In my limited experience among other writers through groups and online classes and whatnot, the big thing seems to be how to tame the social media beast. Mostly because number one, we are first writers and that’s what we want to do – write. Not invest in the time drag that can be marketing. And secondly, because, by and large, authors tend to be of a more introverted nature. Reaching out through social media just does not suit our makeup in most cases. So, what’s my perspective on this? I can only share how I’ve managed to find some balance. I can only tell you what tricks I use to make social media and marketing a part of my rather busy life. But I am willing to do share what I can.
Balance. This is a buzz word these days. Especially for your particular season of life (which, I think this word tends to apply to almost every season). But I am in the season of littles. I have three children (6, 4, and 2) with their own needs and challenges and schedules. It’s a full time job! I also have this passion for writing, having become a published author within the last year (having a book released in July 2015 and one in January 2016). So, critique groups, online courses, conferences, having a mentor, and the social media/marketing piece are important to me. And then the writing, of course, as well. Are there enough hours in the day? No.
The Beam. So what is one to do? As a wife and mom, there are responsibilities that must get done. As a writer/author, I deeply desire to continue to grow and hone my skill. Well, I cannot (obviously) do everything. I have to learn to make sacrifices and delegate some things. I have in the past called this “on the beam” (the important stuff I need to keep doing) and “off the beam” (the stuff I delegate or stop doing altogether). Laundry, dishes, general housework – off the beam – delegated. Playing with my children – on the beam. Dinner each night – split on the beam/off the beam with my husband. You can begin to see how this works for your different responsibilities.
Managing Social Media. For me, the best tool I utilize is Hootsuite. This has been a God-send in my life. It means for me that I sit down once a day and do my posts/tweets at once and schedule them out across the day. You can do a whole week at once, but I just do one or two days at a time because I like my posts/tweets to be current to what’s happening with me. I tweet and post to facebook and my facebook author page every day. I’m also on pinterest, but update that less frequently.
What do I post? Don’t think of your social media outlets as a place to do all your marketing. It is a place to make connections with people. So, post about what interests you. Encourage interactions with others. If you like gardening, for example, post and pin (on pinterest) about gardening. Those that like gardening will follow you and then discover your books as they learn more about you. Just be yourself, though. As the other point of social media is for those who follow you because they already like your books to get a little “peek behind the curtain”, a little insight into who you are.
When/Where do I market? I do, on occasion use my facebook and twitter to market. I believe the statistics say to use those outlets for marketing about 20% of the time. I do much less than that. Perhaps I should ramp it up, but that’s where I’m comfortable right now. You can also market yourself at speaking engagements. Whether or not you are speaking about your books. Mention that you are an author, pass out swag, do a door prize give-away of an amazon gift card or one of your books. Easy ways to get the word out.
E-mail list. Grow your e-mail list. Send out newsletters with some frequency. I get one out every month or every other month. I try to provide something for my followers (like a recipe) as well as information about my books and what’s going on with me. But you want to get that list going because that belongs to you. Facebook and twitter do not. They could be gone tomorrow. Not likely, but possible.
Baby Steps. All in all, social media seems like a time drag and maybe like a drag period. But, to steal an idea from the movie “What about Bob?”, you can’t think about the whole thing, take it one step at a time…baby steps. Think about implementing one thing this week. Maybe a blog. Do that for a couple of weeks. Then maybe add facebook. Then after a few weeks, twitter. Add things slowly an as you feel you can handle them. Measure out your time. I allow myself about 10-15 minutes for Hootsuite each day. That’s all it takes. Then, on Tuesdays and Fridays, I give myself an extra hour for a blog post. I have a goal of editing or writing 2 scenes each day. Small goals, manageable goals. If I do more – great! Icing on the cake.
So, with that, I will say good luck! Take a hard look at your responsibilities, see what can be delegated. Add something new to your schedule, and go with it! Happy marketing!!