Today bloggers and authors must use social media to market their posts and books. Social media marketing represents an integral part of attracting readers and selling books. In this guest post, Jennifer Brown Banks (@PENPROSPER1) provides the essential elements of any effective social media marketing plan. Plus, several writers add their best social media marketing tips as well.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” ~Benjamin Franklin
Think of your social media marketing plan as a “G.P.S.” system to help navigate your online journey from where you are to where you want to go.
A social media marketing plan is simply a written game plan or map that governs how you will approach your social media activities over a given period of time to increase your odds for success—whatever that means to you.
Hootsuite.com defines a social media marketing plan as:
The summary of everything you plan to do and hope to achieve for your business (or blog) using social networks. This plan should comprise an audit of where your accounts are today, goals for where you want them to be in the near future, and all the tools you want to use to get there.
A social media marketing plan provides:
- A specific course to follow, thereby saving time, energy, detours and confusion.
- Greater structure, direction, and detailed information for your online marketing efforts, which can enhance efficiency.
- A more strategic and laser-focused approach to meeting specific goals.
Components of a Successful Social Media Marketing Plan
Though there are different schools of thought on the necessary components for a social media marketing plan, minimally your plan should address the following:
WHO is your target audience?
Are they clients? Editors? Other writers? Celebrities? Book buyers? Knowing your audience determines your language, tone, core messaging, and update content. Additionally, if you wish to monetize your site, having a clear demographic and identifiable audience helps potential advertisers immediately to recognize how partnering with you can help them reach their goals, expand their customer base and increase their bottom line. It’s a “no-brainer.”
WHAT are your short and long-term goals?
Is your goal to sell books? Gain clients? Attract an agent or publisher? Share ideas with other writers? Increase awareness of an important cause or social issue? The clearer you are, the more likely you are to achieve your desired results. Start with a written plan to optimize your efforts.
WHEN will you conduct your activities?
Will you “Tweet your Peeps” once a week? Blog daily? Post on Facebook every six hours? How many hours per day will you spend on these activities? Without specifics, social media can be a time suck and sabotage your writing productivity.
WHERE will you concentrate your efforts?
Will you focus on Facebook? Pinterest? LinkedIn? Choose three primary forums based upon your goals and desired connections (personal or professional).
HOW will you measure or evaluate your success?
Put a system or specific metrics in place for strategic assessment. For example, would you like to have 2000 Twitter followers in six months? 50 “likes” on each of your shared links or messages? $100.00 in new business leads weekly.
Your goals will dictate your social media game plan.
Success Tips for Your Social Media Marketing Plan
To broaden your knowledge base and horizons, I have provided expert advice from veteran freelancers on their social media and blogging strategies.
Yuwanda Black, Editor of Inkwell Editorial
- Use automation tools like HootSuite.com and SocialOomph.com. You can pre-schedule posts, days, weeks or even a year in advance with most of them. This one thing alone will save you time every day.
- Another important strategy: “SEO” your social media profiles. For example, if you’re a health writer, legal writer or insurance writer, put that in your profile so if someone is searching for a writer in one of those niches, they easily can find you. Many freelancers don’t do this, but that’s how many users search for specialists. Help them find you!
- Connecting with clients and editors through social media is becoming easier. But you have to be proactive about it (i.e. reach out to prospective clients and make a connection first). Follow them, visit their sites and find out what their business is all about. Then, you can proactively market to them, (for example, I saw your recent post on X, and thought I could expand on that by making it into a case study for you).
Yuwanda Black is the founder of New Media Words, an online (SEO) writing company. She’s the author of The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook and teaches freelancers how to make money writing … for themselves or for others. She can be found online at InkwellEditorial.com.
Karen E. Lange, Author and Online Instructor
- Make your posts do double duty. Many social media outlets allow you to post through them onto other sites. This saves time and covers more social media ground. For instance, I set up my Facebook author page’s posts to automatically appear on Twitter too. Others, such as Pinterest and Instagram provide the same options. Check the settings to see what options are available. One word of caution – if you are, for example, a frequent pinner on Pinterest, and your account is linked to Facebook, your feed can be flooded with posts. So check the settings and see how much you want to share or not.
- Develop a social media plan. Like any other area in life, a plan helps lend purpose, direction, and focus. A social media plan can help writers streamline their efforts, enabling them to use their time and energy more efficiently. In today’s busy world, “working smarter, not harder” offers great benefits.
Karen Lange is an author, freelance writer, editor, and online writing instructor at theCoffeehouse for Writers. Her articles have appeared in parenting, educational, writing, and other publications. She is a big fan of dark chocolate, hockey, and her two grandsons. Find her at karenelange.blogspot.com.
Donna Goodrich, Christian Writer and Editor
- Control your privacy settings. You have control over who sees what. Facebook provides settings that let you select who can see the various sections of your profile and your update activity.
Donna Clark Goodrich is a freelance writer, editor, author, and speaker. She is the author of 23 books and over 700 published manuscripts. She enjoys teaching at Christian writers conferences. Visit her at www.thewritersfriend.net.
Angela Hoy, Editor and Owner at Writers Weekly
- Be anal about spelling and punctuation and, by all means, unless your book or blog is political in nature, always avoid discussing politics. When you do, you’re going to automatically offend around half of your readers.
Angela Hoy is an editor, author and publisher. Find her at WritersWeekly.com. Also check out BookLocker.com, Abuzz Press and PublishAndPromote.com.
Susan Maccarelli, Founder of Beyond Your Blog
- Focus on just one or two platforms and really focus on them. Don’t try to do every platform or you will drive yourself crazy and probably end up doing none of them well. Really, it is okay to only do one — at least until you are rich and can pay someone to do them all for you!
- Simply putting your services and intentions out to your network of friends can bring clients your way. Having a platform in the form of a fan page of some kind or group gives you even greater reach to connect with someone directly or someone who knows someone who can use your services.
- Manage the “madness” by having a social media marketing plan. I have a checklist for sharing that happens on Facebook that I pre-schedule weekly. I can batch it and be done for the week. I have similar (though less involved) strategies for Twitter and Pinterest, and that’s it! Once my checklists are done, I really stay off of the platforms other than group activities and an occasional feed browse. It saves me tons of time trying to figure out what I need to do AND keeps me from getting lost in the abyss.
Susan Maccarelli is the creator of Beyond Your Blog, a resource site that focuses on helping bloggers successfully submit their writing for publishing opportunities beyond their personal blogs. Her site is a one-stop shop where bloggers can easily find everything they need to get started submitting their writing, from submission and pitching tips, to directories of submission opportunities. Susan has interviewed dozens of editors from publications such as the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Brain, Child, Chicken Soup For The Soul, and The Washington Post. Her own writing has appeared on such sites as Blogher, Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, Mamapedia, BLUNTmoms, BonBon Break, Mamalode, and in several anthologies including I Still Just Want to Pee Alone. Susan has spoken at conferences and events including BlogHer ’15, International Bloggers Association, BlogU, and Bloggers at Midlife.
Remember, a Social Media Marketing plan is a great way to “work smarter, not harder” in 2017 and to reach greater heights with less stress.
About the Author
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, relationship columnist, ghost writer, award-winning blogger and author. Her work has appeared in various online and print publications including:.ProBlogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, Women on Writing and the Well-Fed Writer E-zine.
Banks is the managing editor of Coffeehouseforwriters.com, where she also teaches creative writing classes. When she’s not at the keyboard, she loves cooking, reading, “Jeopardy,” music, and shopping.
Find out more about Jennifer here: http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com/