

Unpublished Writers and Websites: Should You Have One and What Should It Say? by Jane Friedman: “If you plan to pursue writing as a professional, long-term career, I recommend starting and maintaining an author website even if you’re unpublished. Your website serves as an online home and hub for everything that you do, whether in real life or in the digital realm. You fully own and control it, tell your own story, and connect directly with the media, readers or influencers. It’s hard to overstate its importance over the long term. Consider it the cost of doing business in the digital era, a necessary business card and networking tool.”

Use Your Author Website To Make Readers Care About You As A Writer  from Web Design Relief: “As a writer, your job is to create a narrative that hooks the reader, raises curiosity, elicits empathy, and leaves the reader satisfied. But have you ever considered how these fundamentals of storytelling can be harnessed to improve your author website?”

Email Marketing: The Complete Beginner’s Guide from Blogging Wizard: “If you’re a small business owner doing business online, the thought of not making any conversions can make you lose sleep at night. You work hard at creating your website – or the online version of your brick and mortar business – with a distinct brand and logo. You even heard that blogging can generate up to 67% more leads, so you start your own company blog.”

Pronoun Is Dead: The Ebook Retail Universe Redux from TheBoodDesigner.com and by David Kudler: “I’m bummed. On November 6, Macmillan’s Pronoun, the distributor that I had begun to rely on more and more over the past year, announced that it was shutting down its operations. No new books can be uploaded; Pronoun will remove all existing books from distribution on January 15, 2018.”

The 4 Best Types of Facebook Ads for Authors by Andrea Vahl: “Are you an author who wants to promote your book with Facebook Ads?  It can be overwhelming to know what is going to be most effective.  In this post, I’ll show you the 4 best types of Facebook Ads for Authors and how to approach your marketing strategy on Facebook. The first thing to clear up is that there are different types of authors and different goals for your book.  And once you are clear on the next step a reader should take with you, your marketing strategy becomes clearer.”

14 Ways Authors Can Cross-Promote Each Other’s Books from BookBub: “Many authors cross-promote each other’s books to gain visibility with a relevant new audience of readers. It’s a mutually beneficial way to inexpensively boost book sales and word-of-mouth buzz — and to make new friends and build relationships in the publishing community!”

Awards News

Jesmyn Ward Wins Second National Book Award in Fiction from Publishing Perspectives: “Jesmyn Ward led Wednesday evening’s (November 15) National Book Award honors, for her Sing, Unburied, Sing, becoming a two-time winner of the prize.” Her earlier award came in 2011 for Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA).

Fiction Writing Contests

Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Winter 2017 Edition) from Writer Unboxed: “Much like editors are looking for reasons to reject work, I want to focus on opportunities worth my time. Thus, my list of writing contests below includes reasons to submit to that particular writing contest. May you find a promising opportunity among this list and spend less time searching for where to send your exceptional work.”

Quote of the Week

Ernest Hemingway

New to blogging? Check out Blogging Just for Writers 

Blogging Just for Writers by Frances Caballo

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. 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 writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

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50 Blogging Topics for Authors

Blogging Topics

Do you struggle with coming up with blogging topics?

Hey, I wouldn’t be honest if I said that blogging is such a breeze, I could do it in my sleep. Or when I’m sleep-deprived.

There are times when blogging topics come to me in bunches. I could be sitting at my desk, and one thought triggers another, and before I know it, I have six or seven or even ten new blogging topics.

I love those times.

But then there are also the other times. You know, when my fountain of creativity has run dry.

There have been times when I’ve followed my advice and set up a blogging calendar. I’ve used Excel to track my topics, an online app, a scrap of paper floating around my desk, or just a Word doc to keep all of my blog topics organized.

But lately, I seem to be a seat-of-my-pants type of blogger. During these times, I tend to write about whatever is up with me whether there’s something new in social media I’m trying to learn or certain issues that keep cropping up.

I know that other authors have this problem too because they’ve asked me for advice on what to blog about.

When we publish our first book, especially if it’s a nonfiction book, we think we’ve said everything we can on the topic. Then we find out that we need an author website and blog. So we wonder, should I write about my cancer, my trip to the Bahamas, or my garden?

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update December 9, 2016

Indie Author Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Be sure to read Joel Friedlander’s series on how he got his start in blogging and soared to success. It’s a fascinating story.

So why the dogs in the image above? Why not? Those who know me well, know that I love dogs. I have an English Lab and fostered dogs for the Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue. Why the snow in the above picture? It doesn’t snow where I live, but it is brisk and feels like it might snow.

I hope you enjoy this week’s selection below and that you have a lovely weekend. Keep warm!


Indie Author Updates

Video Will Be Huge in 2017…Get Ready! from BookWorks: “Video is incredibly popular. Experts estimate that in 2017 and beyond, video will make up 69% of consumer internet traffic. Back in 2015, consumers spent an average of five-and-a-half hours a day watching video content. That number continues to rise. On Facebook alone, some 500 million users view 8 billion videos on a daily basis. Video, because people watch so much of it, is useful in book marketing. At the same time, it’s important to keep your videos to approximately 90 seconds. Five percent of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% by 2 minutes.”

[Read more…]

Blogging Got You Down? Follow These 6 Steps

Blogging Got You Down? Follow These 6 Steps by Frances CaballoI’ve heard so many questions about blogging that I decided to address them today. 


6 Steps to Better Blogging

Let’s raise the curtain on the issue of blogging, shall we?

You know you should write your blog posts weekly but for some reason you feel writing new posts can feel akin to writing essays about the importance flossing.

Am I right? Guess what? You’re not alone. Plenty of authors feel this way.

There are more of you than you might think. Sure, when you look at other author blogs you think to yourself, “Geez. Their blog is great. They  must love to write those posts.”

Here’s a little secret. There are a lot of you who detest it. I have a colleague, and she publishes her blog posts every Saturday. By Thursday, I hear her complain, “I have to go home and try to figure out what to blog about next. Sheesh!”

See? You’re not the only one.

Learn how to refreshen older content for today's readersClick To Tweet

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How to Take Charge of Your Author Blog

Take Charge of Your Author Blog by Frances CaballoYou’re reading the text version of the Social Media for Authors Podcast, Episode 19, written and copyrighted by Frances Caballo.

 

It’s been a while since I talked about blogging so I decided to share today some incredible posts I’ve recently discovered.

As usual, this week’s episode includes summaries of four blog posts with awesome suggestions and, of course, I have your tip of the week.

Let’s start with your weekly tip.

Jody ReinJody Rein is a literary agent and developer of software for authors. She created a website called Writers’ Blog Finder just for authors like you.

You can use this tool to find the top blogs in a number of given categories.

You won’t be able to enter just any keyword. You will need to select a blog category using her designated keywords for your category and a sub-category. She explains that the goal of her tool is different than Google or Safari. She wants to provide writers with a useful filter that produces search results of blogs that she and her colleagues have personally visited.

[Read more…]

The New Facebook Ban Authors Need to Know About

12-29-14 The New Facebook Ban on Promotional Posts - How it affects Indie Authors by Frances CaballoLast week, Nina Amir sent me an email with a link to the AuthorLink.com blog post about the new Facebook ban on promotional posts on fan pages. She wanted me to know what I thought about the ban.

In case you didn’t see it, the blog post, titled Facebook Promotional Ban Spells Trouble for Authors, said that the new Facebook policy that takes effect on January 1st will be a problem for Indie authors.

AuthorLink is talking about the new ban on purely promotional posts created on fan pages that goes into effect in a few days.

ClickZ Explains the New Facebook Ban

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Friday Roundup: Add Visuals to Your Book Marketing

Episode 4 - Use Visuals

 

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Welcome to the Friday Roundup where you’ll find practical tips for marketing your books on the social web. This week’s segment includes summaries of four blog posts I found on the web,  and of course, your tip of the week on how to incorporate images in your marketing with Canva.


Let’s start with my weekly tip.

If you haven’t heard of Canva, go to Canva.com. This is an amazing application and now also a social media network.

I use it to create nearly all of my images for my blog and social media posts. Now, I say nearly all because I also use PicMonkey, another great app.

[Read more…]

Friday Roundup: How to Engage Your Readers

12-19-14 Engage Your Readers by Frances Caballo

 

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Welcome to the Friday Roundup where you’ll find practical tips for marketing your books on the social web. This week’s segment includes summaries of four blog posts that will help you hone your social media marketing skills, and of course, your tip of the week on how to engage your readers I hope you enjoy the post!


Let’s start with your weekly tip.

This week’s segment includes summaries of four blog posts with awesome social media tips, and of course, I have your tip of the week.

Let’s start with your weekly tip.

[Read more…]

Unplug, Daydream, Do What Inspires You

Do What Inspires You by Frances Caballo of Social Media Just for Writers

I’ve been volunteering for the Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue (GGLRR) for nearly five years, fostering rescued Labs and conducting home visits.

After I had adopted one of my fosters two years ago, my involvement with the rescue slowed considerably, yet I still take in the occasional senior dog.

Right before Thanksgiving, I decided to foster Sterling, probably a Lab-Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix.

[Read more…]