How to Have a Great Social Media Presence and Still Have a Life
If the idea of Facebook, Squidoo, Twitter, and YouTube (not to mention your own site and blog) are overwhelming you: Take heart! You're not the only person overwhelmed with choices. With more places to post and keep track of, our days seem to shrink . Here are some helpful, time-saving tips for making the most of your social networking without having it take over your life.
1) Blogging: first off, try and plan as many blogs as you can so you can preload them and forget about them. You can still post additional content but ideally you want to have at least one or two posts a week that are scheduled.
2) Social networking: sometimes an author will come to us with 35 social networking sites. Frankly that's about 34 too many. With the popularity of social networking growing, these niche social sites are popping up everywhere. I'm not telling you not to post something there but if you are stretched too thin and can't keep them updated, what's the point? Personally I recommend posting to two sites: Facebook and Squidoo. Start with one or the other and get your feet wet, then once you have an audience built and a social networking routine in place you can expand your networks. If you're unfamiliar with these sites (and many are unfamiliar with Squidoo, I'll explain why in a minute) know that these are the two powerhouses when it comes to social networking. You can get on there and start a page, build a fan base and promote your book. It's very easy to do and best of all, it's entirely free. Squidoo.com is (like Facebook) very integrated in Google's ranking system. Any Search Engine Marketing expert will tell you that you need three things: Facebook, Squidoo, and Twitter. Squidoo (again free) is very easy.
Also take advantage of time saving options on both of these sites. Both Facebook and Squidoo let you feed your blog and Twitter account through there which will help with keeping the page updated. You should plan to update each page once daily, and here's a quick Facebook tip for you and a great way to expand your network. Go in and wish folks a happy birthday. Birthdays are always posted on your page so go in and write on someone's wall and wish them well, it's a great way to network with your FB peeps and trust me, it will also help to expand your network!
3) Twitter: First let's explain what Twitter is. Twitter is a microblogging system that lets you drop bites of message into the Twitter-verse and gather followers who are interested in your message. This is good because it's all about permission-based marketing. So people who are subscribed to your messages (or tweets as they are called) can follow them and any corresponding links you might have. First off, it's important to get used to the fact that there's a lot of noise on this site. Lots of posts, lots of tweets, millions of updates. This is where services like tweetlater.com and postlater.com come in handy because you can pre-plan your posts. That way you can have a running list of tweets without having to be on top of your computer all day. Also, using a service like Twitterfeed.com will also help you link your blog through Twitter so any blog posting you do will show up there too. It's a very simple process to link this and once you do, you're done.
Since there is so much noise on Twitter it's a good idea to repeat your tweets. I generally schedule mine to reappear every two weeks. How often you have them reappear is up to you and also based on your content but if you're running helpful tips that are evergreen, then there's no reason you can't rerun them.
4) Keeping your site updated: everyone will tell you to keep your site current with fresh content. Let your blog do that for you, it's simple and effective and you don't have to wait to wrangle your web person into getting back to you for updates.
5) Keeping track of what's being said about your topic and about you can be tough but there's an easy way to stay in touch with this: Google alerts. Most of you probably know about Google alerts but now might be a good time to get back in there and refresh your list. Make sure you're tracking not only your name and book title, but others in your industry.
Social media, when managed correctly, can bring you an enormous amount of new business. So far I've gotten two new speaking gigs off of Twitter and dozens of new authors have found their way to AME. Once you have a system in place, stick with it and don't alter from it until you've gotten into a routine. The key is repeat exposure. Blasts and sudden blips are just that: short term and without a lasting effect. The thing that will carry you to success is the consistency of your efforts and message. Don't let it consume you, instead make it a manageable effort that you'll keep up for a long time to come!
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