Don’t you get tired of broadcast media? I unplugged my Comcast cable four years ago, and I’ve never regretted it. Television programming would interrupt my favorite shows with annoying commercials and cancel the few programs I really liked. The worst part is that I had to conform my schedule to my favorite program’s schedule. In comparison, social media is perfect. There are no interruptions, and I can visit the networks whenever I have time. And it allows me to interact with colleagues and friends across the country and around the world. Most importantly, social media enables me to nurture relationships with readers and friends. Petty cool, huh? Four-Step Cure to Social Media Time Suck Just as a reminder, setting aside time to be social is the third step in my four-step cure to social media suck. Here are the four steps:
- Curate information in your niche every morning.
- Select an application and schedule your tweets, posts and updates.
- Make time to be social every day.
- Check your analytics to determine which messaging works best with your audience.
Make Time to be Social Social media is all about nurturing relationships. Did someone retweet one of your messages? Find a tweet they wrote that you like and return the favor. While you’re at it, consider sending a note of thanks to everyone who retweeted you. Do you have new followers? Spend some time getting acquainted with them by reviewing their profiles or visiting their websites. (It only takes a second or two.) Is there an agent or editor on LinkedIn with whom you’d like to connect, but can’t because they are a third degree connection? Ask a friend to introduce you. Did a col- league just publish a new book? Help her promote it by informing your friends and connections about it. Socializing on social media involves these three steps: meet, connect, and repeat. You are constantly meeting new people, connecting with them, and then repeating the process with someone new. Remember to be positive and open-minded and stick to neutral topics. If you have an iPad, iPhone, Android, or another device, you can socialize online whenever you have some idle time. (If you don’t have idle time, then it’s important to schedule some in.) For example, you can use your mobile device while watching a movie at home, waiting at your doctor’s office, letting the color set on your hair at your stylist’s salon, waiting for a friend to arrive at a coffee shop, or while standing in line at Costco. If you’re someone who needs to schedule virtual socialization into your day, then set an alarm to sound at four or four thirty in the afternoon and do it then. Force yourself to take a break from your regular work, go online, and interact with your readers and colleagues. In other words, keep the social in social media. 7 Dos and Don’ts to Being Social Here you’ll find my 7 tips to networking on the social web.
- Don’t engage with people who send you negative messages. Take a deep breath, move on to another task, and forget about them.
- You will inevitably receive invitations to play Farmville, Scrabble, and other online games. Unless you find these games relaxing, you may not want to use these diversions because they tend to consume time that you could instead use connecting with your Facebook friends or writing your next book.
- Do you feel pressured to use every social media network available to you? Don’t fall for that trap. If you don’t have the time to manage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and RebelMouse, determine which platforms best enable you to connect with your audience and best fit your audience and marketing style and goals.
- In order not to become lost in the vortex of social media time suck, you will need to learn how to manage your time. For example, perhaps you need to use LinkedIn for only five minutes three times a week. That’s okay. Maybe you don’t have the time to schedule more than four tweets daily. Don’t worry. You don’t need to maximize your efforts on every social media network. Use the ones that most appeal to you, are helping you to build relationships, and in turn are connecting you with your readership.
- Don’t use your book jacket as your avatar (profile picture). People want to see the face behind the book, so put on some blush or go to the barber, brush your hair, and smile for the camera.
- Set your Facebook notifications to receive an e-mail whenever you are mentioned or you are tagged in a photo. On Twitter, you’ll want to know when you have a new follower.
- If you use SocialOomph, sign up for alerts notifying you of when you were retweeted or mentioned and when your hashtag was used.
How do you make time to be social? This post is an excerpt from my new book Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write. photo credit: shareski via photopin cc About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.