I am thrilled to bring today’s guest post from author, blogger and all-around fabulous person, Lissa Bryan.
The Social Media Balancing Act
By Lissa Bryan
One of the things that surprised me once I became an author is how little time I’d have to devote to writing with all of the promotion and social media tasks I needed to do. I started out feeling overwhelmed by it all, but now I look back on that time and laugh because then I had only a little blog and a Facebook page. Today, I have a Facebook profile, plus a page for each of my books, a blog, Pinterest, Twitter, WordPress site, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn, plus various book sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing. Then, there are also authors/writers sites of which I am a member. And the list keeps growing.
Every time a new social media outlet pops up, I see recommendations that authors should take advantage of its features and potential reach. Should I join Instagram? Try to promote my book in a Vine video? Start posting on my semi-abandoned LiveJournal? What about Ask.FM? I have to try to estimate the time investment versus the potential impact. Is the site’s primary audience the demographic buying my type of book? If not, it doesn’t mean I should ignore the site entirely, but perhaps I should see about having a friend who’s already a member post something for me, rather than starting my own account.
As you can imagine, it’s a lot of work to keep all of these sites active and engage with my audience. Being an introvert doesn’t really help matters, either, since being social doesn’t come naturally. During heavy promotional events, I sometimes feel like I’m stealing time to work on my manuscript between stops at all of my sites. Most of the time, though, it’s manageable, and I’ve found ways to reduce the workload while expanding my reach.
The first, and most important, is linking your accounts. I’ve set it up so that if I post on Facebook, the content is posted on my Twitter. Likewise, anything that goes on my blog, WordPress, or Tumblr is automatically posted to my Facebook profile and book pages. My blog posts go out automatically to my Google+, Goodreads, Twitter, and LinkedIn page. My Pinterest and YouTube activity get posted on my Facebook profile wall. It sounds confusing, but it’s really quite simplifying to have it all cross-linked. It ensures that almost all of my social media accounts get regular updates.
My first question when my publisher suggested I start a blog and Twitter was, “What am I going to post on it?” Frankly, I’m boring. I mean, really boring. I don’t want to talk about my personal life, and even if I did, it would likely be along the lines of, “I ate toast today. Here’s a picture of my socks.” Instead of boring my readers to death, I decided to find interesting content posted by others and share it. That’s what I did on my fledgling Facebook account, following a ton of other writers and book sites, so I could repost the stuff I found interesting. Today, my blog hosts articles about other writers, books, and writing– things I think my readers will enjoy.
The second helpful thing I’ve discovered is Triberr. Triberr is essentially a sharing network for blog posts. Every morning, I sign on and approve up to 100 posts to go out to my Twitter account (and thus to my Facebook). You don’t have to share that many, but the point of Triberr is reciprocity. I share posts which I think will interest my audience and then, when I post on my blog, they share it via their social media outlets. If every person in my Triberr network shared my post, it would have a reach of over seven million people. Now, in reality, I don’t get that many shares. But I usually get a couple of hundred, which reaches thousands of people outside of my own social media network, people who would have never seen my posts otherwise. I’ve gotten a large number of new Twitter followers out of that network.
To manage all of these social media tasks, I have a routine, which developed out of a lot of clumsy trial and error. After checking my books sites, I check Twitter for any Tweets I’ve been sent or mentioned in and write replies. My Facebook accounts are set up to send a message to my cell phone if I get a PM or someone posts on my wall. (The latter is a necessity. I’m pretty liberal with accepting friend requests, and though it hasn’t happened to me, other friends have had unfortunate incidents where inappropriate things or spam was posted on their page and remained there until they logged in again.) If you don’t want to get a text, you can set it up to send you an e-mail. I approve my Triberr posts in about ten minutes, which gives my Facebook and Twitter a full day’s worth of content. About twice a week, I pop on Tumblr and Pinterest and search for tags that interest me. Within a couple of minutes, I have some new content posted to them. My Youtube doesn’t change much because I don’t have it set up to show everything that I “like.” (Seriously, people look at you funny if you “like” a video of Vivaldi played on a kazoo.) But that’s another area more adventurous/dedicated writers could explore, sharing content they like with their followers.
Lastly, but certainly not least, your fellow writers are your greatest resource for promotion. Never see them as your competitors. They are your co-workers, your allies, and your best supporters. All of us are sisters and brothers of ink. Help your fellow authors when you can by hosting them on your blog, and shouting out their books on your social media accounts. They’ll return the favor by introducing you to their readers. And that’s the best kind of social media marketing there is.
About the Author
Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.
Her first novel, Ghostwriter, is available through Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. Her second novel, The End of All Things, was released on January 24, 2013, and is available through Amazon, and iTunes. She also has a short story in the Romantic Interludes anthology, available from Amazon and iTunes. Her third novel, Under These Restless Skies, a novel about the court of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, is scheduled for release in spring of 2014. Her fourth novel, the sequel to The End of All Things, due for release late in the summer of 2014.