If you’re anything like me, you tend to have months that are completely empty and full of free time, and months that are so crazy you’re tearing your hair out!
Authors tend to require lots of social media sites: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and sometimes much more. Over the years, since I started writing, I’ve accumulating profiles at the following sites:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
LinkedIn, Google, Tumblr
and a blog.
And EVERY. SINGLE. ONE requires constant updating. You never know when someone might follow you on one site out of the masses, and accidentally hit on the only one you don’t update. Some people don’t have the time, will, or care to go trolling the internet for the one site you actually use. So, I use them all. But I don’t kill myself doing it.
I use a handy thing called: SCHEDULE. Yup, that’s right. I schedule all my pages. All nine social media sites, and I have to try to make each site as unique to the others as possible, so that if, by chance, someone follows all of them, they get unique content every time they’re updated.
(Obviously, you don’t need to be as insane as me, and keep all the profiles. I know a lot of authors who choose just 2 or 3. Just make sure that you make it clear which ones you use and update – this can be done by adding them to your author bio or to the “about me” part of your profile)
Here’s how I do it:
Facebook is simple. It has a schedule option built in to the author pages. Simply upload your content, add images, add text, do whatever you need to do, and then instead of “post” click the drop down menu and choose schedule.
For Twitter, I use the desktop app Twuffer. It’s simple to use, just link your Twitter account and click “new tweet” add your text/image(s) and then change the date/time of the post to whenever you want it to post.
Later is a great app for scheduling Instagram. It has a desktop interface that lets you prepare your posts, then sends you a notification to your phone/tablet when that post is ready. It allows you to upload images, text, and schedule to your delight. The added bonus is that you can “auto-post”. As long as you fit the requirements (of picture size and text length) it will let you “auto-post” and then sent you a notification once it’s posted. You don’t have to do anything else!
Using WordPress for my blog, once each post is written, there’s an option to share it upon posting to other sites. I’ve linked my blog to Google +1, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. When each post goes live on my blog, it auto-posts to all those sites as well.
When it comes to BookLikes, you create a post and simply set the date/time to whenever you want, and it will post when you tell it to. Simple!
I bet you thought it was way more complicated, right? Nope. I’m a notoriously lazy person, when it comes to doing monotonous tasks, so the less I have to do the better. It takes barely half a day to schedule all of them, because I prepare in advance.
The best way to do this is to be super-organised right from the start. There are few better ways to do this than folders. On my laptop/computer I simply created a folder called Social Media, with folders within labelled for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, BookLikes and Blog. Within those folders, I created more folders, one for each of the days/themes.
There are a few steps that can make scheduling a simple copy/paste job.
Step 1 is to create a plan for what you want to post. What is your brand? What is your author tagline? What kind of books do you write? Create your content based on that, and who you are as a person.
For example, I have posts that show off my inner geek, my love of reading, and showcase my books and those of my literary brothers/sisters.
Step 2 is to gather your content. If you want to post snippets of your WIP’s, make a document with your text as you want it to appear and fill it in every time you start a new project or change an old one. If you want to post vampire pictures, troll Google and Pinterest to find ones you like, then save them into a folder specifically for them. If you want to share writing memes or character castings, then find the images you want/like and save them in a folder.
For example, I have a Q&A post for my Twitter, where I’ve used common interview questions and answered them. I have these saved in a document, pre-formatted for Twitter. I also have a #WIPWednesday where I post the first 7 lines of a story. This is pre-written in a document, with the book title, series name, quote, and hashtags already laid out for an easy copy/paste job, when I’m ready to schedule my pages.
Step 3 is to create a schedule. This can take a few attempts to get right. I suggest that, once you’ve got the idea of your schedule, test it for a month. Just as you would test a promo poster, for how effective it might be, this will let you know if you’re on the right track. Keep a watch on your stats for the site you’re testing. If you see an increase in likes/follows, then you know you’re doing the right thing. If things don’t change, then go back to the drawing board, figure out what you want to change and try that for a month. Once you’ve found a schedule, stick to it.
For example, I found that although my content for Instagram was good, the times when I posted proved to be ineffective. Once I found a time that worked for me (6pm) I changed all my posts to that time, which worked for me and my readership. Not only was I usually always sitting down to dinner, or just after that, at 6pm, but likely so were my followers. Plus, 6pm UK time is a much better time for international followers, too.
Example of my current schedule:
The great part about this process is that you can add to it whenever you want. If you find an awesome meme or vampire picture you want to use the next time you schedule your pages, you can save it the minute you find it and it’ll be there when you’re ready. If you start a great new book that has an awesome first 7 lines, add it to your document and it’s all set for when you next schedule. Then you simply highlight the ones you’ve used, to keep the documents up to date, so that you either don’t use the same ones twice or to know that when you’re done, you can come back and use them next year, if you need to.
Bonus: you can save this all to an online storage! If you have a dropbox or Google Drive – or, even if you don’t, you can create a new one – you can add your folders for social media to your online storage, for when you’re on the go.
There are many sites that allow you to schedule your social media. I’ve tried most of them, but being on a tight budget means that I limit myself to those with free plans, so that I can spend my limited funds elsewhere.
Later has a free option that allows 30 posts a month.
Twuffer has a free plan that allows 50 tweets a month.
Hootsuite has options for a “limited free plan” that allows 30 scheduled posts across 3 platforms. However, I personally had a few issues with the site not always giving me the promised 30 posts.
If you don’t plan to post a lot in a month, then Buffer might be the site for you. It allows 3 social media profiles, with only 10 free posts a month.
Also offering free accounts are SocialOomph, Everypost, and TweetDeck. Having not used any of these, I suggest testing them before buying a paid plan, to make sure they fit for you. There are also countless paid plans, on other platforms/websites that could be better for you. If you’re not sure, do your research before you commit money to it, or choose a free plan.
P.S. In all honestly, Instagram and Twitter can both be scheduled on the Later app, in one place, and I may switch to doing that, later in the year. For now, I haven’t attempted it and don’t have time to, but I will make the time in February/March (after my next release). If it requires logging out or switching between accounts, I might keep them separate. But it’s worth checking out, if you’re interested in one less website/account.