Social Media Time-management Tactics
IBPA members are controlling the time they spend on social media, sometimes with an iron hand and sometimes with considerable flexibility. Those who responded to our email blast on the subject generally agree that it pays to devote some of the hours in the day—or merely some of the minutes—to networking via social media sites, and they also generally agree that it’s easy to get sucked into spending too much time there.
Check “Managing Social Media” in the September issue for the first installment of time-management lessons learned from experience, and see below for installment #2.—Judith Appelbaum
My Measuring Stick
Generally, I do my blogging in the evening when I’ve had a chance to be stimulated by info and events during the day. This virtually ensures I’ll have an interesting and timely topic to post about, which eliminates one of the scarier aspects of trying to keep content fresh.
I’d say my overall approach could be classified as loosely structured. I think the important thing to decide before you get involved is just how much time and interest you have to devote to social marketing, and then stick to those limits as closely as possible. If you find yourself making lots of exceptions on a regular basis, then it’s time to reevaluate your policy. I allow myself an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.
Exceptions: I moved from the Tweetdeck Twitter platform to Nambu (I’m on a Mac), which offers a feature for onscreen notification of new Tweets as they come in; you can scan them quickly to see if there’s anything worthy of your immediate time and attention, such as HARO (helpareporter.com) interview requests on your areas of expertise. If something presents a good opportunity, I can break away from what I’m doing to respond.
Usually, I also reserve my Facebook and LinkedIn updates for evenings, maybe once or twice a week, since some of them tend to be more social than business-oriented.
The measuring stick should be whether the time you spend and how you allocate it are helping your bottom line or simply proving to be a distraction. It does take some amount of self-discipline.
As for technical demands, I don’t find any of the social media too challenging; most forms seem to have evolved to the point where they’re pretty stupid-proof to anyone with any online experience.
Word Forge Books
In Search of Synergy
Although I try to allocate just one hour per day to social media, the time I spend on this is growing.
Certain sites seem to boost my book sales, while others apparently don’t have much effect, but I have learned over time that it is not one thing that matters; it’s the whole collection of things I’m doing to show that I am an active author, and one worth taking a look at because I am dedicated, willing to go the extra mile, and sincere about my work.
The sites I use are The Reading Tub, Goodreads, Facebook, and Circle of Seven Productions—Reader’s Entertainment. I did use Gather but found it was a waste of time. Goodreads is the best.
Author, as Thora Gabriel, of Chessie Bligh
Connections and Their Consequences
I hired two college graduates for the summer; they were business majors, and one of them is my cyber-assistant. She looks up Web sites, downloads pictures, and has put me on Twitter and Facebook.
I find that it takes less than 10 minutes a day to post a sentence or two, and the consequences have included being in PW Daily with my picture, taken during a book signing at Barnes & Noble with the poster of the cover of my book.
Since my 35th high school reunion is coming up, I was able to connect with a lot of high school friends and let them know about my book. On Twitter, I try to make my posts about books I’ve read, especially from authors who have endorsed me.
I remember 2008 Publishing University workshops about blogging, which I’ve also done in less then 10 minutes a day. At the 2009 Pub U 2009, the focus was on social networking, and my first thought, as a business owner and author, was that I really didn’t want one more thing to take up time. But now I realize how important Twitter is, and how vital it is to be on the cutting edge of the networking trend.
Beach Chair Diaries
If I don’t make time to work on the social media sites, my Web site doesn’t get as much traffic. I have decided to work on them whenever I have a free moment during the day, and very late at night, if that is what it takes.
M. Ann Pritchard
To control the time you spend on social networking, try these tactics:
1. Develop a networking strategy before you begin, prioritizing based on the activities you believe are most likely to succeed.
2. Don’t try too many things at once; implement one strategy at a time and master it before you move on to another.
3. Don’t join too many online networking sites. Choose one or two primary networks to focus on (mine are Twitter and Facebook), and perhaps set up profiles on a handful of others that you will visit occasionally.
4. Avoid checking your social networks first thing in the morning. It’s easy to get sucked in and spend way too much time there, neglecting your higher-priority tasks for the day.
5. Develop a routine and set aside a specific amount of time each day for networking. That way you’ll get it done, but you won’t be overwhelmed.
6. Turn off email notifications from your social networks, so you’re not continually interrupted by notices of requests or messages.
7. On forums, look for the settings page where you can specify that you want a daily digest of posts to the group, instead of an email every time someone posts something.
8. Look for timesaving tools and applications. For example, my Twitter posts and posts on my own blog automatically flow to my Facebook profile.
9. Don’t waste time with “gee whiz” applications that don’t increase your productivity.
Dana Lynn Smith
Book Marketing Maven
To Keep Time and Money Costs Down
I post blog entries about company news, but I have our authors go directly to our blog and post their news, clips, and sample pages with comments.
As for Facebook, Twitter, and the like, which “cost nothing,” we’ve hired someone to get us up and running on those, connect and integrate them, and then keep them updated. In fact, this can cost a staggering amount of time, time that our staff simply doesn’t have. So we’ve hired out as cheaply as possible, and we look for integration with feeds through RSS, apps, and so on.
What Bzzzzzz Does
Since I could easily spend all day on social media, doing articles for Examiner.com, and writing my e-newsletter while neglecting work on my next book, I (usually) set my timer for 30 minutes. I find that if I don’t ignore the timer’s annoying alarm, my day goes much better.
This is part of my larger plan, which recently included looking again at my priorities and deciding to reduce my newsletter from twice a month to once a month.
Shepherd Canyon Books
How Do Midsize Publishers Manage?
We’re only just starting to examine the potential of social media marketing, so let me respond with a question.
After six years of operation and one acquisition, we have more than 40 titles in print. Since ideally all books would get equal attention throughout the year, I would need a staff of five fully dedicated to social media.
The reality is that I have one full-time marketer for all the titles, and they need more attention than social media can provide.
I can see how authors and self-publishers can do social networking, but I can’t see how traditional publishers can unless they do it just for their best-selling or most promising books.
My question is: If you are a midsize or larger publisher, do you schedule social media time for some of your books or all of your books, or do you leave that to your authors?
E. Keith “JB” Howick, Jr.
WindRiver Publishing, Inc.