I teach writers how to build an online platform by investing thirty-minutes a day in social media. I do this by utilizing a scheduling program (my favorite is Hootsuite). But, I also caution them not to spend much time talking about themselves, reminding them about Edie’s 5 to 1 rule.
For every 5 social media updates you share on any network,
you are only allowed 1 about yourself.
Remember, social media is not advertising. It’s a way of connecting with others online. These connections will come into play and be your cheerleaders when you are promoting a book or sharing something you care about. But we don’t start with what’s in it for us, we start with what’s in it for them.
The key to only spending a short time each day scheduling social media updates, is having a ready library of things to share. Today I’m going to teach you how have to have the resources you need—always on hand—for valuable social media updates.
Before you can build a library of resources, you need a focus for your social media updates. Your social media personality needs to have a focus. Just like an unfocused blog, a social media personality that posts about everything under the sun isn’t going to garner many followers. It doesn’t have to be just one things, but it should be well-defined.
My focus for social social media updates covers four areas (yours will probably be something different, but that’s okay. The process is the same:
- Social media how-to for writers, business owners, non-profits, and ministries.
- Writing instruction and inspiration.
- Things to help military families and the communities that support them.
- Prayer/devotional thoughts.
These are the four primary topics I share about on social media.
I go to three basic places to find things to share on these topics.
- Blogs and sites I read regularly (I make sure I get email notification when something new is shared on one of these sites).
- Social media updates that others share.
- Hashtags and people I follow on social media—especially on Twitter.
I refer to these resources as my library. But they are only helpful if I already have them close at hand. If I have to spend time searching through websites or scanning social media every time I want to schedule updates, thirty-minutes isn’t nearly long enough.
Building the Library
I recommend you take several days and up to a week to build your basic library. I also suggest that you’re always adding to it as you find a valuable site and/or person. I do this in three ways.
1.I take time to research topics I’m interested in and sign up for blog/website updates to come into my inbox every time there’s a new article and/or post. That way, I have a ready-to-hand list of things constantly coming into my inbox daily. I do the research by searching on google.
Here’s how I would research social media:
I’d type “Social Media Tips for Writers” in the search engine box. I’d begin to read through the articles and posts that come up. I would continue to do this with slightly different searches, like, “Blogging for writers,” “Authors and Social Media,” etc. I would look for sites that come up again and again because they’re probably the most valuable.
2. I would spend several sessions—over several different days—scrolling through social media updates (particularly Facebook). I’m looking for other sites people I respect share regularly, and I’m looking for specific accounts that share their own updates regularly.
3. I would search for specific hashtags and accounts on Twitter that pertain to the subject I want to share on social media. To find the best hashtags to search for, I’d again start on Google (yes, Google). I type the following into the Google search box, “Best hashtags for Writers” or “Best hashtags for Christian Writers.”
Once I have the most valuable hashtags, I make a stream on Hootsuite of just that particular hashtag. If you’re not sure how, here’s a post on How to Customize Hootsuite that explains about streams and searches.
As I’m researching hashtags, I’m going to come across some Twitter accounts that have lots of things about social media (one I follow on Twitter and FB is the @SocialMediaExaminer). I would also make a stream for these type of accounts.
4. Next, I look at all the places/accounts/people I’ve found that I can share information from and I cross reference them—looking for them in different places. For example, @SocialMediaExaminer is also on Facebook, so I Liked their page, and they have a blog, so I signed up for email updates when they put up a new blog post.
5. Finally, I make a go-to list either in a spreadsheet or word document. This is a list of all the websites/blogs I can go to if I can’t find anything in my inbox or on social media.
Now you can see why I say a few days up to a week to assemble all this information.
But once you have this information close at hand, you can easily spend no more than thirty-minutes a day scheduling valuable social media updates.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Any questions about the specifics? Tips that you’ve found to help gather valuable social media updates? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.