Don’t Panic – Organize Your Social Media

faa5f97408f1443303a82fdae677baebThis post was originally written for authors in mind, but can be applied to any individual, small business, or organization that uses social media, particularly for marketing purposes.

If you’d like help getting started on social media idea lists or on your social media calendar, Authors On A Dime can help. Check out our services related to social media management. The first month of calendar management is FREE!

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Technology has made the world of the author into something very different from what it once was. Not only do we have the ability to self-publish and reach a mass audience through eBooks, but marketing has changed with the advent of social media.

The level and frequency at which an author uses these tools is entirely personal preference. You’ll find scads of articles both for and against large use of social media as a marketing tool for authors. Whether you use it a little or a lot, getting organized now will help you stay on top of what can easily become overwhelming.

Tips-Organized.fwGetting organized for your social media has several benefits, including:

  • making it less overwhelming
  • ensuring consistent usage
  • ensuring varied types of posts and higher level of interest for followers
  • spreading usage/types out evenly each month
  • pre-planning for important events (releases, book cover reveals, etc.)
  • tracking ideas

Our example uses OneNote to help organize my social media in a very basic (and therefore easy to use and easy to keep up with) way. However, you can use any document or note-taking method (spreadsheet, word doc, write it down, whatever works for you).

For social media, keeping organized requires two steps:

  1. keep track of ideas
  2. schedule a month at a time.

Let’s look at both.

Social Media Idea Lists

Tonenote-socialmediaideashis is as easy as keeping a bulleted list. Pay attention to what you see other authors do (or anyone using social media for marketing) and add to your list. Particularly if you found their method engaging or effective.

  1. In OneNote, create a “Social Media” Notebook
  2. Create a Section (tab at the top) called “Social Media Ideas”
  3. Create a Page (tabs down the right side) for each type of social media (Ex. Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter, etc.)
  4. On each ideas page
    1. Click the “bulleted list” icon in the top
    2. Start typing
    3. Hit the enter key to add another bullet
    4. Hit enter twice to stop the list and add a new section
  5. Any time you see something another author does that you found effective at drawing you in, add it to your list of ideas.

 

Monthly Social Media Schedule

ON-SMCalendarAt the end of each month create a social media schedule for the upcoming month. The easiest method we’ve found for this is a table. If you’re not a OneNote fan, a spreadsheet is a fantastic way to track this

  1. Create a table with the following columns
    • Date
    • Day of Week
    • Events
    • Blog
    • Facebook/Twitter
  2. Create a row for each day of the month
  3. Fill out your event schedule first
    • dates for releases
    • dates for giveaways  – start and end
    • other big promotional/writing/publishing moments
    • events
    • author spotlights
    • holidays
    • big personal life moments (even if you won’t be sharing on social media, just so you schedule around them)
  4. Fill out your blog schedule (how often you blog is up to you)
    • Use your events list to determine key blog post timing.
    • Fill in the rest of the blog dates with ideas from your Social Media Ideas page.
    • Make sure to spread out the type of blog posts you do. Example:
      • Promotional posts
      • Announcements
      • Posts about your craft
      • Tips for other authors
      • Progress on your current WIPs
      • Etc.
  5. Fill out Facebook/Twitter schedule
    • Blog posts and event announcements get copied over because you’ll want to announce those on all your social media.
    • Fill in the rest of the days with ideas from your Social Media Ideas page.
    • Feel free to leave blank spaces – just remember to do something that day.
    • When executing, feel free to NOT do what’s on your schedule if what’s happening in your life/writing gives you something else to post.
    • You are NOT writing the full posts here, just jotting down ideas of what type of post you’ll do

Ta-da! You have a social media schedule. Now, on any given day, you don’t have to necessarily come up with what to post from scratch. You are also less likely to have one of those moments where you realize you haven’t blogged in six weeks, or you forgot to post an important announcement on Twitter.

A Few More Tips:

Cross Off Completed & Fill In

As you complete days/posts, cross it off. You can do this by doing a strike through text, or check marks, or changing text to a different color. This will help you track what you’ve done. Also, any posts you don’t do…that idea can be used later.

Also, update the tracker with what you do end up posting. For example, if you had “blog post” as a place holder on one of the dates because you couldn’t come up with an idea, add in the topic you ended up using. This will help you know what topics you shouldn’t cover again immediately.

Frequency & Twitter

Authors On A Dime are not marketing experts. That said, note that social media experts recommend more posts on Twitter daily than on Facebook.

Don’t put every Twitter post on this tracker. You can use an app/software like Hootsuite to schedule your tweets, so that is a schedule by itself. I reference my Social Media Schedule when scheduling those tweets in Hootsuite to make sure I’m including versions of what are going up on my other social media. (You can also schedule Facebook and other social media with those apps.)

Get Ahead

As much as you are able, get a head start on your above calendar by scheduling Facebook and Twitter posts ahead of time. If you can get most of your blog posts written and scheduled, even better (but harder to do because they are much more time-consuming).

A full month of scheduling might be overwhelming. If you find that to be true, do it in weekly chunks. For examples, every Sunday spend an hour scheduling as much of your social media for the week as you can.

Pay attention to when you will be unavailable to post – like when you’re on vacation, and get anything for that time period completed and scheduled ahead of time.

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Social Media and how time-consuming it can be is one of the things we see authors complain about the most. By adding organization to your social media, you can become more efficient and more consistent with your use of these marketing tools.

If you have any questions we’d love to hear them. And if you have a different tool or method, we’d love to hear that as well! We are always looking for ways to become more efficient!

If you’d like help getting started on your idea lists or on your social media calendar, Authors On A Dime can help. Check out our services related to social media management. The first month of calendar management is FREE!

Happy social media scheduling friends!

Workshop: Get Your Writing Life Organized

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Woodwork

When: September 5-30, 2016 (4 weeks)

Delivery Method: Private Yahoo Group

Price: $10/person

Description:

Are you overwhelmed by everything you have to remember as an author? Social media and marketing a constant struggle? Do you have handouts and notes from workshops and never use them but would like to someday? Even your email inbox is crazy? This workshop will give you tried and true methods for staying on top of your email, craft notes, social media, and marketing as an author. We’ll primarily focus on Gmail & Microsoft OneNote as tools to help you get organized (including an overview on how to use OneNote). Materials can easily be translated to other email and note-taking methods.

Social Media Calendar for WritersBonus: These methods and tips can also be helpful in your personal and professional lives aside from writing!

This workshop is delivered as quick-hitting tips & tricks with the help of real-time, practical examples.  Attendees are encouraged to take away 2-10 tips that work with where they are in their business and personal styles. Attendees will be given a handout with all the tips listed in an easy bulleted format. In addition they will be given a link to OneNote templates already set up for authors to help them get started.

The workshop is broken into the following topics:

  • Week 1
    • Email Management
    • OneNote Basics & Getting Started
  • Week 2
    • Social Media Management
      • Ideas Lists
      • Monthly Calendars
      • Social Media Tracking
  • Week 3
    • Note Taking For Later Use
      • Workshops
      • Querying
      • Book Ideas/Book Bible
      • Editing Lists
      • & More
  • Week 4
    • Release Day Planning (Getting Organized)
    • Audience Requested Topics & Additional Q&A

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Praise for This Workshop:

“I want to give you a huge thanks for this course…I haven’t implemented everything yet, of course, but I can certainly see where I want to go with this.” –Win Day

“Thank you so much for doing this! Not only do I appreciate it, but I’ve already cut my inbox down from over 1200 (wow!) to less than 250 and I’ve started my Release Day Planning checklists in OneNote. This was such a great class for me. Thanks again!” –TJ Shaw

“I am so impressed! First off, I didn’t realize until I finally went through your initial OneNote lessons that I could create separate notebooks. I had everything in one giant mess – and you’d shudder to see how disorganized that one notebook is! All my years hassling my youngest about his overflowing messy school binders, and I went and virtually created the same thing. So that tidbit alone has made this a worthy class!” –Melanie Greene

Tame the Email Beast

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If you’re like us, you have at least two or more email addresses. At work alone we receive at least 100 emails daily, most of which require a response very quickly. And that’s just work. Then there’s friends, family, author stuff, websites/blogs we follow, kids’ school and activities, and so forth. It becomes very easy to get buried in email in today’s digital world.

But there are ways to tame the beast! Here are our top 5 tips to keep your email manageable:

 

Action-Required Only

The only emails that should be in your inbox are those still requiring action. Which means you still need to read, reply, do something, or are waiting on someone else. Every other email should be moved to a folder or labels (filed) or deleted. For those of you with 100+ emails in your inbox, I’m talking to you. Make this a personal goal. Several of the next tips will help.

 

2-Minute Rule

Respond to any emails that will take you 2 minutes or less as they come in. This habit gets that email off your plate and out of your inbox. According to efficiency-related research, doing shorter tasks firsts makes you a more efficient person. (BTW… If you don’t interrupt easily, save all the 2-minute emails and answer them in chunks all at once.)

 

15-Minute Daily Clean Up

At the end of your work day, or before you shut down your personal computer at night, take the last 15 minutes to clean out your email inbox. Finish off any remaining 2-minute items. File any emails that you’re finished with. Delete any junk mail. Send “I’ll get back to you by x date/time” responses for those items that you can’t finish.

 

Out-of-Office (OOO) Messages

The out-of-office messaging feature is not just for going on long vacations. If you have customers/clients who expect a fast response to their emails, set OOO messaging if you’ll be away from your computer for longer than 1 hour. Dentist/doctor appointments, late mornings, long meetings with no computer…use OOO messaging.

 

Filing & Foldering

Keep a very simple file/folder method. These days, search capabilities mean you don’t need the complicated folder systems of yore. For example, at work you might have one folder for each quarter. Every single filed email goes in that folder during that time period. At home try to limit yourself to 5-10 folders by topic (no more than 10).  Use search to track down any filed emails when needed. By having very few folders to search, it makes it easier/faster to find them. It also makes it easier/faster to file them.
Tips-Organized.fwNow for the hard part. Take the time to go apply some of these methods. It might take you an hour to get your inbox reorganized if you have to redo your folder system. But once it’s complete, it’s so worth it. And if you can ingrain some of these habits, you’ll feel a lot less stressed because your inbox won’t be chaos!