by Rochelle Melander
If you’ve been following the social media summer series, then you know that I’ve spent the last three months writing about how you can develop a social media platform by blogging, tweeting, updating, pinning, and a gazillion other social media actions we haven’t had time to talk about. So with all of this activity going on, how do we juggle it and still have time to write?
I wish I knew. Seriously. I’m struggling to stay connected through social media, honor my work commitments, and write. (Not to mention exercising, cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and spending time with my family and friends!) Thankfully, I am not alone. I polled my fabulous Twitter crowd, and they offered great advice.
Ambimbola Oguntunde (@bebopskiwrites) suggested, “Schedule twitter time strictly and write! Write the day’s quota, then share on twitter. Resist temptation. Repeat daily!” Katie Axelson (@KatieAxelson) said, “Tweet in time blocks. Tweet while processing thoughts. Buffer Tweets.”
I love it—write first, tweet later! Schedule social media time. Use tools like Buffer (bufferapp.com) or HootSuite (hootsuite.com) to manage social media posts. That’s the basics of doing it all: writing and juggling social media. In addition, I’d suggest:
1. Set your goal. What do you want to accomplish through social media? Many of the people I talk to are doing Twitter or LinkedIn (or struggling to keep up with a blog) because someone told them they had to. Because they do not have a clear goal, they do not reap many of the benefits of social media. Take time to define your goal for your social media presence. Typical goals include: connecting with other writers in my genre, learning more about my niche, building my platform, letting people know about my books.
2. Develop a strategy. Figure out how you will reach your goal. This will include:
*Deciding what kinds of people and groups to connect with
*Figuring out which platforms are best for your goal (you don’t have to be on every single social media site)!
*Creating a list of the types of information you will post at each site
*Thinking about the timing and frequency of posts.
*Considering what tools you will use (like Buffer) that can help you post more efficiently.
*Deciding how and how often you will evaluate the effectiveness of your posts.
3. Make two lists: what you need to do to get started (setting up your Twitter profile, creating a Facebook page, and so forth) and what you will need to do on a weekly basis.
4. Schedule. I am a strong believer in scheduling tasks into daily or weekly time slots. I would encourage you to follow the advice of my online colleagues and out your social media time into your calendar. I now have a plan for using Twitter and Facebook and devote a specific amount of time each day to it.
Here’s the thing, writers: social media is not going away. Businesses now have plans and budgets for using social media to understand their market, monitor their brand, and share new products. As a professional writer, you are an independent business professional, and social media can help you research your writing ideas, find sources, test market your work, and build that platform that publishing professionals talk so much about. So—no more whining! Write and then get connected online. As Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work!”
Your turn: How do you juggle writing and social media?