By Norma Gail
Any writer who handles the majority of their own social media is frustrated. Facebook was fun when it was just family and friends. Now that it’s a necessary part of my platform as a writer, I’ve developed an intense dislike for it. I can’t take the sting out of hours spent on social media instead of writing. However, my husband helped me make it less time-intensive.
The key to not allowing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest to control your life is to make through careful planning and choosing the right tools. I’m no techy, but with a little coaching, I learned to limit my time planning and scheduling to a few hours a week.
First, decide what you need to say. What is your brand, tag line, the key message of your writing and what platforms are the most productive for promoting it? Once you’ve decided that, eliminate anything that isn’t productive for you.
Second, consider using a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite. It can save hours to plan your social media ahead of time. If you go on vacation, get sick, or have an emergency, the basics carry on without you.
Third, keep a running list of Tweets and Facebook posts that you can use multiple times. By changing links and dates, book posts it’s possible to reuse them, if you brainstorm a list and don’t repeat the same one too often.
My engineer husband helped me create an Excel spreadsheet with pages for different types of posts. I have separate pages for devotional posts, guest blogs, and book posts, including a shortened link and hashtags. If you don’t want hashtags, don’t copy and paste them into Hootsuite. You use a Word document for your list; however, I find it easier to organize them in one place using Excel.
Fourth, when you create a blog post, create your social media posts and graphics or memes at the same time. Plug the posts into your spreadsheet, and then paste into Hootsuite. Save the memes in a special file. Set the time and day you want to post it, attach your meme, and hit “schedule.”
Fifth, keep a list of hashtags for your book, and other blog posts so you can add the appropriate one for the occasion or audience you’re trying to reach. Change them around frequently to catch different audiences.
Here’s an example from my devotional page in Excel:
|Decisions to choose our own way will separate us from God http://ow.ly/QhG230bkrWK #wisdom #choices #life|
|How can we stay safe in a dangerous world? http://ow.ly/E8sE30bDtEp #devotional #security #danger|
|“God is a loving parent providing security and direction for his children” http://ow.ly/E8sE30bDtEp #devo #hope #security|
|Remember the mothers whose arms are empty http://wp.me/p52MwA-23V #suffering #MothersDay #healing|
|Motherhood is a blessed duty, but it often involves pain. http://ow.ly/tJw430bHYUA #MothersDay #love #pain|
In a few hours a week, I can schedule ahead for as long as I have blog posts prepared.
Experiment. Figure how much time you need and plan it into your week. Social media may never be your favorite thing, but it can be less frustrating and allow more time for writing, family, and the necessities of life.
Norma Gail is the author of the contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, winner of the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Norma lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years.
© Copyright Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, June 28, 2017