In last week’s post, I shared with you the steps you need to take to develop a social media strategy. You can find that post here: Social Media Strategy for Authors Plus 4 Tweets to Never Send. As promised, in Part II today I discuss what you should be posting on social media and scheduling calendars.
Before we discuss content calendars, let’s talk about the content you’ll post. It’s the meat and potatoes of everything you write online.
Posting on Social Media: You Need Great Content
Everyone wants to know what constitutes great content. This is what Search Engine Land has to say about it:
Is the content informative?
Is it authoritative on the subject matter?
Is it interesting?
Is it well-written (complete sentences are important, but so is approachable writing rather than being stodgy)?
Is longer content broken up into well-organized sections by headings?
Does the content make good and interesting use of visual elements?
Is the writing free of embarrassing spelling errors or remedial grammar problems?
Is it written appropriately for its intended audience?
Is the content free of industry-insider jargon, focusing instead on terminology your readers would use (and search for)?
When appropriate, does the content show your unique voice or even a sense of humor?
Of course, Search Engine Land is talking about blogs, the bulk of the online content. I include their test because you can use it to determine whether your blog content is strong because you’ll be tweeting and adding information about your blog to a variety of social media networks.
You can also use this test to evaluate other blog posts you might want to share. Since 80% of the content you discuss on social media will be from sources other than your own, ask yourself if that content passes the test as well.
If it doesn’t, don’t use it.Evaluate content before tweeting about it - will it serve your audience?Click To Tweet
So what will you post 20% of the time? When you think about it, you’re still going to be posting quite a bit of information that emanates from you.
What should you say?
Don’t Know What to Post? Try These 23 Tips
Here are some examples of great content for your social media profiles. This list comes from Forbes so be sure to read the entire article with its 100 suggestions:
Statistics or data
Recommendations of books you love (use the hashtag #FridayReads on Twitter when you do this)
Request for advice
TBT: Throwback Thursday images
Sharing a meme or comic
Sharing a testimonial for your book
I also have some suggestions to add to the list.
- If you’re writing a cookbook filled with delicious, gluten-free recipes, you can also post the latest findings in Celiac Disease or about new food manufacturers making it easy to follow a strict, gluten-free diet.
- Did you write a novel featuring a woman entrepreneur or CEO? You can sometimes focus on writing posting about issues that women in business face.
- If your novel is set in France, look for information about the particular era you write about and look for dreamy images of France on Pinterest and the specific cities where your characters live. Create pinboards for each city your characters visit or live in, the clothing you imagine they would wear, and words you think would encourage them. You can even create a board of your characters’ favorite authors.
- Do you love to hike? If your book is about hiking, look for information on new equipment that makes camping and backpacking easy, discuss great hiking trails, and look for images taken in wilderness areas.
- If you write historical fiction, you might want to post information about current political events in the country featured in your novel and images of the gowns the women wore in that era.
- If you love to write about the 1960s, create pinboards on Pinterest that include retro bell-bottom pants, white boots, flowered skirts and peasant blouses.
- Do you write about vampires? Review movies that feature vampires or explore myths about the walking dead.
- Do you write poetry? Include quotes from your favorite poets when you tweet, post on Facebook and LinkedIn. Repin image quotes from poetry or create some yourself – for Pinterest.
Remember to narrow your focus and become known for always posting the best and most up-to-date information in your field.
On your blog and your social media accounts, your reputation rests on the content you disseminate. If you write nonfiction, become an authority in your niche. If you write fiction, network with your colleagues and readers and strive to become known for your content.
Always refrain from annoying others with your political beliefs and never be snarky. No one likes it.
Remain objective and stay clear of the potentially alienating arguments that can occur in some pockets of social media. Your blood pressure will thank you.
When to Schedule Social Media Posts
Now that you know what you want to say spend five minutes scheduling your messages. Keep in mind the following timelines for posting—and set your timer.
- Schedule your messages to post on Facebook between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Avoid posting between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Post at least once daily. However, it’s also important to check your Insights. (You’ll need 35 Likes on your Facebook page to access these free analytics. Nothing beats checking your analytics to determine your particular best posting times.)
- If you are new to Twitter, post four times daily. Once you feel more comfortable with this network, post eight times daily, Monday through Friday, and fewer times on weekends. Space your tweets at least 135 minutes to three hours apart. Generally, 1 to 3 p.m. is the best time to post. But that timeframe isn’t universal. Use an application such as SocialBro or Tweriod to determine your optimal tweeting times. On the weekends, take a break and tweet just twice a day, or rest your fingers and don’t worry about it at all.
- For LinkedIn, post twice daily. In the mornings, post between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., Monday through Friday. In the afternoons, post between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and before 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. On the weekends, post just once a day or take a break entirely. The real action on LinkedIn occurs during the week.
- If you use Google+ to improve your search engine optimization and connect with audience members who prefer this social media site, post between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to get the best results. The worst time to post is between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Pinterest is a fun visual social media network where women dominate the user demographic. The best posting times on this platform are between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Never post between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., when most users are either making or enjoying their dinners.
Knowing when to post is important because you want to make sure that your updates are seen. Use one of many applications (Buffer integrates well with SocialBro to do this or try using Tweriod) to determine your optimal posting times so that you tweet and update friends when they are most likely to be using social media.
If you don’t want to spend your entire day in front of your computer scheduling your posts – who would? – then you’ll need to use a social media dashboard. I wrote a post for The Book Designer Blog that analyzes some them. You can find that analysis here: Social Media Dashboards: Free Apps May Not Be the Best Option.
Social Media Calendars for Authors
To make scheduling easier for you, and following the parameters I mention above, here are three social media content scheduling cheat sheets for you to follow:
Here’s the Initial Platform Building Schedule
Here’s the Advanced Posting Schedule
Here’s the Ninja Posting Schedule
What questions do you still have about social media content? (Yes, I’d really love to know!)
Free for you! Get the Social Media Cheat Sheet now.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.