Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Writer’s Social Media Resolution

Last year I transitioned from using social media for my business to using it for writing. As with any new toy, I was very excited about it for the first month or two. Then life got very busy. I knew that in order to be effective, social media needed to be done regularly. But it was hard to keep up with it when life got hectic. How could I be consistent?

Well, my efforts resembled a seven-year-old on his first trampoline. Weee! Some days were up and I was tweeting like a mad woman, posting on Facebook and meeting new friends. Unfortunately, other days were down and it was all I could do to open a browser window. Sadly, for a little while I bounced right off and the days turned into weeks. Did a month really go by without a tweet? Yep, and the numbers at my blog reflected it.

It was the old song and dance. I was too busy, writing and overworking myself. It's true, but isn’t it true for all of us? Yet, some people are out there every day. How do they do it?

I’m putting my bet on planning. Doesn’t it always revolves around that?

So this year my resolution is to be more consistent in my social media efforts. In order to do that, I’ve decided on a few strategies:

  1. I will write a few extra tweets each week and gather interesting links. These extra tweeks will not be posted right away but saved for the days when things get hectic.
  2. I will schedule a few automated tweets to go out every day (more about this later).
  3. I will plan out a series of facebook topics for the year.

Using these methods, my social media campaign should be consistent even on the days when I am not.

I know what you are thinking, social media is about authenticity. You hate those people who automate their tweets and facebook posts. This is not about about abusing the automation. I still plan to make regular appearances. It will just help to write some of them when I have more time.

Plus, automation is not my daily strategy. It is just to fill in those days when tweeting just can’t be on the agenda. For me, knowing that a scheduled tweet is going out will actually motivate me to get on my social media accounts, even if I’m overwhelmed or tired. Because, basically, I’m like a kid passing a note in school. I just can’t help but want to see how people respond. So this little cheat with the automation will actually motivate me to get online to see who made comments. It will make me more consistent and prevent the days from turning into weeks.

That is my New Years resolution.

How about you? This month I will be exploring using social media for writers. I’d love to hear from you about what has worked and what has bombed and what frustrates the hell out of you.

Next Wednesday I’ll be serving up fried Twitter Bird sandwiches. It's the new white meat.

Posted by Tamela Buhrke


Patricia Stoltey said...

I haven't tried any of the automatic tweets yet, and don't link my blog to Facebook. I am, however, creating a schedule for these activities since I need to budget my time...and also since I'll be tweeting for my two favorite writing organizations as well as my own blog and two other blogs.

Kay Theodoratus said...

I'll just sit in my corner and growl about "too much work". Besides my Facebook is mostly personal.

Tamela Buhrke said...

Pat - I'm in the same boat with three blogs, three twitter accounts and facebook profile & page. Planning, budgeting time and automating a few things can really make a difference. Now if I can just find the time to plan, budget and automate....
Kay - LOL! Sometimes that's what I want to do too! Though I am a huge fan of Twitter. I've met so many great people on it.

Nathan Lowell said...

I found that finding my niche in the community allowed me to focus my social media efforts where it mattered -- building the relationships with fans who promote my work for me while I'm busy writing.

The single most significant social media effort I made was in deciding to give my books away as podcasts through

I'm a bit of a contrarian in the social media sphere.

I never post anything that's not directly related to fans in one or more of my constituencies. (Writers are not in that constituency. I never write about writing on my book blogs.)

I never schedule a tweet, and never post unless it's something about the work -- or something I think my fans might be interested in like another work of science fiction or fantasy with which I have some personal connection.

My fans know that if I tweet, I'm at the keyboard and I'll talk to them. If they leave a comment on my blog, I'll answer it. They even have a special discussion board where they can talk to each other and speculate about the works. I visit occasionally.

Over the last four years it's worked out pretty well for me.

Starting at zero in 2007 and working up to about 15,000 fans today. I'm getting about 1,000 hits a day at the moment on my blog and have a couple thousand followers on twitter. My episodes -- some 120+ of them -- have been downloaded more than 2million times, over a million in the last year alone.

My fans are so cool, they pestered an editor to contact ME about publishing my work. I didn't go with that publisher in the end, but that kind of fan loyalty pays big dividends.

I really credit that effort with getting me a 10 book publication agreement with my current publisher, a movie option, and a fan base so dedicated that they keep crashing the distribution network looking for my next episodes.

Gotta love social media.

Tamela Buhrke said...

Nathan - That is fantastic! I admire your ability to spend that much time with your social media efforts. I'm working toward that myself. It's hard to consistently find the time when you are writing and running a business.

I applaud your style. You're working your social media the right way and it is working. I hear a lot from writers about how social media and blogging don't sell books... you are the person they could learn from.