8 Ways Busy Authors Can Get Social Media Done
About four years ago, my cousin called me in a bit of a panic. She was pregnant for the first time (with twins!) and was overwhelmed with the list of stuff people were telling her she had to buy for the babies.
Since I had gone through this with our son just a few years before, she said, “OK - give it to me straight. What do I really NEED and what can I live without? Can I live without a baby wipe warmer or do I really need that?”
When I was pregnant with Isaac I remember having a mini-meltdown at Babies-R-Us. There was SO MUCH STUFF! And I thought I had to buy it all before he was born.
Then my mother, in all of her motherly wisdom, called and said, “All he needs for the first few months are you, a place to sleep, blankets, diapers, and a bunch of white onesies. Keep it simple at first. You can get the other stuff later.”
It was a huge relief. And she was right.
As authors, we are overwhelmed with options, opinions, and being told “this is what you HAVE to do to see success on social media!” But let’s face it, many of us simply don’t have the time. We can’t squeeze another minute out of our day!
I’ve talked with many authors who are only able to squeeze their writing in during their kid's nap time, or during a quick break at work, or in the very early hours while their family is sleeping. I want you to know that I get it and I’ve been there! When Isaac was a baby I was juggling the exhausting job of being a new mom, trying to work full time and grow our business.
But here’s the reality: for your book to see success, you have to connect with people. And that takes time, which means authors need to start establishing and growing their audience right away. And social media is the best way for you to do that. It takes nine months to a year (at least!) to build a solid online platform.
I don’t say that to stress you out or overwhelm you - it’s just a reality. BUT you don’t have to do EVERYTHING to see results. You just need to do a few things well to get started. The rest can come later.
So how can a busy writer actually work social media into their schedule? Here are eight simple ways to help you get your social media done.
Focus on ONE social media outlet.
That’s it - just one. You don’t have to be everywhere online to be seen - you just have to be in the right place. It’s not about where you want to be, it’s about where your readers are most likely to be. When you’re pressed for time, focusing on one social media outlet will not only save you time, but it will also help you to focus your energy on using that outlet really well. If you aren’t sure which social media outlet is best for you, click here.
Don't focus on promoting.
While you’re writing your book, don’t worry about promoting it. You’re in the Attraction Phase. This phase is simply connecting with people who share similar interests as you do - it’s making connections. You don’t need to worry about sharing details of your book - focus on relating to people and letting them get to know you. This takes a huge load off your shoulders and actually builds a more genuine and solid relationship with your audience.
Think of one person.
If you’re having a hard time thinking of what to post, think about your ideal reader - the person you want to reach with your book. This might reflect a friend or someone you know - maybe even yourself! Create a list of what they are interested in (hobbies, interests, life situations) and then list topics that you want to talk about and are interested in. You’ll see a lot of topics that overlap. Create posts that center around those topics.
For example, lets say you and your reader both have young kids. You can share creative ways you keep them entertained while you get some work done. Then ask your readers how they keep their kids entertained to get them involved in the conversation.
You’re simply looking for ways to connect with other human beings. That’s it.
This simply means sharing something that you found on someone else's blog, a meme, a retweet, etc. You don’t need to create every piece of content you share - leave it to others! Give alltop.com a try to find articles that center around your shared interests.
Create a schedule.
This has been, hands down, one of the biggest timesavers that has saved my sanity along with helping me stay consistent. If you take a few minutes once a week to plan out what you’re going to post and get those elements (images, links, captions, etc.) in place ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about it during the week. It enables you to stay consistent with your posts, engaged with your readers, and it saves you a ton of time.
Use a social media management tool.
If you don’t use one already, get ready to see your life change! Tools like Buffer or Hootsuite allow you to schedule your social media posts so they will post automatically. I personally favor Buffer because it’s so much easier to use, but you can try out both to see which you prefer. They have free options for both services, so give them a shot!
Focus on quality not quantity.
Posting to social media consistently every day is really important. BUT don’t post just for the sake of posting something. If you can only post three times a week right now, that’s fine! That’s better than nothing - as long as you are consistent.
Set aside 10 minutes a day.
If you have plenty of time available to work on your social media posts, great! But try to commit to just 10 minutes every day. When you’re only focusing on one social media outlet you’ll find you can get a lot done in those 10 minutes!
Most of all, give yourself some grace. It may be slow-going at first, but the more time you spend working on your social media, the easier it will become and the more you'll be able to get done in less time.
Finally, don't put it off because you're afraid it takes too much time. Any time you spend - even if it's just a few minutes here and there - will help you work towards building the attentive audience you need to have ready for when you finish your book.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN! How do you squeeze time in to work on your social media? What have you found to be effective? I’d love to hear! And I’m sure other busy authors would love to hear your ideas as well!