Finding Time for Social Media

By Lisa Hazen
Social Media

Photo credit: kbuntu/BigStockPhoto

There’s no question: networking with readers and media via social media is an essential piece of modern self-promotion. But it is also time-consuming. Many clients tell me that they feel completely overwhelmed (and turned off) by the different platforms to master, the time involved, not to mention the sustained (and earnest) communication with total strangers.

When you break it down by platform, and make it a habit, the entire process is much more palatable. There are a lot of articles available with tips for how to grow your audience and following via social media. This article tells you how to keep them with your content.

In my opinion, Twitter requires the most attention of all the social networking options. In a previous article, I offered ideas for how to make your Twitter page look fantastic. Here’s how to get your content singing.

Plan on posting at least once per day. (Preferably more.) Since Twitter is the most time intensive (and thus intimidating), many Twitter pages can fall victim to neglect. You can post your own quips as you conceive them or you can retweet other interesting posts—always with attribution.

Also, make sure that your Twitter presence is not a one-way street. Engage with other users publicly by Tweeting to them.

Facebook Fan Page
If someone “likes” your Facebook fan page, your posts will show up in their dialogue. This is a great opportunity to create a kind of exclusive dialogue with your followers and fans.

Unlike Twitter, I don’t advise posting once a day—being in someone’s daily Facebook feed is valuable to you—don’t overdo it with excessive posts. Rather, use it to promote individual events, opine about topics relevant to your audience, and engage with your audience. I would recommend authors plan on about 2 – 3 posts per week.

Another thing you want to plan for is time to respond to your Facebook fans. This is a great way to engage with your audience—stay on top of these. Facebook posts have a pretty short shelf life, so make sure that you respond in a timely fashion.

Some don’t consider blogging to be social media, but I disagree. I feel blogging is like a long-form version of social media. I might add that blogging is a discipline especially attuned to the skills of authors. You may think of blogging as a way to address your audience directly, or perhaps find a home for writing that hasn’t yet quite found its home.

If you are going to blog, commit to at least one piece per week. You decide the topic and the length—it’s your blog, afterall. Of course, you can post more than once per week, but once should be the minimum. Make sure to stay on top of your user’s comments and chime in when it is appropriate.

Beyond Twitter, Facebook, and blogging, there is no shortage of places to promote yourself. There’s Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, GoodReads… the list goes on. My advice is to adopt the platforms you think will complement your work and that you feel you can commit to. Don’t overextend by adopting every platform available, only to let them lie stagnant.

Bringing It All Together
Even I will admit that finding unique content for the various social media platforms is no small feat. Don’t feel like you need to create something different for each platform. The reason to use different platforms is because your users will have different ways that they want to consume information.

Make it easy on yourself and use a service like IFTTT to synchronize your content. With this free service, you can automatically post Facebook posts to Twitter (or vice versa). Or you can automatically post your Instagram photos to Facebook. The possibilities are endless. Although individual services allow you to synchronize with others, what I like about IFTTT is that it allows you to manage everything in one place. You do this by creating “recipes” to cross-post content.

When you get into your groove, start creating content, and building a following, I guarantee that not only will you find the entire process easier, but maybe even fun. A vibrant social media following will surely pay off in free promotion for you and your titles.

Lisa Hazen is a Chicago-based Web Designer specializing in author sites. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or the WWW.