It’s a constant battle – you know you should be active on social media, but you also need time to write and edit your novels. Agents and editors tell you that having an online presence will increase your chances of signing a contract, but how can you polish your manuscript when you’re stuck on Facebook?
It can be done. You just need to learn how to best manage your time and resources to make the most out of every word written (whether in your novel or on Twitter). I manage two blogs, two Facebook business pages, a Twitter account, and a LinkedIn account. I also run my copywriting business, teach writing and editing classes, send weekly newsletters, and write novels while taking a couple of days off a week to spend time with family and friends. Here’s how I fit social media (and blogging) into my already-full life.
- Plan ahead. It all starts with my blogs (which feed my social media posts). I keep this blog and my business blog. I have each week’s topic planned six months out, and I write my blog posts once a month, then schedule them to post on certain days. This does two things:
- It saves the hassle of trying to come up with topics each week.
- It devotes one day a month to blogging (instead of one day for each post).
- Limit your social media accounts. You can’t be all things to all people, that includes online. You’re better off using one social media outlet well than having six accounts that are rarely or poorly used. If you love Pinterest, start a Pinterest account. It’ll be easier for you to check and maintain.
- Use a scheduling program. Hootsuite and Buffer are two examples of sites that let you schedule multiple social media accounts from one location. Instead of logging in to each of your accounts, you can link them all to one place, where you can write and schedule everything for the day/week/month. (Most of these sites offer 2-3 free links before you need to pay.)
- Schedule your social media ahead of time. I schedule my social media posts on Sundays and Wednesdays. I spend an hour or two reading articles, responding to comments, and scheduling my posts for the next few days. By scheduling twice a week, I’m not posting news that’s too old.
- Cross post. I always share links to my blog posts on social media. At other times I’ll take quotes from my posts and just share those. If it gets a good response on Twitter on Monday, I’ll share it on Facebook on Thursday. If I really like someone else’s article, I’ll post it to multiple accounts throughout the week (just not on the same day at the same time). You don’t need to create 100% unique content for each social media account every day of the week – if it’s worth sharing with one audience, it might work for another.
- Limit your social media time. You want to be social on social media, but you don’t want to fall into the time suck vortex. Don’t just open your Twitter account and hope for the best. Be intentional with your time – give yourself 15 minutes every night to see what happened and respond, then log off (set a timer if you have to!).
The more of these tips that you apply, the more time you’ll start shaving off your social media budget. Then you can write more (which your agent will appreciate!).
Do you have any other time-saving tips for social media?