Got to Tweet, be witty in Facebook, comment every friend’s blog, rule Pinterest, post all my read books to Goodreads (not to mention read those books), figure out Triberr and then there’s G+ and LinkedIn…
Feeling overwhelmed already?
Me too. There are so many things we “need” to do to connect with people.
You have to accept that you can’t do everything. The first step to overcoming anxiety is to set some boundaries.
Here are six tips to tame social media and make it a less stressful tool.
1. Focus on Just Few Social Media and Ace Them
You don’t have to be everywhere. In fact, if you try, you will put only half-assed effort in them all.
Go where your audience is and what you enjoy using. For example, I feel uncomfortable at cocktail parties and hence on Twitter but go gaga over Pinterest.
Choose one, two or three social media and stick with them.
Your chosen social medias could be blog commenting, a forum for your writing genre and Goodreads. Or Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Pick the social medias that suit you and your goals.
2. Acing Doesn’t Mean 24/7 Presence
Acing means providing extraordinary content. Be honest, if you Tweet or post to Facebook ten times a day, how many of those messages rock the readers’ world?
Less is more when it’s good stuff.
Social media guru Kristen Lamb recommends the following formula:
- 1/3 of your messages should be conversation
- 1/3 promote someone else
- 1/3 share information or entertain (this can be links to your blog posts, books and so on).
If you’re doing things right, your friends do the promoting for you by sharing and ReTweeting your posts.
Another guru, Chris Brogan, says in his book Trust Agents that the self-promotion ratio should be very low. For every self-promotion message, you should promote 12 others.
All in all, 3 messages a day can be all you need to put out when you provide great content (like fun stuff or new knowledge) to your followers.
3. Put Relationships First
Which is more valuable, ten casual acquaintances or one friend?
Quality beats quantity and reduces social media stress. Chatting with friends is much more fun than trying to forge new connections all the time.
You should get to know new people too but do it slowly and in a natural way.
For example, choose a friend of a friend, or someone whose blog you are following, or who is interested in same things than you.
4. 15 Minutes a Day Is Enough…
… when you know what you are doing. Focus your efforts on just few social media.
If you want, you can break that 15 minutes total into three 5 minutes phases. 5 minutes is enough to put one or two messages to your chosen social media. Or you can use your whole social media time in one lump.
What ever your allocated time, use an egg timer to make sure you don’t dally.
Your social media minutes are used effectively when you know beforehand what you will post. Like: “Jenny Hansen’s Underwear posts always crack me up. I will check out her blog and link to her newest.”
Don’t automate these posts. Be present and see if there’s an opportunity for conversation.
5. Have a Cunning Plan
Dedicate at least an hour a week to planning out what messages you put out next week. You can go crazy detailed with Excel or write it down to a piece of paper.
Your plan could look like this:
Monday: Share someone else’s funny picture in Facebook – Chat in Twitter for 5 minutes – ReTweet one good link you come across in Twitter – Tweet a link to your new blog post – Post blog link to WANA group in Facebook and to your Facebook stream
Tuesday: Follow back a few people on Twitter who followed you if they seem like your target audience and start a conversation with them (or follow one new Tweep and start convo) – Comment one or two blogs – Post a funny picture to Twitter from funpictures.com (not a real site) – Post a new update to Facebook and quickly comment few friends’ updates
Wednesday: Share someone else’s funny picture in Facebook – Chat in Twitter for 5 minutes – Choose one person to pimp for #WW (Writer Wednesday) – Tweet a link to your new blog post – Post blog link to WANA group in Facebook and to your Facebook stream
Thursday: Follow back a few people on Twitter who followed you if they seem like your target audience and start a conversation with them (or follow one new Tweep and start convo) – Update books you have read during the past week to Goodreads – Comment one or two blogs – Post a new update to Facebook and quickly comment few friends’ updates
Friday: Share someone else’s funny picture in Facebook – Chat in Twitter for 5 minutes – ReTweet one good link you come across – Tweet a link to your new blog post – Post blog link to WANA group in Facebook and to your Facebook stream
Saturday: Fun day. You can do what ever strikes your fancy.
Sunday: Planning day. No hanging out at social media unless you have extra time besides the 15 mins.
And don’t forget goofing around and just plain having fun. Screw the plan if things get stale. Plans can be changed if they don’t work.
6. Track Your Social Media Results
You know what results you want to achieve in the social media, right?
It can be creating close bonds with your followers, directing readers to your blog post, or listening and learning to understand your audience better. Or all of those and something else.
If you don’t know why you use social media, it will be a stressful experience. You’re stumbling in the dark and are at the mercy of the tactic of the week. Without a direction you can’t work toward any real goals.
Find a way to measure your results that works for you. Measuring helps you to tweak and adjust your plans.
Example of metrics: For promoting your blog, the best measurement is how many people visit your blog by clicking a link in a social media. Google Analytics is one of the best tools for this. It’s simple and free. (Click the link to learn more)
So, those were the six tips.
To recap, the most important things are: be social in your own way, and plan ahead.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by social media? Do you have tricks or advice that has helped you to cope better with it?
In last week’s comments I asked you to tell me what you are currently struggling with. Rhonda Hopkins was looking for the right balance to keep up with writing, blogging and social media.
Thanks for the comment, Rhonda. This week there is a whole category dedicated to time management and productivity, and some other relevant links.
Also, this Friday I’m blogging about social media and what you can do with it in just 15 minutes a day.
Another commenter, Coleen Patrick, was stuck with her story which lead her to feel disinterested. I really feel for you so I scavenged a few links to help you out, Coleen. And then there is the usual fare. Enjoy everyone!
If You Have Time For Only One Thing
Book Marketing Freebies by Duolit
– Get Your Mind Right: The 4 Rules of Successful Book Marketers (PDF)
– Market Your Book (Without Losing All Your Writing Time) (PDF)
– Who is My Target Market? (PDF)
– Find Your Best Reader Hangouts (PDF) [This is a must see]
Ask a Writer: How Do I Write What the Audience Wants to Read? by Chuck Wendig
How Debut Novels Need To Be Different by Nicola Morgan
“You Just Need To Get Started” Is a Bad Idea by Cal Newport
5 Ways To Write the Right Kind of a Book For You by Karen Woodward
Character Values by Liz Fredericks
People In Your Memoir Are Characters Too by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett (these tips work for fiction writers too)
Writing Realistic Love Relationships by Carolyn Kaufman
Showing Emotions: Boys vs. Girls by Susan Kaye Quinn
What Star Wars “New Hope” Can Teach Us About In Medias Res by Kristen Lamb
Scenes and Sequels by Lisa Hall-Wilson
Find Your Voice, Find Your Power by Robin LaFevers
Killing the Scared Cows of Publishing: Rewriting by Dean Wesley Smith
Reignite Your Passion For Writing: Interview With Julie Isaacs by Nancy Christie
4 Ways To Hack Into Your Mind and Become Infinately More Creative by Ollin Morales
Got Writer’s Block? You Just Need To Care Less by Lori Devoti
10 Steps To Deconstructing a Novel: How To Learn From Great Authors by Kathy Steffen
Heinlein’s Rules On Writing by Robert J. Sawyer
Writing Prompts: Start With a Setting by Kathy Steffen
6 Laws For Becoming a Career Author by Shannon from Duolit
Build a Budget For Success by Lisa Jacobs
Comparable Titles by Janet Reid
Productivity & Time Management
The Writer’s Golden Hour: Making the Most of Our Time by August McLaughlin
Triage Your Priorities by Steve Pavlina
How To Prioritize by Steve Pavlina
The 50-30-20 Rule by Steve Pavlina
Microtasks by Steve Pavlina
33 Rules To Boost Your Productivity by Steve Pavlina
How To Create a Personal Productivity Scaffold by Steve Pavlina
Why “I Don’t Have Time” Is a Big Fat Lie by Steve Kamb
Always Dominate Mondays by Steve Kamb
How To Become a Productivity Ninja by Steve Kamb
My 2012 Plan To Stay Out of Busy-ness & In Creation by Abby Kerr (really helpful day by day schedule)
Efficient Email by Steven Pavlina
Your Author Platform
Discover Your Core Values and Use Them To Anchor Your Brand Story (every book has a theme, a deeper meaning and message, and so should your brand and blog)
The Value of People by Erika Napoletano
7 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working by Cory Huff
Is Your Marketing a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? by Jay Baer
DIY Book Marketing: 4 Things Authors Must Do Themselves by Stephanie Barko
How To Get Your Book Reviewed: A Practical Lesson by Catherine Ryan Howard
How To Build an Email List, Starting From Nothing by Jon Morrow (6:32 min video)
5 Things To Ponder Before You Self-Publish by Karen Woodward
What Is a Book Publicist by Stephanie Barko
What Offer Does Your Author Blog Make? by Joel Friedlander
Are You Writing Your Writing? by Abby Kerr
5 Steps To Make Your Blog Difficult To Ignore by Yeremi Akpan
How To Manipulate People For Fun (and Profit) by Derek Halpern
10 Ways To Optimize Your Blog Subscriptions by Christine Brady
17 Crazy Places To Get Jaw Dropping Headline Ideas (Pushing Social)
How To Add Impact To Your Story-Based Articles by Sean D’Souza
How To Interview Anyone: 5 Lessons From Amazing Interviewers by Rohit Bhargava
Guest Posting Genius by Annabel Candy
How To Live Blog (or Twitter) an Event Effectively by Rohit Bhargava
Why I Don’t Have a Blog Roll And Why You Shouldn’t Either by Yeremi Akpan
5 Ways To Re-Enter Your Blog When You’ve Been MIA by Abby Kerr
Long Term Goals for Social Networking by Adam Justice
Social Networking: What Are You Getting From It As a Writer? by Cindy R. Wilson
How To Not Get Overwhelmed by Social Media Marketing by Matt Southern
Should You Preschedule Tweets? by Meghan Ward
Social Media Is a Process by Vered de Leuuw
Twitter Is a Pub by E.J. Newman
Why 150 Followers Is All You Really Need by Srinivas Rao
Promoting Your Blog With Twitter (Pushing Social)
30-Day Facebook Fast (and the lessons learned) by Steve Pavlina
Blog Treasures by Gene Lempp
Twitterific by Elizabeth S. Craig
Friday Features by Yesenia Vargas
Fill-Me-In Friday by Roni Loren
10 Incredibly Simple Things You Should Be Doing To Protect Your Privacy by Kashmir Hill at Forbes.com
10 Powerful Things To Say To Your Children by Jim Barnes (this is a book review of a book with the name of the post)
Living Your Values by Steve Pavlina
Using Your Values To Make Decisions by Steve Pavlina
Re-Evaluate Your Values by Steve Pavlina
30 Days To Success by Steve Pavlina
How To Go From Introvert to Extrovert by Steve Pavlina
August Horoscopes by Austin Kleon (clever)
10 Ways To Know Your GPS Is Trying To Kill You by Sarah Hoyt
Top 20 Most Anticipated Fantasy & Science Fiction Books of August 2012 (The Ranting Dragon)
Top 30 Most Anticipated Speculative Novels Coming Out in September 2012 (The Ranting Dragon)
Fantasy Influences: Ancient Greek Mythology – Part 1 by Victoria Hooper
Pirates: Fantasy’s Forgotten Scoundrels by Laura Graham
The Music of Miriam Black: Songs for the Songbird by Chuck Wendig