Have you ever experienced the social media time suck? You plan to drop in, join some conversations, and then move on to the rest of your day. Except that two hours later you’re still scrolling through friends’ updates on Facebook and you’re writing goals for the day are shot.
But take heart: it’s possible to be active and successful on social media while still writing books and living your life. The trick is to use the available tools to manage your social media presence.
And remember: less is more. What I mean is that you don’t have to be on every site. In fact, you shouldn’t be; you’ll only stretch yourself too thin and eventually give up. Select sites where your readers hang out, and employ these strategies to create a strong social media presence:
1. First – Find your followers: Where do your readers hang out online? Once you know where they are you’ll know which sites are best for you. Otherwise, you’re likely to join sites that don’t work for you and months later you’ll be wondering why your efforts seem to go nowhere.
2. Scan content: Once you’ve established yourself on some sites, don’t get caught up reading every post. Check out the headlines to get a feel for what’s going on, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or another site. Make sure that the stuff you take time to read is actually worth the investment.
3. Use a feed reader: There are sites like feedly, newsvine and other aggregators that collect content for you. Instead of going from blog to blog, the site will automatically store the latest posts and then you can skim headlines and see what’s going on.
4. Create lists: Facebook and Twitter allow you to develop lists based on your interests. As your following grows, the main feed becomes overwhelming and irrelevant. But you can put key groups together into lists. Perhaps book reviewers, authors (that you learn from and network with), media (to get to know and pitch), etc.
5. Join groups: On Facebook and LinkedIn there are interest-based groups. On Google Plus, there are communities. When you join groups that reflect your interests and goals you’ll spend your time on social media far more wisely.
6. Set time limits: If this means you have to use a timer, go for it! You’ll feel awkward at first, but after a couple of weeks of managing the time you spend on social media you’ll become really efficient. Then your social media efforts will be worthwhile and productive. You may want to establish a routine for when you’re online using social media. Determine the best time of day based on what your followers are doing, and stick to that schedule.
7. Schedule some posts: This can be a great way to ensure you post content regularly. Then, when you’re online you can use that time to respond to anyone who’s commented on your post, retweeted you, etc. And you’ll also have time to join other conversations, which is what social media is all about: being social. Scheduling resources include Buffer, HootSuite and SocialOomph.
8. Let your blog help: If you’ve got a blog, set it up so the content automatically posts to social media whenever you have new content. This is another way to regularly update your social media. Remember that your followers probably don’t follow you across all of your social media sites. Or, you can manually post your latest blog and change the heading and/or description of the post to tailor it to the audience on that site.
9. Make a plan: When you write down your goals and strategy you’re much more likely to get things done. Develop action items and periodically review your plan to make sure you’re on track; if you aren’t, revise the plan!
Social media doesn’t have to be all-consuming, nor does it have to take away time from writing. When you set goals, follow through, and stay focused you’ll find that you’re using social media effectively, and gaining readers and fans along the way.
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. She is the author of five books, including Book to Bestseller, which has been called the “road map to publishing success.” AME is the first marketing and publicity firm to use Internet promotion to its full impact through The Virtual Author Tour™, which strategically works with social networking sites, blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and relevant sites to push an author’s message into the virtual community and connect with sites related to the book’s topic, positioning the author in his or her market. In the past 24 months their creative marketing strategies have helped land 11 books on the New York Times Bestseller list. To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her website at http://www.amarketingexpert.com.