By Corinne Litchfield-
It’s a familiar song to many writers: to increase book sales you need to build an online platform that includes a website and social media accounts. But if you’re unfamiliar with the various social networks and their settings, the learning curve can be quite steep. Aside from hiring a social media manager, there are ways to streamline the process of posting fresh content, as well as monitoring activity relevant to your writing. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Add widgets and plugins to maximize social media.
For self-hosted WordPress websites, add widgets to showcase your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Look for JetPack, an all-in-one plugin with social features. Know of a website that’s doing exactly what you want to do? Send them a message to find out what plugins they are using.
2. Use a dashboard service to monitor your accounts.
In the same way a car’s dashboard tells you what’s happening with your vehicle, a social media dashboard tells you what’s happening across multiple social networks. HootSuite.com is one of the most popular dashboard services, as its free version allows users to import up to five social media accounts for monitoring and posting. Set up tabs for each social media account, then add streams for various content, such as Facebook Page posts, Twitter mentions, and more. You can even add a WordPress app to write and publish blog posts directly from HootSuite.
3. Take advantage of cross-posting.
Once you’ve imported your social networks into HootSuite, you can post simultaneously across several social media accounts by selecting them from the drop-down menu in the Compose window. You can also visit www.facebook.com/twitter to link your Facebook personal profile and/or Page to automatically send out a tweet every time you post. Use the Publicize feature on JetPack for WordPress to connect your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Tumblr accounts so that new blog posts are automatically shared.
4. Create Twitter lists based on your genre.
Are you writing science fiction? Paranormal romance? Keep up with other writers in your genre by searching for relevant terms via Google or search.twitter.com, then create a Twitter list based on the results. View your list by adding the list stream to your HootSuite account, or click on Lists from the Twitter website.
5. Monitor conversations using hashtags.
Twitter popularized the hashtag, a search term/phrase preceded by a pound symbol (#). You can use search.twitter.com to find hashtags relevant to your content, then save the search to your Twitter account. You can also set up a hashtag search stream directly on HootSuite. Whenever that hashtag is used, it will appear in the search results, making it easy to scan for content you’d like to share with your followers.
6. Schedule posts and tweets in advance.
Set aside 30 to 45 minutes a week to write content you can post across Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Then copy and paste each post into HootSuite, select one or more networks to post from, and use the scheduling function to determine the day and time for each item to be posted.
7. Write and schedule evergreen promotional content.
Rather than inundate your audience with “buy my book” posts and tweets, schedule your promotional posts to go out every 8-10 hours. Have several books for sale, or working on multiple projects? Mix it up: Devote weekdays to project posts and weekends to promoting your book.
By taking the time to streamline your social media presence, you’ll be better equipped to engage with potential readers, and you’ll have more time to focus on doing what you do best: writing.
Corinne Litchfield is a social media manager who works with authors to create and maintain Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts, and coaches clients on best practices in content writing and posting. In addition to social media consulting, Litchfield is also a contributing editor to Sacramento Magazine and has published short fiction and poetry. She is currently at work on a novel. http://www.corinnelitchfield.com