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Beware the Temptation of Social Media Schedulers

Social media is hard. Let’s just be straight up about it. You have to take the time to set up all these different accounts all while trying to get matching handles so that people can find you. When you do that, you actually have to post content and interact with people to gain followers. Who has time to do all of that?

Clearly this is a problem that has been bothering people for a while. Some people just drop some of their social media accounts by disabling their account and just sticking with one main platform while others try to push through and juggle all of their social media. Sometimes people just decide to drop social media altogether.

To help combat some of this, social media schedulers have started becoming more and more prominent. Some of the more popular ones are Hootsuite, Later, and Buffer, but there are dozens of them floating around the internet. These scheduling sites make like so much easier. All you have to do is make your one post and blast it onto all your social media accounts.

But here is why you should take more care with these social media schedulers

  1. Each social media platform is different. If you aren’t aware of my recent post detailing how to write for some of the platforms, I recommend giving it a look.
  2. These sites make you forget the real point of social media. Social media is all about interacting with your followers and if you just do all of your work through these sites, it’s easy to forget to check your platforms. If you decide to use one of these, make sure you’re checking all of your interaction from followers and don’t be afraid to follow some people, throw around some likes, and reblog things from your friends. Social media is a gateway to companionship and interaction.
  3. Money. Call me crazy, but I think that a service like this isn’t really worth spending money on. Sure, these websites all have free versions of their services, but many of them are just gateways to making you pay in the future.

In the end, it’s much easier to make a schedule in a Word doc or a spreadsheet and set alarms on your phone if you need to schedule out your content. Some of the best content is what is made on a whim, so don’t be afraid to break those boundaries and just post something because you want to, not because your schedule says you should.

If you choose to use one of these sites, the biggest recommendation I can give is to make each of your posts specific to the platform you’re posting on. Changing your content to fit the platform will not only boost your interaction with your followers, it will give people the feeling that you actually take care in what you’re posting. After all, quality is better than quantity.

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Publishing 101 #3 – Social Media Fundamentals

One of the hardest things for authors and pretty much anyone trying to build a brand and a name for themselves is trying to build a social media following that can let you spread your products or even just your name. For this blog post, I decided to give some fundamental information about the core social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) and how to use them effectively.

Twitter

If you are in the book industry, Twitter is an absolute must. Tons of bloggers and industry professionals are on Twitter and, believe it or not, a lot of announcements are made on Twitter. It’s where most people post about their cover reveals, book deals, film options, and their cast announcements. A lot of people don’t really seem to know how to use Twitter and I’ve heard of a lot of authors that just feel like they shouldn’t have to be on Twitter or feel like it won’t be beneficial. I highly recommend you give it a shot. Here are some tips and tricks to be spotted on Twitter:

  • Keep it personal – if you’re active in politics, activism, or just like sharing your opinion, that is generally what people are looking for when they go onto Twitter.
  • Be concise – it might be tempting to make a thread of 10+ tweets to get your thoughts across, but most people won’t read past the first thought.
  • Be visual – images draw in the eye of a reader, but emojis work just as well for this. Likewise, if you keep your tweet short, you might attract attention.
  • Cool it with the hashtags – I try to keep my Twitter posts with a max of 5 hashtags and they are always at the bottom of my post. DO NOT put hashtags in what you’re trying to say.  Not only is it cluttered, hashtags are in different colors and are distracting, which ultimately takes away from your message. Example: The #book I’m #currentlyreading is a #fantasy novel that talks about #LGBT values and #friendship.
  • Interact – Ask questions, retweet your friends, and be a part of the dialogue.

Instagram

  • Images can make or break – the whole point of Instagram is to give your followers amazing photos that they can quickly scroll through and like, so having a really good eye for pictures is the only sure fire way to make your mark on IG.
  • Don’t give your life story in your caption – as stated above, people want to scroll through quickly, so they might take the time to read a sentence or two in your caption, but don’t write paragraphs. To write a meaningful caption, you have to get their attention with your images first.
  • Be consistent – try to keep your IG to a theme. Maybe you have all your photos in black and white, maybe they have a blue tint or an orange tint, maybe you have one item that is in each photo. This helps people recognize your posts as something unique to you in particular. You don’t necessarily have to stick to this forever, but don’t change your theme every month.
  • Hashtags are a must – whenever I post, I have a long list of hashtags that I automatically have at the ready so that I can simply copy and paste them into my post. You can put your relevant hashtags at the bottom of your caption or simply leave them in a comment. 
  • Utilize IG stories – this isn’t 100% necessary, but every once in a while it’s good to put things in your story. Events you go to, books you read, adventures you go on. Add those to your story and make them accessible to your followers so they can feel connected to you.

Facebook

  • Long captions – this is your chance to write those paragraphs! Tell your long stories or do a Q&A! Facebook is pretty much the only social media platform you should be writing a lot. 
  • Older audience – Facebook is predominantly a platform for an older audience (30-40+). That doesn’t mean there aren’t younger people as well. 
  • Links and images – share all the images and links you want! People want things to click on, so don’t be afraid to share your stuff. But if you aren’t much of an image person, at least try to use some emojis.
  • Pages versus profiles – keep your friends list to your closest friends and family members and make yourself an author page or a brand page to keep all those that like your work separate from your personal stuff. 
  • Hashtags are a no – don’t bother with hashtags. No one really uses them on Facebook and, in the end, they just end up making you look more out of the loop.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Scheduling apps and sites – these might be tempting to use, but make sure you’re still following the rules for each platform. Producing one post and spreading it to all your socials isn’t the best way to spread your content and makes you look like a lazy user.
  • Acknowledge that each platform matters – they each provide something different and while certain ones work better for different people, it’s important to at least know about the other ones.
  • There are many other platforms – these are just the main three, but there are several platforms I didn’t mention in this post. Some of them include: TikTok, Snapchat, Tumblr, and LinkedIn, but there are so many more!
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Books For Trade and Bookish Wish

For those of you that don’t know, Books for Trade is a hashtag on Twitter that allows people to post pictures of books they no longer want to have, but want to trade away. It’s a great way to get your hands on some books you’ve been looking for that you otherwise might not have been able to obtain (International Editions, signed editions, special editions, etc) and, in the process, you get rid of a book you no longer wanted! There are also some groups on Goodreads and Facebook that I know use Books for Trade methods.

I’ve been doing Books for Trade for over a year now and it (for the most part) has been a great experience! Through books for trade, I have obtained ARCs and finished copies that I had been looking for for a long time! I’ve done dozens of trades and I’ve only had one instance where I didn’t get my side of the trade. The tag on twitter is full of great people that are really committed to keeping things moving smoothly. 
Recently, a new hashtag started on twitter called Bookish Wish. Essentially, people post their wishlists (similar to Books for Trade) and hope that someone will contact them. This is a great way to help people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to get books due to money issues. 
Since I had some books that I couldn’t trade (they were put up on the tag for months with no luck), I decided to offer up a bunch of mine to just send out…for free. Despite being about $15 poorer, I’m actually super glad I did this, because it made me feel so good to send out books to those people and I would 100% do it again. And I plan to! 
The Bookish Wish tag is full of great, generous people. I’m so glad to be a part of such an amazing community that helps others.
If you want to give these tags a look, just search up #booksfortrade or #bookishwish and make someone else’s day. Or even post your own books/wishlists! You might be surprised!