Social media strategies and decisions.

Starting a small business (self publishing) is like any other business. We have to be smart. Make wise decisions: Where to spend money? How to spend our work time? What products are we going to offer?

I’d like to say I wrote a business plan, a production plan, and marketing plan and never wavered. But it seems like some of those plans are in a constant state of flux. Yes, I have them. Not as detailed as some I’ve seen but they work for me.

Why am I restrategizing?

I’ll be honest. I’m in the middle of a social media crisis. I’m completely rethinking my strategies and feeling the desire to streamline and be more effective. Not just in blogging.

A few things kind of hit me over the head as to why I decided this.

First, recently, I did a cover reveal for a friend, but at the top of it I added a bit of a writing tip that I’d stumbled upon. I just wanted to add something personal to the post. You can probably guess what happened. That post skyrocketed and got a zillion more hits and retweets than usual.

Second, lately on Twitter, all I see are links or rants. No conversation. It’s changed. I’ll admit it. I do enjoy the #chats because people are interacting for real. More of my conversations happen in DMing and email.

Third, I jumped on my Google Reader to catch up on blogs and comment. I do this once a week. This time it was later in the week and I expected to have a ton of blogs to go through.

Guess what? My feed, which at one point would be out of control if I waited a few hours into the day–I made it through in about ten minutes. And hardly any of the posts were personal. Business. Cover reveals. Promotion. That’s fine. I’m contributing. But I miss the personal connection. I read all of them, but I only comment on ones where I have something to say.

Or maybe it’s always been this way and it’s me that’s changing, wanting something different from social media.

So I’m going past the marketing plan and truly writing a social media plan. For me, that’s different than marketing, especially for authors of fiction.

Have you changed your strategies at all? Or rethought them?

Hop on over to the Indelible blog where I’m posting about satisfaction and keeping your eyes on your own paper.


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26 Responses to Social media strategies and decisions.

  1. Jessica Bell March 25, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Oh yes, I have. I’m really tired of all the cover reveals, etc, and so I really try to stay away from posting those things on my blog, unless they are a really good friend. That’s why on Mondays, I make sure to post something personal about myself, and Wednesdays, I have the Artist Unleashed feature, where people get an opportunity to promote themselves, but only in the form of an inspirational guest post. Sometimes I post three times a week, if something crops up, but generally it’s just the Monday and Wednesday now.

    Re other social media, I’m not too keen on Twitter. But I’m experimenting with World Literary Cafe, which have tweet teams, where you join a team. You tweet all their tweets and they tweet yours. Nice way to cross promote.

    Facebook. I love facebook. That’s where I get involved in conversation.

    • Laura March 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      I figured you’d done something like that Jessica b/c I noticed all the promotional tweets in your stream. 🙂

      Honestly? I don’t ask the blogging community for cover reveals anymore. There’s just too much of it.

      • Jessica Bell March 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        Hehe, yeah … bit of an overload to me. I think I might just have to do it a couple times a week.

  2. Jemi Fraser March 25, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    I’ve been thinking about this too. I’ve definitely backed up on the blogging – I never did make a schedule, but now I blog less – 6 or 7 times a month. I do still enjoy twitter when I can talk to people, but you’re right, there are more and more links.

    • Laura March 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      6 or 7 times a month is still good. I want to help my friends and celebrate them, but I need to find a more effective way to do it. 🙂

  3. Natalie Aguirre March 25, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    I’m seeing blogging getting quieter too. But I really think it’s an important platform where we can share so much more than on something like Twitter (which I need to join) and Facebook. There is so much on Facebook that I can’t get through it all hardly ever. So chances are, I’ll miss your important news there. If I want to see what my daughter is posting I go to her page sometimes because it gets lost in all the posts. I think it’ll be the same on Twitter.

    I’m re-evaluating too. I want my blogging to build friendships and connections. For some really small blogs that never follow back, I am considering how much to visit them. It’s all about finding the right balance. Hope you’ll share more on this. I’m planning a post in early June about this too. I’m too booked until then and really don’t want to blog more than 2-3 days a week. So I had to schedule it in.

    • Laura March 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      I’m not sure what the changes will look like for me yet. They might just be small changes but I’ll feel the difference more than others will see them. 🙂

  4. Heather Kelly March 25, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Blogging and everything is changing. When a friend (non-writing) asked me about why I started my blog, I answered, “it’s how I found writing community.” I honestly don’t know how new writers are going to find community since it seems that there is less out there, on blogs and twitter. Maybe facebook is the new blog? I don’t know.

    But, I have to admit that my favorite thing about social media is how changeable it is. That it is ever evolving to reflect the pulse of the internet. Maybe we should hire a social media guru to keep us in the know!

    • Laura March 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

      I wouldn’t trade all my blogging for anything. I love the community and the friends I’ve found. But it really hits home when you realize that your blogging audience is a small small fraction of where my sales come from. Everything helps but writers are busy and have ten other friends with a book coming out.

  5. Sheri Larsen March 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    You’re making some great points. I’ve been thinking a lot about the social media arena, too. I’ve really noticed a shift in some media such as Twitter. I agree. All I see are RTs and such. Blogging for me used to consist of five days, then three, and now I’m down to two. I haven’t cut back only because of time consumption, but because of quality. If I’m going to say something, I want it to have value and not simply take up space.

    • Laura March 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      I agree. A big thing is that to get the reach you want, you almost have to post about writing or something sensation in publishing industry. And when I published, I decided I didn’t want that to be part of my brand. I wasn’t looking to publishing nonfiction.

      So that changes a lot too.

  6. Ansha Kotyk March 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    You know I was never into blogging. My blogs are painful to write. And I always have time constraints that make me feel guilty for not using that time to write the next book.
    I’m with Heather, I like that social media ebbs and flows, maybe it’ll change into something I can get into, or something that will make connection easier? who knows, that’s the fun part. 🙂

  7. Heather Kelly March 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    I came back to say that I wonder what debt we owe to just-starting-out writers–I feel that I want to pay forward the great blogging embrace I was given when I first started. I have this idea that we carry community wherever we go on-line, but maybe I need to think more about that, and figure out what that means for people just starting out. Where would they go to find it? Would they start a blog? I’m not sure.

    What does the idea that I am helping to carry community mean for each tweet and blog post that I write?

    You’ve got me thinking, Laura.
    Where has the community gone? Because I know it is still here somewhere.

    This feels slightly existential. LOL

  8. Kelly Polark March 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    I’ve noticed the change too. I like to connect personally with writers. I like the day to day exchanges on Twitter even about ordinary things. But I do have to sift through a lot to get to it on blogs and Twitter. Let’s get back to being a community and not a commercial…

  9. Anne Gallagher March 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    A friend and I were just talking about this over the weekend. We’ve both noticed a huge change in the blog world. It used to be fun, now it’s just cover reveals, blog hops, memes and what not.

    I think too, once you’re published your priorities change. When we were all newbies, just “writing”, blogging was a way to interact with other writers. Now that we’re published, there’s just soooo much more to do. Probably more than we ever thought. No matter how many “plans” we wrote up. (I have spreadsheets too.)

    I joined Twitter, and in the beginning it was fun, but now, like you said, it’s just a feed of crap. I don’t FB, but I’ve heard there are a lot of trolls on there, cutting people down. Making some authors miserable with their vitriol.

    I’ve come to the conclusion it’s all a balancing act. Twitter doesn’t sell books, any more than blog tours. I think we’re going to find it’s a matter of reviews on Goodreads that will make or break us. I’ve heard that’s the “in” platform to be on these days. But then, in a few months or a year, who knows, maybe it’ll be blogging again.

  10. Laura Marcella March 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I’ve noticed a lot of changes in how people are using social media, too. Just like with everything, it’s evolving and changing shape and we have to see how it fits for us in the moment. Good luck with whatever you choose to do in your social media presence!

  11. Heather McCorkle March 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    I’ve definitely changed my strategies and I’m seeing a lot of others do the same. There is a lot less blogging going on. I’ve seen the same thing you have on Twitter, a LOT of promoting, too much of it honestly, and not enough chatting. Choosing what to do and what not to is getting tougher by the day it seems!

  12. Laura March 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    I was pretty sure everyone noticed it. How can you not? For me, social media is about connecting with peers and keeping in touch with the industry, but as a published author it’s about being there for when fans want to find me. I’m not going to hunt them down via Twitter. 🙂 And my strategies will probably reflect this.

  13. Lisa Green March 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    LOL! I know who’s cover it was. He he. Yeah, I haven’t really changed much with my own social media strategies since the beginning other than cutting back slightly (oh and adding a group blog which is fun!). I still think mixing tweets is good, but I see way too many people following with only platform in mind. I ignore them and guess what? They go away. They only wanted me for their books. *sniff* There are so many titles out there, the only ones I pay attention to are A. My friends and those that i support as a person. OR B. The ones that REALLY get my attention, which is hard to do!

  14. Alex J. Cavanaugh March 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I’m not as good at socializing on Twitter as I could be, and yes, a lot of what I post there are links.
    I had the same revelation recently about wanting my blog to be more ‘me’ and less all promotion. I’ll still do that, but I want my voice in there somewhere.

  15. tracikenworth March 26, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    I, too, am noticing and skipping a LOT of cover reveals/author interviews etc. unless there’s something personal that draws me to them. Most of the time, the reveals done on almost all of the sites I visit, so it becomes a constant stream of the same book/s. I want to learn about the author and why I should read THIS book. Something about their craft, why they wrote the story, their writing journey, it all pulls me in. Just the advertising hurts in my opinion. I struggle with this because I know someday in the future, I’ll be getting my own book/s out there. I don’t want to spam anyone. I want to peak their interest. I can only do that by becoming a “person” to them, not another splatter of the same. I think you’re on the right track, Laura. It IS all about how we invite our reader in. We don’t want to whack them over the head with our book, they won’t read it that way!

  16. elle strauss March 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    I too, have seen the change, and have changed. I started off 5 days week, to 3 to whenever, and now it’s mostly about books.

    The reason being, imo, is this: at the height of blogging, everyone was seeking traditional publishing. We were all looking for an agent and crossing our fingers while on submission to editors. Both of those things took months and months. There was a lot of waiting and time to commiserate with each other on the pains of waiting. Whenever someone got “the deal”, their blog habits changed. They became less about the craft and more about the business. Less personal more about the book that needed selling.

    Now we all can have “the deal” if we want it. We don’t have the same kind of waiting around time we had back then. I know I don’t. I barely have time to get dressed or to eat if I want to keep up with the demands of my “deal.”

  17. Ansha Kotyk March 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Elle, I think you hit the nail on the head. And actually now that you say that it makes me realize how to adjust the goals that I have for my own website/blog. Thanks!!

  18. Margo Berendsen April 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I love all your points. Lots to think about here. We’re told to branch out from just a “writing” blog, but what if its writers that we connect with most? I know I’d connect with readers too, but readers don’t interact on blogs they just post reviews. (maybe i need to find them on other forums). It’s so confusing. Lots of readers on Twitter, I’ve never felt comfy with Twitter, I think I connect more with lengthy thoughtful posts than with short soundbites. Just some rambling thoughts here.

  19. Heather Sunseri April 3, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    Hi, Laura. I just stumbled upon this gem of a post as I was browsing my Google Reader for the first time in a while. I know exactly what you mean. Especially about Twitter. I jump on from time to time during tax season just to show people I’m still kicking but to be honest, I haven’t had a fun, real-live chat in a while unless it’s been as part of an actual #chat. All I get when I get on Twitter is links and more links. It doesn’t seem that too many people are on there to socialize anymore. It makes me a bit say, really.

    Hope you’re doing well. I’ve been crazy busy with taxes. But it’s nearing the end! 🙂

  20. Anna Staniszewski April 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Laura, this is such a great post. In fact, I think my blog post tomorrow will be inspired by it! 🙂

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