Focused Daily Monitoring for Social Media

I strongly encourage clients to spend 10-15 minutes each day to monitor their social media accounts. This can be challenging if you don't stay focused. It's so easy to get distracted by what's going on in social media and especially in your personal timeline on Facebook. Stay focused on your purpose to monitor your business accounts and be determined not to get sidetracked.

You can do it! I've timed myself more than once and I spend 10-15 minutes every morning doing this focused daily monitoring on my social media for business accounts. Later in the day I can spend time on my personal accounts.

My Daily Monitoring Routine

I did all this today in just under 9 minutes:

  • Log in to Instagram to check my business account
    1. Check notifications - new likes, comments, messages, new followers
    2. Respond to any comments, messages, new followers
    3. Review and like a few appropriate posts by others
  • Log in to LinkedIn
    1. Check notifications & messages
    2. Respond to any comments, messages, new network connections
    3. Review and like a few appropriate posts by others
  • Log in to Twitter
    1. Check notifications & messages
    2. Follow back as appropriate anyone new who has followed me
    3. Follow at least 5 new profiles
    4. Respond to any comments, messages
    5. Check my lists and like and retweet a few appropriate tweets by others
  • Log in to Facebook to check my business account
    1. Check notifications & messages
    2. Respond to any comments, messages, new connections
    3. Review and like a few appropriate posts by others

The process usually does only take me about 10 minutes each morning. Sometimes a bit longer if there are comments on articles I've posted or group discussions I'm participating in.

For each account, I check only my business accounts. I check my personal accounts later in the day.

I'm happy to answer any question you have about using social media if you'd like to leave it in the comments below. You can also schedule a consultation with me here.

Are You Following Everyone?

The more people you follow on social media, the more people follow you back, right?

Mathematically, it may be right.

From a marketing perspective, wrong.

Even if everyone you followed did follow you back, that doesn't mean they are the right people to follow.

A marketing expert on Twitter recently tweeted "don't make it a goal to appeal to everyone online." Great advice! It's more effective to appeal to those who are truly interested in your topic.

A couple hours later, though, they tweeted "follow random people . . . there's a chance they may follow you back . . . you may sell them something later".

I disagree. Don't just follow anybody hoping they'll follow back. Even if they do, they'll probably unfollow you when they realize your tweets aren't relevant to them after all.

And the goal of following people on social media should never be to "sell them something later". The goal is to Be Social and Get Noticed. If your followers get real value from your messages, they'll know how to find your book, product or services to buy.

That's why we are very selective about who we follow on our client's behalf. We look for people to follow who show an interest in our client's topics. We do this in two main ways:

  1. We review the bio/description to see if they have an interest in that topic.
  2. We review their tweets to see if they are tweeting about that topic and using related hashtags.

It's much better to have fewer, but relevant and engaged followers. We help our clients with engagement by:

  • Checking notifications to see who is engaging with and messaging a client, and responding as needed
  • Retweeting relevant content from Twitter lists we've helped create for a client
  • Sending thank you tweets to selected followers who retweet a client's tweets

Don't follow everyone, or just anyone - only those who want to follow you! Want to know how we can help with that? Just ask.

How do you keep up with all the changes in social media algorithms?

Short answer: you don't.

For the long answer, watch this 1-minute video:

Literary Agent Jennifer Chen Tran Answers My Questions

Jennifer Chen TranLiterary agent Jennifer Chen Tran graciously answered my questions. Thank you Jen! These questions were asked with the nonfiction author in mind. However, I let her know that if she had information that might differ for a fiction author, I'd love to know that as well.

What is the first step an author needs to take to find a literary agent? There's not one right way to find a literary agent, different methods work for different people. Publications like Writer's Digest Guide to Literary Agents or Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents, are good resources to start with and they are updated annually. There's also agent spotlights in various trade publications. I also suggest talking to other writers you know or looking at the Acknowledgements section of books you enjoy reading. Take notes. Read the agent's bio and get a sense of the authors she or he represents. This will help you narrow down the right agents for you.

Does an author need a literary agent in order to get a traditional publisher? Yes, if you are talking about the Big Five publishers. Editors and publishers need literary agents to be the initial gatekeepers since there is so much volume in the literary world. We sift and sort through the bad so that the editors can see what's good or better than good. Unless you have a direct relationship with an editor or are super famous (read: celebrity), it's difficult to get a book deal with the Book Five. On the other hand, if the publisher is independent or medium-sized, you may or may not need a literary agent to get a traditional deal. It depends on many factors such as whether you are a debut author, the type of book you are writing (fiction vs. non-fiction), etc.

Does a literary agent expect the author to already have in place the following: website, blog, social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn? For non-fiction I would say it's more important than ever to have a social media presence. At a minimum, you should have a website and/ or blog and some social media presence, whether it's on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. In my humble opinion, it's better to have a website than nothing at all but try to use your name as part of the website name. Also, more is not always better. If you are terrible at Twitter for instance, don't force yourself to do it 'just because,' but do try to stay open-minded about social media and see it from the publisher's perspective--who wouldn't want to buy a book from an author with a built-in audience? Social media is just one way to measure potential audience engagement but it's becoming very important, especially to secure non-fiction deals.

How often should an author blog? I think an author should blog at least twice a month. That seems to be a solid number that is realistic and won't subject readers to attention fatigue.

Is a larger social media following (i.e. many followers on Twitter) a factor in whether a literary agent or publisher accepts an author's manuscript over another author who may have a smaller social media following? I don't think social media would be the deciding factor, at least for me. I look at the whole picture--the book has to be compelling, the author has to be professional and work well with agent feedback, and yes, they do have to have a social media following of some sort but many of my authors have less established platforms when I sign them and we work together to achieve the most realistic social media numbers in a certain amount of time before pitching to publishers. So no, I don't use social media as a tie-breaker but it is important. As for publishers, you will have to ask them, but I do know that they take social media seriously and that often that is the weakest link in a proposal--sometimes the social media numbers just aren't high enough to warrant a deal for a particular book--there are always exceptions though.

Is a book proposal necessary to get a literary agent? A publisher? Does a fiction author need a book proposal? At this point in my career, I will not offer representation for a non-fiction author if the author doesn't have some semblance of a book proposal. The proposal doesn't need to be perfect but the author does need to show substantial effort and a solid understanding of who the audience is for his or her book and what the competitive books are. That gives me a really good sense of whether the author 'gets' why the book is needed and also how to market it. I believe the same is required of most, if not all publishers of non-fiction--if you don't know how to market your own book, how can you expect the publisher to do all the heavy lifting? Fiction is sold on the strength of the manuscript, not a proposal, so no, for fiction a book proposal is not needed.

Does a book proposal need to have a section about social media marketing? Yes, absolutely. Ignore at your own peril.

Does a literary agent and a traditional publisher do marketing for the author? I've been told, "Most agents don't care whether you have a website, a blog or a social media platform". I think any literary agent that is invested in his or her author's career would be willing to brainstorm marketing and promotion ideas. But the more you bring to the table as an author, the better. In my view, publishing and publishing well requires you to have a big picture mentality and that includes marketing! Marketing doesn't always have to be expensive to produce results but you do need to be strategic and not put all your eggs in one basket. Remember, agents work on commission--our job is to get you the best deal for your investment but we do not and should not have to originate all of your marketing ideas. Remember, this is your book, why wouldn't you want to use all the tools available to market your book successively and get the word out?

The more successful authors are those that take an active role in promotion and marketing, not those who passively expect the agent and/ or editor and publisher to do everything for them. While it's true that publishers do help with marketing and promotion, some of the best ideas again, come from the author. Publishers are relying more and more on authors to have original ideas regarding marketing and promotion--they will help you build a plan based on the foundation you have provided. And I heartily disagree with whomever said that agents don't care whether you have a website, blog, etc.--even for fiction, you need to build your author brand and presence, and that includes being on the internet! If I can't find an author online, whether for fiction or non-fiction, I really hesitate, as an agent. So the short of it is that the answer is somewhere in between: you can't do nothing but you aren't expected to do everything if you have the right partnership with the right publisher.

Jennifer Chen Tran
Literary Agent
Bradford Literary 
@jenchentran

6 Ways to Get Your Book Noticed Using Social Media

There are of course many ways to market and get your book noticed on social media. Here are two specific ways for each of the following social media platforms. Some of these are less in-your-face book marketing and more about connecting with people so they want to learn more about you and your book.

Twitter

  1. Promote interesting quotes from your book. You probably have a ton of interesting tips or tidbits in your nonfiction book. Share those quotes in fun ways that engage your audience and encourages them to share with your audience. It’s fun to use a graphic-design tool such as Canva.com to do this. If you have images in your books, you can upload these to Canva, overlay your quote, and share these on Twitter. Images like that tend to get more likes and shares than plain text messages. You can do the same thing with book reviews. Take your 5-star book reviews from Amazon and post short excerpts of them in an image that you share. Here is a PDF I created with some sample images I created for my own nonfiction book.
  2. Tweet Your Milestones. Did you just send your manuscript off to the editor? Did your cover designer just give you the final cover design? Did you just sell 100 copies to a local school? Tweet about it. And you can make it fun for others to share by creating an image in Canva.com with the text being your milestone (Just sold 100 copies!)

Facebook

  1. Like other pages related to your topic. Do this as your own page. Here's how: go to a page you want to like and click on the box with the ellipses right under the main banner and to the right of the Like, Follow, Share boxes. A box pops up and one of the options is Like as your Page. That’s what you want to click. You may find that page reciprocates and likes your page as well. The big advantage here though is that now you can like and comment on their page as your own page – not just you as your personal profile. This is a great way to get more exposure for your own page. Your comments might be tips you can share from your own book. You don’t want to be too self-promotional when you do that. Just share the tip as your own page and say there’s more information found in Chapter 10, for example, of your book. Let people come ask you more about it. I also suggest sharing your Facebook page posts on your personal timeline with a comment.
  2. Invest in ads. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. In fact, you can spend as little as $1 per day. I suggest starting small and testing to see what works and what doesn’t and then later you can work with a larger budget if you want. Several of my clients have run a one-week ad for just $7 and found they get great results. They get more page likes, engagement, and their posts reach a much larger audience. I learned about this $1 per day idea from Dennis Yu of Blitz Metrics and highly recommend investing in his course. You can sign up for the course at blitzmetrics.com/fdd/. With the recent changes at Facebook, this is one way your page is more likely to be seen – particularly if you pay to boost posts that are already getting engagement – which means people are commenting on the post.

LinkedIn

  1. Publish articles on LinkedIn Pulse. Write articles related to your book topic and publish these on LinkedIn to showcase your expertise. It’s very easy. When you log in to LinkedIn one of your choices to post is to write an article. Include an image and a link at the end of your article to where they can learn more about you – your website or Amazon author page. These articles can be seen by people who aren’t even connected to you. Be sure to follow up and reply to any comments made on your articles. Remember to view the analytics for your articles to see how many people are viewing them, liking them, and sharing them.
  2. Utilize groups. If you haven’t yet joined any groups, do so. Find groups related to your book’s topic and join them. Then engage in conversations already there. As with any social network, enlighten and educate with your comments. Show your expertise so people will want to come view your profile, connect with you, and eventually learn about your book. You might even consider starting your own group.

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