Are you tired of spending hours on social media promoting your brand, your books?
What if I told you there was a way to give you two-and-a-half years of writing time inside of your already busy schedule?
You see we all struggle with busy schedules, most importantly, finding time to write. Well, guess what?
I have found a way to give myself an extra hour of writing time each and every day. Writing time that I had previously squandered by over exerting myself marketing my brand and my writing.
Social Media has become the independent author’s best friend. It’s how we spread the word on our latest projects, it's how we find new readers, it's how we query for agents, it's the lifeblood of an author platform. This is the focus of every indie, self-published author right out the gate. It also happens to be where most of us stumble and fall hardest.
You spend countless hours crafting tweets, fabulous Facebook posts, and the best #instafire photo and only gain two "valuable" readers after putting in twenty hours into social media that week.
I know what you are thinking...
I know I’ve heard it! But the thing is, you inadvertently do. Most don’t know how much time we are spending on social media because the revolution of the internet has radically changed our world. It is the new norm. We get lost in the scroll, hunting and searching for the quick burst of dopamine that says, “Yes, I have been validated and accepted by my peers!”
For indie authors it is no different. We wait for the next follow, the next share by our friends and family that puts another stone in the stronghold of our author platform. Unfortunately some of us spend far too much time surfing the social media waves for too little return on our investment. In fact recent estimates say that the average social media user will spend over five years of their life on social media.
Check this Infographic by MediaKix
FIVE FLIPPIN' YEARS OF YOUR LIFE! Want it back now?
I Know I DO! So I took it back!
As writers, we know how precious time is. What if we could shrink that time dramatically and pour it back into the thing we truly enjoy doing, Writing? It's the truth, we are writers not because we like to sell books, that is a happy side effect. We are writers because we love to write. So let’s get back to writing, by cutting our social media time in half.
This is a huge problem! It may not feel like it, but if you are serious about finding your audience, enlisting new readers, and growing the sales of your books then need to change the way you approach social media.
I’m talking about Social Media Automation and Management.
If you are serious about scaling your author platform to reach new readers, you are going to have to leverage a new tool kit.
What I have provided below are three of the tools that I have found useful in capturing lost time. Many of you may find some of these familiar, and that is a good start. There are other tools available that you may already use, and it is important to tailor your social media management kit to your primary social media circles.
First Ask Yourself A Couple Questions...
The market is saturated with social media tools, and I recommend you try them all on for size. I began my journey by doing just that. Testing the waters with each platform and getting to know the nuts and bolts.
Your goal is to increase your productivity while on social media so that you can give yourself the time to write. Because if you're not writing, you aren't a writer. You are a marketer. The most successful indie authors know this and have for sometime and this is one of the ways they have taken the leap.
Personally I have already wasted enough time! So I set out to crush...
After I published Nemeton, via Amazon KDP, I decided to spend the next month building my platform on social media and via my website/blog. I began by analyzing where I had the most influence. For most of us this is Facebook, and while Facebook is an incredible tool, I found that I needed to expand my reach by supercharging my other social accounts, namely Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.
I knew that one of the places I needed the most improvement was on Twitter. So I did what any writer would do. I read a book! I went to Amazon and looked up Twitter! I came across, How to Gain 100k Twitter Followers by M Lemont
Holy Hell What a Book!
I read the book in one sitting and picked up a few key strategies that all authors in the world of self-publishing need to know. Particularly about Twitter. The thing was these strategies worked with all the social platforms and they led me to one crucial revelation that I was wasting an incredible amount of time on social media. I needed to refine, tune up, and accelerate my time on social media by a factor of five or greater.
The old tactics I was using weren’t working anymore. My Author page on Facebook was sitting flat with no new likes in two months. My Twitter was stagnant at 400 followers, all of which were related to what I was tweeting about three years prior. My Instagram was focused on my personal life, and I had no clue how I could use it to draw in readers. I had zero clue about how to bring these tools together and practice, what I call Focused Social Targeting.
I wanted to create universal, highly crafted messages that hit all my platforms at the correct time, reaching the most followers, and impacting the highest impressions, and reaching the readers that want to read my work. I wanted to focus my message across all platforms.
I was tired of copy and pasting the same message across platforms. I’m sure you are too! Well then let’s take your two hours of social media time per day and reduce it to one hour or if you get really good, half an hour. The tools below will help you to increase productivity and drastically increase the size of the net you cast in social media.
They helped me achieve the following in ONE MONTH
Crowdfire is not as well known as TweetDeck, Buffer, or Hootsuite, but it damn well should be. This little master key is versatile as hell. With Crowdfire you can link your Twitter, Facebook Page, Instagram Profile, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Word Press Blog, Shopify, Etsy Shop, your Blogger Blog, Vimeo, Twitch, and more into one central hub. Why would you want to do this? Check the infographic. If you minimize the amount of time you spend posting on social media that frees up more time to write. Crowdfire like the other social media tools does come with a price tag of $9.99, but it is all worth it.
So let’s talk about three of the coolest features on the Crowdfire App.
Perhaps one of the coolest features of the Crowdfire App is their Curated Content Stream. Once you have plugged in the relevant information and gotten up and running the Crowdfire App will suggest a stream of current posts that you can share with your followers. This kind of content is tailored to you by your social circles. It is broad containing a number of topics but can be used most effectively to promote topics that are in your wheelhouse. I use it to promote blogs about writing, tips, etc.
Twitter and Instagram Follower Management
This feature allows you to boost your Twitter and Instagram following by keeping track of your Followers to Following Count. The rules of Twitter and Instagram are fairly simple, yet most can’t seem to get a grip on it. Rule #Follow those who Follow you, Unfollow those who don’t follow back! As M Lemont would say, “Stop making stupid people famous.” Crowdfire allows you to see who is following you, who isn’t, who is inactive and not serving to grow your following, and who is tweeting or posting about the same topics. The trick is to keep your follower to following count stable, ideally 1 to 1. If you achieve this and you actively post, engage, and grow your audience by following you will be amazed at how incredibly your social influence on Twitter and Instagram grow. I went from 400 Twitter Followers on December 12th to 5,000 Twitter Followers on January 12th, spending just 15 minutes a day managing my followers on Crowdfire.
Targeted Follower Search Parameters
The depth of this app is incredible. You can target the followers of other Twitter accounts with precision accuracy. For instance as a writer I have longed to gain the impressions of readers and followers of writers who are best selling in my targeted genres. Rather than going to their profile and following all of their followers, Crowdfire allows me to pool accounts with followers that I want. In the Competitors’ Followers Tab you can input accounts that you want to “mimic”. This gives you direct access to the people that could be your potential readers. I try to follow at least fifty of these people a day to grow my following. As you can see with the numbers I stated above, it has been hugely successful. This methodology has increased the visibility of my first published novel tenfold.
A Wicked RSS Feature
One more feature that I love about this app is the fact that I can link my Blog’s RSS to Crowdfire and share my posts at the click of a button. One of the hardest things about growing your author platform and your readership is sharing YOUR content. Crowdfire collects all of my content on my blog, my YouTube, and other social accounts into one place. This way my evergreen content is always on hand to share and draw in the latest followers that have clicked the magic blue button labeled follow.
Daily Engagement Feature
This feature is what makes Crowdfire killer. Ever wish you had a social media assistant? Well now you do! Each day Crowdfire pulls together a list of actions related to your accounts. It will suggest you follow a certain number, unfollow a certain number, engage a certain number, and so on. This powerful feature keeps you honest, keeps you engaged, and keeps your social media circles growing steadily.
Hootsuite is all about consistency! Hootsuite is more well known than Crowdfire, but it is not more powerful. In my very limited opinion it is wholly different, and when you use it in conjunction with CrowdFire, look out! This tool allows you to focus your content and blast it to all your accounts with startling results.
The new feature of Composer is ridiculously powerful. This feature allows you to craft messages that will hit all of your networks, and what’s more important, they allow you to see just how the post will look on each network. This is HUGE! Everyone knows that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have different parameters per post. If you post something for Twitter, it may look terrible on Facebook, but with Hootsuite’s Composer Beta you can fix that. It is this reason why I use Hootsuite to compose all of my targeted tweets.
I will generally queue up ten to twenty posts per day which reach all of my networks. After I use Crowdfire’s features, which take 15 min, I craft ten or twenty posts and slide them into the auto schedule so they hit the networks when the most eyeballs are looking. This also frees the rest of my day up to write! Yup that is the key!
Hootsuite does cost per month, and they have a range of plans which you can subscribe too. If you want to discover its power, I suggest taking a 30 day Free Trial.
Funnel Your Content to All Platforms
As I stated above, Hootsuite allows me to craft one message and send it to all my networks to increase the social reach of my content. Instead of posting it across ten social networks, eating up my time, I can do it once.
One of the best features on Hootsuite is the Analytics tab. It allows me to see how my posts are performing. This way I can track what posts are functioning and which are broken. It also keeps my arrow pointing in the right direction, upward, towards growth.
Auto Schedule Content
I will often schedule content days in advance. If I put in 30 minutes of work on Hootsuite that will usually net me two to three days of content posted across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and whatever platforms I want. This is massive in freeing up time.
Overall Hootsuite is a hugely important application in building a consistent stream of content for your readers to consume.
Be Known for What You Love! Klout is all about metrics and analytics. Originally designed as a way to indicate how influential you are within your social media networks, Klout has blossomed into more than a shadowy number. When it first launched in August 2008 the application only provided you with a vague number from 0 to 100, which was not very helpful. Now Klout not only measures and tracks your influence, but helps you by providing you another stream of curated content alongside its fascinating metrics. Now I appreciate that not all writers will be as interested as I am in social media metrics. But let me tell you why this app is crucial to building your author platform.
Klout is crucial in tracking your success. When used in combination with Hootsuite and Crowdfire, it is the key validation that your Social Media Strategy is working.
Curated Content: Increase Your Social Street Cred
In a previous post I talked about Impostor Syndrome and how writers are particularly vulnerable to feeling phony. Well Klout’s stream of curated content not only helps improve your street cred by giving you a cool number that says you are performing better than your peers, but it also gives you direct access to content in your spheres of influence. For instance I want to be known for my knowledge on the topics of writing, fantasy fiction, mindfulness, eBooks, Amazon, etc. With Klout I have been able to prove that the content being sent to my readers/followers is the top content on the web. This serves to fortify my practice as a whole.
Klout Score: Measure What You Are Known For
The second piece is the validation that Klout provides and guides you to achieve. Say you want to be an expert in a certain topic, well it starts with actually knowing the topic. Second, use Klout to funnel good content into your stream. Not just anything, be choosy, make sure that what you share furthers your goal to be known as an expert on the topic.
Track Your Influence over the last 90 days
The metrics are not super deep, at least what we get, I’m sure Klout has much more data than they show outwardly. What you can see is a broad picture of how your social media strategy is panning out. Are you curious to see how you are performing? I have been holding at a 63 to 64 for the past few weeks, which puts me in the top 5% of social media users in my topics. If that isn’t worth something to you, I don’t know what is. I got there by making sure my content was well vetted and helpful to others.
WHAT ABOUT BUFFER, TWEET DECK, MEET EDGAR...
In the end it is all a matter of preference. Each of the tools available on the market has its particular value. What matters most is to first figure what your overall marketing strategy is. My advice as always is to get dirty. Get into the apps and play with them. Run tests, see what works, and fail plenty. The only way to improve is to fail and learn from the failure. Though I am pretty sure you will struggle to fail with the tools mentioned above. If you follow their prompts and make sure to spend half an hour a day adding content to your stream, there is no way you won’t find some modicum of success. As with writing, you get back what you put in.
Now get out there and make yourself a Social Media Star!
Christopher Lee is the indie author of Nemeton, an avid history buff, mythologist, bardic poet, and keeper of the old ways.