I’ve invited Corinne Litchfield to be my guest blogger today to share some of her tips on navigating the constantly changing landscape of social media. Corinne has helped me create a Facebook author page and my blog book page. She’s organized and linked my social media platforms, and is a valuable part of the community of people I rely on to help me communicate with all of you. – LT
The flow of creativity seems to move very fast sometimes. As a writer, I have moments when the ideas for stories, poems and essays rush through my head, each demanding to be written down. When I switch gears into social media management, however, I realize it’s important to slow down: I need to ensure my copy is clear, concise and timely, and that I’m choosing the right methods to share that content. You could say I’ve become a proponent of a slow movement for social media.
It may sound crazy for a social media manager to say “slow down,” considering how rapidly news cycles are updated and how timeliness in tweeting or posting on Facebook can make or break a book’s popularity among readers. But more and more I’m seeing clients who want to jump into everything all at once: website, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, you name it. That’s the point when I tell them that it’s okay to move slowly and carefully, to deliberate on each element of their overall strategy before moving to the next item on their list. Otherwise they walk away with bits and pieces of information, not understanding how each piece of their platform works together to build their brand identity.
So if you’re supposed to move slowly with social media, what should you do first? How do you prioritize everything? I recently spoke at Napa Valley Writers Club about website development and social media, and established what will become my new mantra with my clients:
Start with two.
That means select two social media accounts you want to start with – whether it’s Facebook and Goodreads, or Twitter and Google+, or some other combination. Get really comfortable using the two accounts you select: learn how to post content, from text only to text+image to text+video; learn how to share content from other sources, such as a news site or blog; and build up your following and/or fans. Once you’ve mastered those two accounts, consider setting up another social media account to promote your writing. But don’t push yourself. Keep in mind that in between all those blog posts, tweets and Facebook Page updates, you need to write your next book, short story collection or poetry chapbook.
How much is too much?
In terms of time, about 15-20 minutes a day perusing social media for business purposes – meaning you’re reading (and sharing) content that’s relevant to your genre or niche – should be sufficient. If you find you’re dawdling over whether or not to share content, save the link and read it again later.
As for how frequently to post on social media, it depends. Tweets have a shelf life of approximately 18 minutes. Facebook posts last nearly twice as long, clocking in at 30 minutes. This doesn’t mean you should post or tweet more often, however – it means that you should use tools provided by Facebook and Twitter to see how your more popular posts/tweets perform, and use those as a guide for when – and what – to post. (Click on the images to view a larger version.)
Using these tools, plus taking advantage of a dashboard service such as Buffer or HootSuite, can help you slow down and make the most of social media without feeling overwhelmed by it all.