I know, I know, you don’t like to plan. However to reach a goal, you need to first set your goal. Common sense, yes, but few people focus on the finer points necessary to reach their goals. Being vague will get you nowhere. Writers have the additional challenge of needing to reserve their creative juice and sharp brain time. Learning what you need to do will help you be comfortable with what needs to be done, from here you’ll be able to plan your social media to work in your schedule as well as be more efficient and successful.
Social media may appear from the outside to be random acts of tweeting and posts but the smart people, and this will be you, know what their goals are on the outset. For others, social media maybe a half-hazard melange of noise and if you look at the people who are making a name for themselves with social media, they have a plan and work hard to provide value in a steady of consistent manner.
- Why do I want to use social media?
Examples: to sell books, to connect with readers, or start to build a name for yourself.
- What do I want to accomplish?
Examples: gain followers, create a niche following for my books, or build an author platform.
- How long do you have to spend each day on social media?
Example: 15 minutes in the morning and evening, one hour total per day. You’ll need to make a commitment to your social media every day once you get started. Two smaller chunks are better than one larger one so you can check on comments and activity.
(Why + what) x time = formula for your social media
The process of creating this formula should take some time and soul-searching with a realist edge on the final outcome especially with the amount of time that you have to spend on your social media. It can easily turn into a time suck and waste precious time that could be spent on the productive tasks, not to say that your social media will not be productive but let’s just say that some people spend a bit too long watching kitten videos and being entertained on the internet. Your social media plan will not include time to goof off, you can do that later once you’ve completed your tasks. Mixing the two is a slippery slope like alcohol at an office party. It’s all fun and games until you realize that you haven’t accomplished anything.
Once you have boiled down your ideas into goals, it’s time to start thinking about how you can achieve them. Each different social platform offers a way to connect with others and share your ideas but choosing the right one or ones to meet your goals is important. These are brief introductions to the major social platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. I picked these as the big five based on the amount of users that they have as well as how much traffic they refer to blogs and websites.
You’ll pick one social media platform to start with so you won’t become overloaded with too many things to learn and balance at once.
Google+ is a social network on steroids. Google integrated all their properties into one super useable platform with YouTube and Gmail tie-ins, these social layers integrate with your Google+ calendar making it efficient and easy to use. Of course, since it is Google, using Google+ helps boost your Google search rankings. Guy Kawasaki, one of Google+’s earliest fans wrote What the Plus! to help explain how Google+ works, you can get a .pdf version of it free here. It’s easy to load the .pdf to your Kindle.
Reasons to use Google+
- Very easy to meet relevant people.
- Boost in your SEO with social search.
- Google+ communities are the ultimate in social connections: focused, smart, and easy to use.
- Google+ hangouts allow a deeper connection with the benefit of having live events that are recorded and uploaded automatically to YouTube.
Additional reading: 7 Point Checklist to Dominate Your Personal Brand Using Google+
Reasons not to use Google+
- You already have a well established Facebook PAGE (not personal profile).
Twitter is a fast, short conversation told in 140 characters called tweets. This is not the most personal network but used properly, you can connect with people. Twitter takes a bit of time to learn the basics of mentions and hashtags but it’s not overly complicated.
Reasons to use Twitter
- It’s fast and fun.
- It’s becoming more mainstream with #hashtags being mentioned on television shows and sport events.
Additional reading: How to Twitter
Reasons not to use Twitter
- It can be harder to connect with people.
- Limitations in the character count can be a challenge.
Facebook is a social network that most people are already using but if you want to promote a book or product, you’ll need to start a Facebook page as it’s a violation of Facebook’s terms of service to sell from a personal profile. Sure, you follow people who do it but if you want to be taken seriously a page is the way to go and if you’re building an author platform you’ll need to properly follow the Terms of Service (TOS) for every platform you use. Why would you build a faulty foundation? Make wise choices from day one.
Reasons to use Facebook
- You’re familiar with the platform so it’s easy to get started.
- You may already know people there.
Additional reading: 10 Point Checklist for your Facebook Page
Reasons not to use Facebook
- You want to reach new people, not your friends and family.
- It’s hard to meet new people.
LinkedIn is the professional network. This can be used to showcase your experience and build some street cred for yourself. Networking is easy here since it’s the main reason that people are there.
Reasons to use LinkedIn
- Reach executives and professionals.
- Updates are easy.
- LinkedIn groups have focused conversations.
Additional reading: 12 Most Little Known Tricks to Use on LinkedIn
Reasons not to use LinkedIn
- Hard to connect beyond the initial connections.
- Your focus isn’t on professional connections.
Pinterest is a “tool for collecting and organizing things that you love.” I wouldn’t recommend that this be your primary platform but it’s a wonderful partner to any of the other main four social platforms that I’ve discussed.
Reasons to use Pinterest
- You don’t have to create new content for Pinterest, you can add your blog content, add from other web sources or repin existing content on your boards.
- Pinterest takes less time than the other high traffic referrers, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, but can bring awareness and traffic to your writing.
- Your Pinterest boards can show more of your personality and that’s exactly what people want: a connection with you.
Additional reading: 12 Most Successful Ways for Writers to Win with Pinterest
Reasons not to use Pinterest
- Ummm….at a loss here. Maybe not enough time? But like jello, there’s always room for Pinterest.
This gives you a lot to think about. I’m recommending that you pick one foundation social media account from these:
- Google+ personal profile
- Facebook page (not your personal profile)
Add Pinterest as your secondary social media site since it’s great for SEO and keeping your content organized and more visible.
The combination that I feel can really be a powerhouse together is Google+ and Pinterest. Read more about this in How Google+ and Pinterest Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly.
Ultimately, there is a place for each of these social media networks in your author platform but to get started pick one and focus on it. Trying to do too much on social media can become a burden and then it will become ineffective.
What questions do you have about creating your social media plan? Let me know in the comments below.
Next week I’ll be sharing information on how to use social media tools to get everything done. You can find the other articles in my Social Media for Writers series here.