If you’re anything like me, January isn’t so much a chance for resolutions and fresh starts as it is a reminder that now is no time to slack off. Things are still crazy!
For my part, I never make resolutions because I dislike it when I break them—but this January I did get really organized. I bought a gorgeous paper planner that is so pretty it’s a sure I’ll look at and use it, and I started a budget and finance binder. I might or might not have organized all our contact info into a Household Home Base Binder.
One area where I still need help is social media—for my business, for my writing. There’s so much of it and the sheer possibilities can be overwhelming. How do you keep up with it all without losing your mind? One of my website clients, the lovely and fantastic Kristin Lippert Martin, nailed it when she said to me, “I have Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, a blog, and Facebook—and it’s exhausting.”
What I know is this: Not every social media channel works for every type of business, and you have to spend a little time getting to know which one works for you. But you probably shouldn’t ignore them altogether. How? Glad you asked.
Do what you like.
This is a no-brainer, but there’s pressure these days to be on everything, otherwise we’ll feel left behind, especially if you’re of an age where the internets came into your life as a teenager or in your early twenties. If you hate a social channel, don’t use it!
For me, Twitter works best. I am not going to Tumblr, and filming myself for YouTube is never going to happen. I resisted Instagram for a long time, but it turns out I like it. I hate Facebook. I’ve got enough going on in life to know that forcing myself to use the channels I dislike is silly. Do what you like!
But here’s the thing—set it up so the other channels are taken care of anyway. How? Glad you asked.
There are a few websites that know there are those of us who want to be everywhere, but dislike many of the channels. Thank goodness! My most favorite of these is If This Then That (ifttt.com), which is a fantastic resource. Set a "recipe" so that every time you publish a blog post (for example), it publishes that post to twitter and intsagram and Tumblr for you—or however you like! It works all ways, so that an Instagram post can go to Twitter or Facebook or whatever. This saves you oodles of time, but its downfall is that it does not engage for you. So you’ll post—but people will figure out it’s an auto-post. (Meh. You might not care.)
A similar tool is Postso, which allows you to schedule posts across all your channels. Pinterest, Facebook—you name it. Postso isn’t free, but if this kind of thing takes up your time, it could be a worthwhile expense.
The one drawback with recipe sites is posting to Instagram. Instagram does not want any program posting to it, so it’s not possible to push posts to it from other channels.
But let’s say you hate using your phone to handle Instagram, and yet you heard there’s a significant writer community on it. What do you do to make things easier on yourself? Glad you asked.
Bluestacks simulates a tablet or phone environment—on your desktop. What this means is you can use Instagram on your desktop and therefore get around the painful typing out of all those hashtags and things with your sausage fingers making typos every two seconds and Autocorrect embarrassing you with scatological or swear word corrections. It also means you can cut and paste from your other posts. It’s not perfect, but it’s free and it is a tremendous relief to be able to upload photos from my desktop or type out a long comment from my keyboard. I use it plus my mobile Instagram app, and the combination works really well.
All these tools are nice, you might be thinking, but none of them truly help you stay organized when it comes to getting that content out there. How do you manage that? Glad you asked.
Consider keeping really organized with binders.
I’m saying this because I’m super into paper planners these days, but I think there’s something to be said for writing something down and it sticking in your brain better than typing it. And there’s that out of sight out of mind thing, too. I can’t see where I type and file things away on my laptop, but I can see a pretty binder full of info on my desk.
A blogging binder could be too organized for some (possibly me), but for others it could be that kick start that you need. A blogging binder might look like this:
- A sheet for blogging topic ideas
- A sheet for your blogging schedule
- A sheet for your blogging goals, by week, month, or year if needed
- A sheet to show how the traffic is affected by your efforts
You can make these sheets up yourself in Word, or download a starter version. Here are a few places:
Strange and Charmed shows you what one looks like
Measuring Flower has free printables for a blog binder
If you want to go all the way with this, here’s the Epic Blog one year editorial calendar, $16.65 from Amazon. It’s a bit much, but hey—whatever works!
And my favorite, the Ultimate Blog Planner Kit is a free download.
How about you? How do you handle the madness of keeping up with social media? What tools do you use to keep it all under control?
Sierra Godfrey writes fiction with international settings and always a mention of football (soccer) or two. She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and a quarterly contributor to Writers in the Storm. She writes weekly about Spanish football for various sports sites, and is also a freelance graphic designer. She lives in the foggy wastelands of the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.
Come visit her at www.sierragodfrey.com or talk with her on Twitter @sierragodfrey.