Top Time Savers for Social Media and Blogging

 

Image shows an alarm clock in the foreground and the post title, "Top Time Savers for Social Media" by Elizabeth S. Craig is superimposed. by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

The biggest complaint I hear from writers is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that we need to do.

Tasks facing writers include reading publishing-related news, doing research, promoting, updating websites and social media…on top of working on our books.

And most everyone is doing the above in addition to a day job, parenting, or caregiving.

It’s a lot, for sure.  The only thing that I can recommend is that we save time where we can.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my own biggest ways of saving time.  With these methods I give myself more time to do…whatever.  It could be more time to write, more time to do housework/cook/run errands, more time to spend with my family.

I started to include all of my tips in one post, but realized it was far too long for a post. I’ve divided them up by category: social media and blogging, writing, book production, and general tips.  I’ll run this series on Fridays for the next month.

Social Media

It’s commonly referred to as a time suck and it certainly can be. For this reason, I keep myself off of social media as much as I can. If I spent as much time on Twitter as I appear to, I’d never get anything done.

I schedule social media shares. There’s a whole line of thought against doing this that revolves around the fact that this is a less-authentic approach to social media.  I get that, but I only think it’s applicable if you’re spamming everyone with your book release. I’m sharing helpful information and resources for writers, and at 12-15 shares a day, I’d rather not pop on Twitter each time I do so.

My favorite tool is Hootsuite for wrangling social media.  I use the pro version, but only because I use their bulk upload feature.  The free version works well. You can schedule shares for the week on nearly every social media platform you’d like (Instagram is oddly resistant to this, but there are other ways to schedule to Instagram).

You can also configure Hootsuite to track certain keywords for you (helpful if you’re researching a book or trying to learn a new promo approach).  You click “add a stream” and then click the “keyword” tab to set this up.

Twitter lists: This one is platform specific. I think a lot of people miss the point about Twitter and come away feeling frustrated. Its most helpful purpose is as a means of sharing information.  And you can configure it to share what you find most helpful by using Twitter lists.

Click on your profile picture, then click ‘lists.’  In the sidebar on the right, you’ll see ‘create new list.’ Then you can add people or organizations that you follow.

Instead of looking at your home screen for Twitter, go to your lists to monitor what you’ve found to be your most helpful follows.  I have one that’s for writers and industry pros who post interesting information. I have several lists that I subscribe to that originated with others (this is a nice shortcut–just subscribe to some other writer’s list).  I also have a private one that helps me follow events at my child’s high school. You never have to go to your crazy, spammy, headache-inducing home screen again, if you don’t want to.

Sharing blog posts: I automatically share my blog posts on both Twitter and Facebook.  For Facebook, I use the “Facebook Auto Publish” plugin for WordPress and for Twitter, I use Hootsuite.  Otherwise, I tend to forget to share my posts to a wider audience.

Writing blog posts:  I found that I don’t really have the time to sit down at the computer and think up a blog post the day before running it.  The brainstorming just eats up too much of my time.  I’ve found that it’s better if I take a longer period of time and carefully plan my posts for at least the next month (the schedule can always be altered for guest posts or for a post that’s more time-sensitive).

Reading blog posts:

I curate links for writers, so I read a lot of blogs. But you may find an RSS reader helpful for many reasons–maybe you want an organized format to follow publishing news or writing craft news or even to get recipes from cooking blogs. An RSS feed reader (I use Feedly) helps with this.

Feedly is free to use and you can divide your feeds by category (writing related, publishing related, publishing news…and even personal: parenting blogs, recipe blogs, etc.) . To add a specific blog to your feed reader, you can either add content from inside the feed reader (by web address or keyword) or you can add it by clicking on the RSS feed button on the blog you’re interested in adding (for instance, I’ve got the orange RSS feed button as the first button on my ‘subscribe’ section on the top right sidebar on this page). It’s a helpful way to visit blogs of writers you follow as well as an organized and quick way to access information and resources.

How do you save time on social media or as a blogger? What have I missed?

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24 thoughts on “Top Time Savers for Social Media and Blogging

  1. There are so many tools to manage social media and blog following. Here’s what I do:

    My audience is primarily female and over 25 (mostly over 30). They hang out on Facebook and Pinterest and, to a lesser degree, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    I use SocialJukebox to manage posts to all Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn including to Facebook fan pages for another business I own besides to my author fan page. It’s been a huge timesaver.

    The beauty of SocialJukebox is that it gives you a tool you can use (in Chrome and Firefox) to grab images and articles as your reading and plug them into the rotation for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. No more saving links and graphics then cutting and pasting them or looking for the link on the page to share it right then and there. It’s scheduling tools are top notch too.

    I have a Pinterest tool similar to the SocialJukebox tool that lets me pin interesting things to that site but it works in real time.

    My blog post automatically go out to all of those sites and to G+ with proper links and hashtags using JetPack.

    I use RoundTeam at the $9.99 US per month level to retweet to Twitter. You can set up profiles there that will pull from your Twitter lists or from hashtags and retweet what is found. Retweeting builds goodwill for you. People you retweet will retweet your stuff. That level gives me about 20 retweets a day which is just enough that people aren’t having to scroll endlessly looking for something original that I tweeted to retweet when they reciprocate. It also helps to have a pinned tweet available for these folks looking to retweet you.

    Tweetdeck is free and it lets you see 4 things at once. Your home screen, notifications, messages and other activity (who’s following who, etc.). You can respond to messages and deal with notifications right from there.

    I have a free profile set up at AllTop that filters all the publishing industry blogs I follow and lots of other ‘top’ news (including this blog). A quick scan through MyAlltop gives me all the latest links. I can pick and choose what I want to read, go right out to the link and then share that via SocialJukebox or Pinterest if I so choose. AllTop is a good place to go when you need to find a few interesting things to post that aren’t all about you and your stuff, especially for Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Using the combination of all of those tools over the last few months, I’ve seen a small increase in Facebook followers but my posts are getting much more reach. I’ve seen major improvements from Twitter. I get at least a dozen more followers a day (and many are coming from LinkedIn), I have far more engagement on Twitter and I’m getting traffic to my site and my books even though my audience there seems to be primarily other authors (who do read!) and tech people from my former life as a tech recruiter.

    Pinterest drives traffic for me too but it’s a whole different animal. You can schedule pins through different tools, yes but you have to go there in the first place and set up all of your boards and follow people and boards. There’s no way around some of the time suck that is Pinterest but I’ve found that the more I put into it, the more I get out of it.

    1. This is why I love blogging so much. :) So many good ideas here, Anne! I’m familiar with SocialJukebox, but didn’t know about the cool sharing tool.

      Hootsuite is similar to Tweetdeck, it sounds like. I’m using Hootsuite Pro, but only because I’m curating so many links. I might have to see if Tweetdeck offers a free bulk uploader (since I’m definitely not opposed to saving $10 a month!)

      I couldn’t seem to warm to Pinterest (although I have a meager presence there). It’s a shame because I have a lot of readers there.

      Thanks for the great ideas, Anne! Hope you have a good weekend.

  2. I like your ideas for saving time, Elizabeth. That’s the thing about social media. It’s important to use it, but it’s a much better servant than master. I’m right there with you about automatic posts, too. I find they save me a tremendous amount of time, and they’re fairly easy to set up.

  3. I started using Hootsuite and I really like it. I use to have it set when my blog post posted it would automatically sent it to Twitter, but the timing wasn’t good and it was just the title. Now I schedule it at a better time, pick something I think will be more interesting for twitter peeps and add a picture.

    I didn’t know about the keywords, so I’m trying that right now. I figured out how to make the Twitter lists work (not that it was hard) and that’s helped a lot.

    And I also use Feedly. I organize the blogs into categories, which helps me too.

  4. My wife does social media for authors, and her 3 go-to tools are

    Basecamp for managing stuff (probably not necessary unless you have a team)
    Hootsuite for all the reasons you list
    Manageflitter (https://manageflitter.com/) for all things Twitter

    She’s very expensive but somehow I’ve always been able to afford her services . . .

  5. Thanks for these tips!

    I’ve been using CoSchedule, which isn’t cheap, but you can create custom templates for social sharing, and it covers everything–and just added Instagram, though I haven’t tried that yet, because I’ve been using Later for Instagram until now. You can even set up a queue for re-sharing your top posts, but that’s an extra paid feature and I haven’t paid for that yet. :D

    I also LOVE Tweetdeck, and use that personally, but it doesn’t have a bulk-uploading feature, unless I’ve seriously overlooked something. So at work, where I also manage our social media, I use the pro version of Hootsuite. They do much the same thing aside from bulk scheduling.

    1. Stephanie–I’ve heard good things about CoSchedule. I didn’t realize they could schedule Instagram. I really need to schedule my Instagram posts to get more regular over there.

      Another Tweetdeck fan! Good to know about the lack of bulk scheduling there…thanks. I’ll keep plugging along with my Hootsuite Pro until that changes.

      1. After your post, I decided to delve more deeply into Hootsuite at work today. It’s more powerful than I had realized, and I really had a lot of fun with it! I’m looking forward to using it to make our social media presence stronger. You might have made me a convert! :)

        I’m also very bad at Instagram–I’m assuming that CoSchedule does it the same way Later and Hootsuite do, having you create the post, write the text, and schedule, and then when it’s time to post, Later pops up with a notification that you have to copy the post to Instagram to actually post. :)

        1. Stephanie–Oh good! And, of course, an added bonus to Hootsuite pro is that we get support…I probably need tech help once a year.

          Yes, that’s the annoying thing about Later, ha! When I want to schedule, I want to *schedule*. Who knows what I might be in the middle of when I get a notification to copy to Instagram (driving carpool, at the store?) Maybe Instagram will see the light and let those of us who want to schedule actually do it. :)

  6. Great tips! I don’t use social media as well as I should but I’m hoping my life settles a bit and I can soon. I do love tweetdeck, and scheduling tweets is a great idea :)

  7. I do the same as you, only I use buffer. I think I would have gone mad without it, because like you, I curate A LOT of content. And it now allows instagram scheduling, which is nice. :)

    I still am on social media more than I should. I need to get better or get help–I know how effective it is for connection, but I am finding it harder to juggle everything.

  8. Hi Elizabeth – thanks so much for these .. I will be going through the ideas and learning the new things you and your commenters recommend to us … thanks – have a good week – cheers Hilary

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