Make The Most Of Your Author Platform, Part 3
So, you’ve read Part One and Part Two of the series. The tips in those probably seem like a lot to keep up with, and they can be sometimes. If you’re wondering how on Earth you’re supposed to be able to do all of these things, write and keep up with the rest of your undoubtedly busy life, you are definitely not alone!
Take it from someone with four jobs (OK, two of them are seasonal and one is writing, but still), four cats, a husband and a to-do list ten miles long. I get it.
In this post, I’ll be covering a variety of ways to maintain an active, engaging author platform in the midst of a chaotically busy life.
I once scheduled six weeks worth of near daily Facebook posts for one of my other jobs. Creating images for some of the posts was a pain, but once that was done, getting the posts scheduled took me maybe two hours. This was my first foray into the magical world of scheduling posts in advance, and I’ve never looked back!
Some sites, like Facebook and Tumblr, allow users to schedule posts from within the app or website. Others, such as Twitter and Instagram, do not. That doesn’t mean you can’t, though! With the rapid rise of Social Media Marketing, there has been an influx of apps and websites that allow you to do this, and so much more!
However, for now, I’ll stick to the topic of scheduling posts in advance. Many of you are likely already familiar with how this works, but for those who aren’t, a quick explanation.
From your author page (not your regular profile), compose a post as usual.
Once the post is written, click on the little down arrow next to publish. A drop down menu of options will appear. The first option will be “Schedule”. The second option, “Backdate”, is useful when first creating a page because it allows you to add content before launching without all of it having the same post date.
When you click on “Schedule”, a box will appear with the tools to choose when your post will go live. First, be sure the box next to “Publication” is checked. Then, choose the date you want the post to go up. Finally, select the time of day and click “Schedule”. Done!
Tumblr has some scheduled post features that Facebook doesn’t, as well as a wider variety of preset post types, including Quote, Chat, Link and Audio. Now, you may be thinking “But, I already have a blog on my website! Why would I need to use a blog site like Tumblr?”
One word – visibility.
If you’re using the cross-posting and auto-posting tools, it doesn’t take any more time to manage, and with the right tags added to posts, it can help increase your visibility online. This, in turn, can drive traffic to your other Social Media profiles as well as your website. More on other ways to make use of this later!
Even if you maintain a blog on your website, or your website is a blog, Tumblr has a more casual feel that appeals to a lot of people. It also allows you to share other interests you have with ease. Mine tends to have a lot of cat stuff and pictures of gorgeous food.
So, you’ve got your post ready to go.
If you have your Tumblr connected to Twitter, you will notice a little Twitter bird next to the “Post” button. You can deactivate it to keep from automatically crossposting. Or, if you hover over it, a box will appear that allows you to edit the text that will show with the link on Twitter.
Once you have your crosspost configured or disabled, click on the down arrow next to the “Post” button. A drop down menu of options will appear. If you weren’t ready to post yet or needed to come back and finish it later, you would choose “Save As Draft”. Super handy.
Otherwise, you have two choices. The first, “Add To Queue”, means Tumblr will pick the time it posts for you. Queued posts go live during peak hours to help get your post in front of the most people. The second, “Schedule”, works much like Facebook in that you specify the time and date you want it to go live. Once you set those, the “Post” button will change to “Schedule” – click that and you’re good to go!
If you’re like me, you probably find you use Twitter more than any other Social Media site. While Twitter doesn’t have any inbuilt scheduling functions, there are ways around this. Most social media sites allow users to link accounts, automatically cross-posting for you. Make use of this tool first and foremost. It is a huge time saver. Still, using this method, there are limits to the accounts you can connect. No worries, there is a tool for that, too! Read on to find out.
Author’s Little Helpers
There are a lot of options out there for managing your Social Media all in one place. Honestly, enough to fill several blog posts. Since there are so many, and I’m not super familiar with all of them, I am going to cover the ones I know best and use daily. Bonus – both offer buttons for the bookmarks bar of your browser to make using them super convenient!
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to remember another set of login information. You create an account using your existing Twitter, which also serves to connect the two. You can add other accounts you have or help manage as well, but the one you use to login to TweetDeck will be your default.
This awesome site has two features I absolutely adore. The first is the ability to schedule posts with or without images. I frequently use this to schedule my #LustyMondayLit kick-off and thank you posts, in case I’m asleep or otherwise occupied when the time for them rolls around. Not that I’m forgetful or anything…
The second is the ability to track hashtags I want to keep up with, the posts from each one nestled in its own column. Not only do I use this for my hashtag game, but also to keep up with #MSWL, #500Queries, #SecretsOfARomanceWriter and any special events I want to be sure I don’t miss.
There are a bunch of other great options to play with as well, meaning you can easily customize your TweetDeck dashboard to suit your specific needs.
A fabulous website with a funny name, IFTTT (pronounced ift) stands for “If this then that”. This free (yes, completely free!) web service uses what they call “applets” to create connections between all sorts of sites, apps and services. It can, as an author friend recently pointed out, be a bit overwhelming at first. Stick with me, though. The things this site can do are worth it!
An example. You’ve set up a Tumblr blog to help increase visibility. You’ve got it connected to Twitter and occasionally pop open the app to scroll writing prompts and funny pictures when you’re bored, but you just can’t find the time to create content for it. Not even to copy and paste posts from your main blog or website.
I feel you there, trust me! That’s where IFTTT can help.
Once you’re signed up, which you can do using existing Social Media accounts or an email address and new password, click on “Search” and type in any two accounts you want to link with “to” in between. A variety of applets will come up. I tend to choose the ones with the most users.
Select the applet you want, click to turn it on, grant permission for the applet to access the necessary accounts and you’re almost done! Some, like the Twitter to Tumblr applet I use, have other options. This one allows you to include retweets and replies as well as your direct posts.
You’ll want to fiddle with what the applet posts as your title, as it looks a little goofy on Tumblr, but that’s about it.
You can also opt to have IFTTT send you notifications when an applet runs, if you’ve installed the app. Click save and let the applet do the work for you!
But what about all those carefully crafted blog posts on your site?
Don’t worry, there’s an applet (or ten) for that, too!
As the applet says, who wants to update ten different platforms? IFTTT gets it. This applet will automatically crosspost a WordPress blog entry to Tumblr. You can set it to post right away, add it to your queue or save as draft. This is super handy if you want to go in and make sure the tags are right. Or, you can add those directly in the applet! How easy is that?!
I checked, and there are also applets for Blogger to Tumblr. I would imagine they exist for other blogging platforms as well.
If you can’t find one that suits your needs, however, you can create one of your own! This is a little more advanced, but they do walk you through it. Alternately, you can suggest a new applet. After poking around on their site a bit, however, they seem to have all the important stuff covered.
Not every applet is going to work the way you want or may have in mind when you select it. I’ve had to play around with a few, but then again, I tend to be super picky. Don’t be afraid to try as many as it takes to find the ones that do what you need them to. This is your platform, after all!
Balance Is Key
Using tools like these can make managing your author platform considerably easier while reducing the demands on your time and increasing your visibility. However, one does have to be careful. Some sites, namely Twitter, have AI that crawls the site for accounts that could be bots. Too much automated content can get you flagged, which can result in the dreaded “shadowban”, essentially your account being filtered out of search results and feeds.
This is specifically important on Twitter, since you have to use outside programs to schedule content (even though TweetDeck is “technically” part of Twitter). After scouring the Twitter rules and policies page and the automation policies page, I’ve come up with a couple of ways to help you make use of these tools while greatly reducing your chances of landing in Twitter jail.
For clarification, I say greatly reducing because they are forever tweaking the AI, so no guarantees. But these should help.
If you write or share sexy stuff, check your settings!
This is rather obvious for a lot of you, but again I want to make sure I cover the basics for anyone super new to Social Media. If any of your posts will contain more adult content, even things you retweet, go to your account settings under Privacy & Safety and make sure you check the box for to indicate you will be tweeting media that could be sensitive. This covers a broad range of things, including the sexy stuff romance and erotica authors are so fond of.
Keep automated Twitter posts to important or promotional content only.
Not counting anything posted by another site, such as Facebook or Tumblr. Do a little reading on the best times to post and schedule your most important posts then. For many authors, these would be promos for their books, or maybe a release update.
Have hashtag games you always participate in? If you know the theme in advance, you can schedule a post for that game to make sure you don’t miss it. Otherwise, check in when you can, post random updates manually and reply to mentions or replies to your posts.
Avoid identical Posts
One thing mentioned repeatedly on the Twitter pages I linked to above is duplicative content. We’ve all been guilty of it, most often when it comes to promoting the books we’ve poured our souls into. Unfortunately, it is one of the easiest ways to end up in Twitter jail.
What’s a poor, overworked author to do?
We’ve already covered not overdoing it with the promo posts, so that alone can help. Spread them out, schedule them for peak times and use the handy (albeit sometimes glitchy) Twitter analytics to track which times of day get the most engagements for these.
Make sure the text of the post isn’t identical every single time. Sure, some things will be the same, and that’s fine. Reusing the same text every now and then shouldn’t be an issue. But variety is key! Along with that, invest a little time in creating varied promotional graphics you can add to these posts.
Not only will the variety help you look less bot-like, if you’re not posting the same couple of images over and over, you’re more likely to attract the attention you’re after.
I know this post is about double the usual length, but I really wanted to make sure all this info was in one place. Thanks for hanging in there! Hopefully these tricks and tools make managing your platform and getting your content out there easier and far less time-consuming. Until someone finds a way to add hours to the day, or The Doctor decides to give us a hand, tools like these are our best bet.
Spread the word, share the love and stay tuned for the next post!
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