Are you struggling to get the hang of social media? I admit, it can be a big, fuzzy, exhausting mess but trust me – when it’s done right it’s totally worth it!
I’ve been fielding a lot of questions recently from my fellow authors about social media. From what platforms to be on and how often to post, to how to get attention and make it worth the time it takes to maintain a presence.
So, in lieu of individually telling each person I meet, I’ve created this quick hack sheet to get you started on managing the madness! Let's make social media an experience that's just a little happier!
1. Make A Plan
Do you get on your social media every day and just sit there, wondering what you should post about? It’s rough, right? And when you can’t decide on something – or can’t think of anything – you begin to feel like you have writer’s block. Yikes!
I hate that feeling! Don’t you?
So here’s the remedy – make a plan. And not just any plan – I’m going to give you the social media manager’s secret rule. Make it 80/20: 80% entertaining, educating, and inspiring your followers, 20% promoting yourself and your books.
“What?!” You cry, enraged by the idea of spending your precious time (that you could be using to write or edit) entertaining your followers.
No, really. I’m 100% serious. Do this, and you will not only improve your follower engagement, but you’ll also increase your organic reach.
So, back to the plan. Just start by planning out one week at a time. So, for Monday through Sunday of next week, be ready to post according to your plan.
Here is a little cookie-cutter plan to get you started:
Monday: Post an inspirational quote that you think your readers will enjoy
Tuesday: Post a picture of your desk/workspace and discuss the state of it.
Wednesday: Post an excerpt from your latest book
Thursday: Share a reader review of your work
Friday: Share your book cover
Saturday: Post a video of your smiling face asking your readers what they're currently reading
Sunday: Post about something you love to do on Sundays and ask your fans to share what they love to do.
Got it? Plans rule!
Join our free writing group Sprints & Spirits on Facebook to get access to a free monthly social media content plan designed just for authors!
2. Be Consistent
Okay. So, just maybe you’ve already seen this little tip before. That’s okay – it is a point that is worth reiterating.
When you’re consistent, you improve your trust factor and authority. Think about your favorite best-selling authors and separate them into groups of consistent and inconsistent. Which ones are easier to follow? Which ones appear to have their stuff together more?
That’s not to say that the inconsistent ones don’t have it together, it’s just that they have other priorities.
The only problem with that is if your public image is a priority to you, then you should be consistent – consistency is an important ingredient in a well-rounded, polished public image.
You should want to have it together, and implementing that first step will make it so much easier to do that.
That plan is your road to consistency. Put your heart into it – your career as an author is depending on it!
3. Have Reviews?
If you have reviews, then sharing them with your audience should be a regular part of your social media plan.
I highly recommend scheduling your five-star review posts often and with regularity to help put quality reviews of your book(s) in front of the eyes of people who haven’t yet purchased.
To ensure you stay balanced with the 80/20 rule, try planning to do your live video once bi-weekly or monthly, and in its weekly place you can insert the reviews.
Do you need some more five star reviews before you can make this a regular part of your plan? That’s okay!
Throw a contest!
Give your readers 14-30 days to complete reviews on Amazon or Goodreads for the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. $25 is really the ideal number –it’s large enough for most people to want to enter but really shouldn’t be too large for your budget.
Here’s an example that you can tweak to your liking:
Have you finished reading [this book] yet? If not, finish it quick and complete a HONEST review for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! All reviews entered into Goodreads or Amazon between June 1st and June 30th are eligible! Just confirm your entry by posting a screenshot of your review on my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/******. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on July 1st!
Remember! This should be broadcast every 3rd day on all of your social media channels.
Do you know what’s also great about this? The interaction with your page will help raise your popularity on Facebook, so make sure you are promoting this as much as possible.
*Note: Be aware that if you’re posting exactly the same text into several different groups on Facebook, you risk getting caught and categorized as spam, which means you could have your account suspended or worse. When posting to groups, try to post to one different group each day and avoid copying and pasting. Just rewrite the post out a little bit differently each time.
Additionally, make sure you respond to each and every post on your page. This is a good rule anyway, but should be a major priority through the duration of the contest.
Lastly, make sure that you announce the winner on time!
This is going to do wonders for your rankings, getting you more new reviews, and helping you fill your social media plan with quality content.
4. Prepare Your Content in Advance
Now you have a plan, you just need to implement it. So what do you do? Just scramble every day to find these things?
Take out the time to just do it – once per week! Sometimes one week of content to post on your social media can take as little as thirty minutes, sometimes it takes an hour.
It really shouldn’t take much longer than that unless you’re being incredibly picky. If you’re being picky just step back, take a breath and realize that being incredibly discerning isn’t critical for this.
While it is important to have great content, you need to remember that great content doesn’t have to be complex or overly thoughtful. Just entertain, educate, and inspire!
If you get too picky, you’re not going to have enough content and you’re going to spend tons of time digging and digging each week for the cream of the crop. I beg of you – do not fall into that trap. It’s a dark and dirty rabbit hole that will suck your soul.
Set a timer, and give yourself a maximum of ten minutes per piece. If one piece only takes you two minutes, then go ahead and add that extra 8 minutes on to a more difficult piece.
Also, don’t search for and select your content in chronological order. Complete the simplest pieces first and get them out of the way. You’ll need to save your energy for the harder ones.
I would highly recommend that your first task to complete be the one-two lines from your work written out on paper. Again, don’t look for the best of the best, just get a couple of lines that are good and create intrigue and makes the reader ask, “Wth is going on here?!”
Then, do your inspirational memes. Next, the picture of your work space – and write out your caption to get it done. After that, search for a funny meme. Finally, write out your Sunday post and take an appropriate picture to go with it. You don’t have to wait until Sunday to do this.
The only two things you’ll have left is your videos and it would be best to just go live (on Facebook) for them (and record 15-second versions for Instagram) so that all of your FB fans will be notified about your video! Ta-da – you’ll finally get to reach a ton of your followers for once (whether they come live or see it later)!
5. Set It and Forget It!
Ready for this? There’s basically a sort of “crockpot” for social media! You put in all the right ingredients and, when it’s time, your product pops out just like it’s supposed to!
Okay, so it’s not exactly like a crockpot, but setting it and forgetting it are exactly the things you do.
That plan you made? Sit down once a week (or once a month!) and schedule out your posts! This software will then post each piece of content at the time you’ve selected!
Do you know what that means? You don’t actually have to be digging for and posting content every single day! Do it once and you’re done until your next dedicated time to do it.
That’s everyday posting made easy!
My favorite is Hootsuite. If you haven’t already, go sign up – now! If you already have, well then start sticking your content in there and schedule it out! With Hootsuite, you can schedule for three of your social media accounts. I highly recommend this for your Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.
*Side note: I don’t recommend this for your Facebook because if you’re running an author page on Facebook you can use native posting to schedule your posts and it’s absolutely free and incredibly easy.
Below are the two most common (and user-friendly) free scheduling tools you can use, their links, and a couple of notes about the free plans of each service.
Hootsuite - https://hootsuite.com/plans/free
You can link 3 profiles for free
You can schedule as many posts as you need
Easy to learn, easy to use, also has feeds if you want to stay away from the platform but want to know what’s going on.
Buffer - https://buffer.com/pricing
Check them out today and use one or the other (or both if you like) to start scheduling your posts today.
Ready for more? You're going to want your coffee....
We all know that there’s far more to social media than just 5 simple hacks, but this is a great way to start!
Is there a social media topic you want to know about? Tell me so I can write about it! Simply send your questions or topics in an email to
and I’ll whip it up with the most up-to-date information, collaboration from my colleagues, and experiential information I can gather.
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