In light of all the natural disasters we are enduring in the US, history might not be forefront in everyone’s minds. Please know that all of us here at Story Empire hold in our hearts all those suffering from the recent fires and hurricanes, and we have not forgotten all those precious lives lost during the attacks on 9/11.
Social media is part of a writer’s life, whether we like it or not. We need to learn how to use it in a way that will keep us from looking like we use the “set it and forget it” method of posting but will also keep us from spending hours on social media every day.
There are several tools we can use, and I can’t address all of them here, but I do want to talk about one of them—BufferApp, or Buffer.
There are a few rules of social media marketing that we simply can’t avoid:
- it’s necessary
- frequent exposure increases visibility
- graphic posts perform better than text
Buffer can help with all these points.
We have to post. There’s no avoiding it. A good rule of posting is to share other people’s works more than your own. You don’t want to be the author shouting “Buy My Book” from the rooftops. (Or, in this case, from every corner of the Internet.)
Finding content to share is simple. If it’s something you find compelling, then readers like you may also be interested.
- Subscribe to blogs whose content you enjoy, then click a share button.
- Follow trending topics, then share the posts you find interesting.
- Search hashtags relevant to your genre, then repost that content.
Yes, you can and should share your own original content. Just make sure you share more about others than yourself.
It’s not enough to post. You want to post often. And you want to interact. That’s really the key. If someone shares your content, answer them with a heartfelt thank you. If you see content that you like, don’t just share. Tell the author what you enjoyed about their post. We talked about drip campaigns in an earlier post. Don’t just post once. Post the same post several times so people recognize the content as well as your name.
Use of Graphics
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” How often have we heard that? We focus so much on book cover art because of that premise. The same is true of social media. Pictures, photos, GIFs, videos… all these things make your posts stand out. It’s not too hard to do this for your own posts, but sharing other authors’ works with graphics and comments across multiple media outlets can take a lot of time.
Wait a minute, Staci. You said you wanted to prove that sharing other people’s content more than your own was a good strategy. But you also said it wouldn’t take us long. This sounds tedious and time-consuming.
It does sound that way. And traditionally, it can be.
Unless you use Buffer.
Buffer is like any other social media app you want to use. You need to register for an account and then link that account to your social media applications. It’s not hard to do. It only takes a few minutes, and the app walks you through the process.
Note: While you’re setting up your account, you will want to install the extension for your taskbar. I wouldn’t skip that step, but you won’t need it often. There is an even easier way to use Buffer, and I’ll show you below.
Buffer has a free version and paid versions. As you would expect, the paid version gives you more options. But I use the free version, and it’s more than adequate for my needs. I’ve linked to my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram accounts. (See below.)
Once you’ve registered and linked your accounts, you’ll want to select which account you want to post to. I find it’s easiest to have all four accounts active, and if I don’t want to post a particular post to one or more of those accounts, I simply deselect it by clicking on it, and then the posting box goes away. (See below.)
When I’m on a post I want to share through Buffer, I simply click on the “Tweet” button. That brings up the window I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with. But in addition to the “Tweet” button, there’s a “Buffer” button. Click that. That will take you to your Buffer share screen. (See below.)
From there, any app you’ve activated will be ready to share. I start at the top and work my way down.
First (based on how I’ve organized my apps) is the Twitter post. There I can write my own message, include hashtags, insert up to four pictures from the post, and tag people. (See below.)
Second on my account is Facebook. Facebook does not allow a third-party app to create content for a user, so I’ll have to manually create my post there. But I can still add a photo, hashtags… whatever I’d put in a Facebook post. (See below.)
Third and fourth on my list are Instagram and Google+. Instagram gives me several photos to choose from, although I can only choose one. Google+ usually chooses the picture for me. In each of these windows, I can once again customize my message.
When I’m done, I have a few of options. I can “Share Now” (which will post my post to all my social media accounts immediately). I can “Add to Queue” (which puts all my posts in a queue to be shared at a specified time during the day). Or I can “Share Next” (which lets the posts share in the next assigned time slot in the scheduler).
I usually use the “Share Now” option, because the free plan only gives me a limited number of time slots before my queue is full, but I can always share immediately. Still, the schedule option is nice if you want your posts to hit social media at a specified time.
Also of note: You can use Buffer for your own posts in addition to posts by others. Yes, WordPress offers you the Publicize option, which sends your post automatically to assigned social media outlets, but Buffer gives you more customization options, so they’ll look nicer than what you get automatically from WordPress.
So, there you have it. A brief look at how Buffer can let you schedule and/or share social media content quickly, across multiple platforms, with graphics, which will ultimately improve your social media marketing efforts.
I hope you found this information useful. I know I only scratched the surface, but it’s a good starting point, I think. Remember, though, the most important part of social media marketing is interaction. Don’t forget to thank or answer or offer compliments to get those dialogues—and ultimately, those relationships—started.