Authors tell me all the time that they just don’t have time to write and market, that life gets in the way, that writing is their first priority. I also hear that one should ‘only ever tweet live’ (which I disagree with…see more below).
Hey, I get it. I’m an author with three books out, two more WIPs, a full-time social media marketing business, and a family life. Let’s not discuss laundry.
So having done this social media thing since 2009, and given the changing nature of anything online, here are my recommendations to get our writing done, and to create and maintain a thriving presence online.
I’ve been using this tool almost as long as I’ve been on Twitter. There are plenty of other options (Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, BufferApp) which work well, but for whatever reason my brain works best with Hootsuite. Here’s what I like:
- Everything in one place. Hootsuite allows you to connect virtually every account you have (even your MySpace account from 1995). I easily connected my various Twitter streams, Facebook (personal and pages), Google+ page, and LinkedIn (For a complete list of all the accounts you can connect, read more here.)
- It’s free. The application itself for your computer is free. If you have more than five accounts to connect, the price goes to $9.99/month. Some of the premium apps require payment, but the majority of the over sixty-five applications they offer are free.
- Schedule…or don’t. Hootsuite makes it clear and easy to schedule in posts by counting characters as you type, offering their own trackable link-shortening service (owl.ly), and the option to schedule on specific date and time, or have them automatically share across the networks you choose.
It sounds complicated but it’s truly very easy. I try to schedule tweets and posts every two to three hours on my author stream, every three to four on my business stream, and every four or so on my other networks. I rarely schedule more than five days forward, because news and topical information can become dated so quickly!
This also allows me to share breaking news and live tweet and interact on Facebook or Google+. This is important because I can be writing while knowing that key information is still going out. When I take a writing break, I can respond to people, retweet, etc.
It’s also very helpful when participating in a meme, like #MondayBlogs (share blog posts on Monday and retweet others using the hashtag), because I can schedule in posts to go out each Monday as I write new things.
- Mobile. Hootsuite also has a mobile version to use on your phone or iPad. I don’t love it, but it works fine in a pinch. (I’ll offer my favorite mobile recs below.)
- Lists. Create and follow lists, just as you would on Twitter, but they’re here also, for your convenience.
- Groups. This is a handy feature. Do you belong to any Facebook or LinkedIn groups? Post to them from here. The point is to decrease your time spent on all the individual sites and have it all in one place, like any other application.
Nerd alert: The only disadvantage to using something like Hootsuite or other applications, is that the sites themselves and Google give more ‘credit’ to organic posts as opposed to scheduled posts (this comes straight from a Google presentation I attended earlier this year at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference). But…if your accounts are interactive, meaning you reply to people, retweet and share them and they you, those activities can help make up for using an application.
Pluggio is a wonderful app that does all Hootsuite does and more. I use it in addition to Hootsuite, but you don’t have to. It’s just my weird OCD preference and I’m okay with that. Here’s what it does in addition:
- Follow/unfollow. Pluggio suggest you enter keywords – people you want to target (i.e., readers, book club, nonfiction, etc.). Then it runs a program 24/7 which creates suggestions for you. You then go in and decide if you want to follow or unfollow these suggestions.
- News articles/blog searches. This is the main reason I love this tool – same as above, enter in keywords and timing, and it will pull searches of relevant articles and blogs for you to share in a queue. This is crucial for any author. Why? So we’re not spamming our own links in every tweet. To give us other things to talk about besides our own stuff. We are multi-dimensional beings. Pluggio helps us with that.
- It’s free! For your basic daily account, the free version is perfect, with some limitations (i.e., only so many articles in your queue unless you upgrade).
- Videos. All of their training videos are one minute or less. I love that!
Think you’re stuck at following 2,000 people? Think again!
People frequently ask how I have so many new followers daily, and I tell them that I use ManageFlitter! Because my account is large, I can follow up to 500/day, but I recommend you do no more than 100/day if that…if you’re just starting out, 50/day is a better way to go. This is a Twitter-only application.
- Easy. Connect your Twitter account and go. They offer options like fake followers, inactives, eggs, non-English, as well as non-follow-backs. Honestly, I go in daily to follow and unfollow.
- Fakes, spammers, and bots. I’ve got lots of those following me, from being around awhile, I guess. I daily unfollow these accounts – are they buying books? Nope. Do I follow them back? Nope. Delete!
- Nonfollowbacks. Why are you following people who don’t follow you back? Unless you’re wasting time follow Bieber or Kardashian, unfollow that junk and target specific people with your follows. Readers!
- No more bulk follow/unfollow. One of the best key features of this tool was the bulk follow/unfollow ‘fast select’ option, where you could follow or unfollow 100 people at once. Twitter changed the guidelines for use with the Twitter API (Application Programming Interface) to cut down on spammers, fakes, and bots, (none of which ManageFlitter deals with), meaning this cool feature is gone. Boo.
I have an iPhone (love it). If you have Android or Blackberry, you’ll have to check those app stores for similar apps to the ones I use below:
- Tweetr. This is a very handy, simple app that allows you to schedule tweets on the fly. Especially helpful if you manage more than one Twitter account like I do.
- Tweetbot. I’ve tried practically every single Twitter app out there and found that Tweetbot (despite the goofy name) does the job better than any other app, never crashes, and is easy to use. If offers a lot of options with the exception of scheduling (see Tweetr for that).
You certainly don’t have to use all of these apps like I do, but remember, I manage social media not only for my own author and social media business accounts, but also for my book promotion accounts and several author promotional groups I belong to. The point is to still be out there while well, not being out there.
And getting our writing done!