Sorry to interrupt this broadcast, but I have to squee....it's my book release day! Days Made of Glass is my first Women's Fiction, it's a sister-story, about the world's first woman bullfighter. You can click on the photo to be taken to Amazon.
Sorry, Angelina - take it away!
For busy authors -- or anyone building a brand or a business -- one of the most daunting tasks we face every day can be sitting down to post to social media.
"What should I say?" we think. "Who's going to care?"
Wouldn't it be phenomenal to sit down every day knowing exactly what you're going to blog, post, and Tweet? And hitting "enter" with the confidence that what you post will reflect your personality and interests, appeal to your fans and move you toward your business goals?
If you're resolving to do better with your social media in 2016, an annual social media calendar is the key to making your New Year's resolution a reality.
Here's how to build one:
Step 1: Make a list of your business goals for 2016.
While writing is a creative endeavor in the search for truth and beauty, and social media is a wonderful forum for giving virtual hugs to your fans, writing is also a job. Social media is the advertisement. So instead of letting social media pull you away from your job, make it work for you. This list will insure that your business goals for that "creative endeavor" are front and center so that you can integrate them into your social media throughout the year.
Step 2: Make a list of your personal and professional events in 2016.
We can forget to post our special events on social media in the midst of a hectic writer's conference or anniversary vacation. And that's the fun stuff -- the stuff our fans love to hear about. Writing these professional and personal dates down now will allow you to remember them later. Sure, you probably won't forget to promote that new book, but seeing it coming up on your social media calendar will remind you to start building a plan for promotion months ahead of time.
Step 3: List holidays/seasonal events that are important to you.
Scroll through the months. What are nationally recognized days that speak to you? Christmas, Hanukkah, spring break, first day of school, National Doughnut Day? Use these days to connect with your fans and to let them know you have the same excitement about Santa, the same relief about the kids going back to school, and the same interest in candied-bacon doughnuts as they do.
Step 4: Write down 4-5 themes that distinguish you.
Themes are the rocket fuel of your social media calendar. Your themes are what distinguish you, your writing and your philosophies from other authors, and they are what will set your social media posts apart from other posts in a fan's stream. Themes -- you're an animal-loving, travel-seeking rock climber who writes sexy small-town contemporaries and loves men in kilts -- give your fans something to hang onto. Staying consistent with your themes gives you a foundation from which you can grow an audience that loves you.
My themes in my annual social media calendar are:
I have a vineyard-owner client whose themes are:
Think big picture when you're developing your themes. Make sure your themes include a mix of professional and personal interests, and -- because social media is "social" -- make sure at least one of your themes focuses on promoting others.
Here are some questions to help you decide your themes:
Step 5: Build your template.
Step 6: Enter your business goals at the top of the template under "General."
Installing these goals at the top will insure that they are top of mind as you're developing your social media plan of attack for each month. Make sure your goals are accomplishable within a month (you are only human and you need to sleep), and break large goals, like "Finish a book", into manageable monthly bites, like "Write 20,000 words."
Step 7: Enter your themes on the side of the template.
I like to include details about the themes that will jog ideas when I'm filling it in later.
Step 8: Enter your "Events" at the bottom.
Step 9: Fill in the blanks.
Now you will use your themes as a guide for coming up with content ideas for the rest of the year. Wha...?! I know, sounds daunting. But it's easier than you think. And a little blood, sweat and tears now will prevent you from having to bleed, sweat and cry EVERY TIME you sit down to post for the REST OF THE YEAR.
Step 10: Putting your annual social media calendar to work.
Your annual social media calendar will:
Pantsers can take a look at their annual social media calendar whenever they're stuck and instantly have a social media idea to get them back on track. Plotters can use their annual social media calendar to fill out their monthly social media calendars, a day-by-day listing of what they're going to blog and post about so they'll never have to wonder. But THAT is for another blog post (or you can contact me for more info).
May your social media posts be easy and fruitful in 2016!
Angelina M. Lopez is a freelance copywriter and social media manager who helps solopreneurs and small business owners tell their story. She’s the cheerleader, strategy partner, and — if necessary — whip cracker for her clients. In her rare moments of spare time, she aspires to be a fiction writer. She and her family live outside of Washington, D.C.
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