Managing Social Networks – The Ugly Truth

Whether you’re an indie writer, published by a small press, or have a publishing deal with mid tier and higher publishers, chances are a lot of the promotion will fall onto your shoulders. Unless you achieve the status of a Stephen King or Dan Brown (two people who actually don’t need a ton of advertising), your going to get your hands dirty. In the always connected world we now reside in, not only is an online presence suggested, it’s actually required.

As I’ve said in other posts, I’ve been online since the BBS days of the mid ’80s. I’ve hung out on usenet groups, chatted in AOL rooms, posted on Compuserve and Prodigy forums, and even had a GeoCities site.  Yesterday I got a notice that I had been on WordPress for Five years. I’ve been on Twitter since March of 2009, Facebook since about the same time and Google+ since June of 2011. I also had MySpace, and far too many accounts to far too many forums to ever be able to mention-let alone remember-them all.

All of that however doesn’t make me an expert. It does make me reevaluate the amount of time I’m online, but that’s a sad tale for another day.  What it has made me, is a scheduling expert.  Not for everyone else, just for me.  Everyone is different. We all have lives, family, friends, and obligations which take our time. Then of course there’s our writing, and there never seems to be enough time for that. So how do we juggle all that and maintain some kind of presence?

I schedule what social Networks I’ll be on for any given day. Twitter is a little bit different, as 98% of my posts are from my phone or tablet, and I can do that from anywhere.  Blogging takes the biggest chink of time at once. With G+ and FB, I can do that in little bites, but to blog means sitting down in my comfy chair, grabbing my laptop, a cup of coffee and grasping at straws for an idea. Due to this, I tend to blog the least. I try to keep them to about 500 words when possible.  Not too long to either write, or read, but enough to not feel it was simply filler.  On Sunday nights when I’m putting together a schedule, I’ll come up with three or four ideas for posts, and space them out throughout the week (and try to keep one for the weekend, as people like to have something new to read then). Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If I get an idea throughout the week and I have time, I may write one on the fly. I’m working on being consistent after many months of a fallow field.

I alternate my days on FB and G+. Example, I’ll concentrate on FB Mon, Wed, and Fri while working on G+ Tues and Thurs. I don’t ignore them on their off days, but I don’t spend as much time on the pages and communities as I do when it’s their day. I try to be as engaged on the pages I subscribe to as possible.  On weekends, I mix it up, whatever I feel like hanging out on is where you’ll find me.  And twitter is throughout the day whenever I have the urge to say something, or a new post is up.

It’s very easy to get consumed in all of it, but remember it’s your time, you run them, they don’t run you.