Ah social media, the double-edged sword of book marketing. On one hand, it is a fantastic tool for reaching readers, building a following and promoting your books, on the other, it can be a major source of distraction and wasted time. How often have you lost hours with endless scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter? Or fallen down the YouTube video worm-hole? After doing so, many authors resort to avoiding social media entirely, costing themselves readers and book sales. Enough of this madness! Here's how to market your book without frittering away those precious writing hours.

How Authors Can Save Time on Social Media

Plan and Automate

Streamline your social media marketing through planning and automation. Use a journal, online program or app to plan out your social media content in advance, so you know what you are posting ahead of time. Your content doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to speak to your readers. Set a schedule that is consistent but easy-to-maintain. One post every two weeks is better than a blitz of posts followed by silence. Set up automatic posting with free automation tools, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, and set aside a regular time, once a month or every second month, to review your social media analytics.

Set Boundaries Around Social Media

If you know that social media can be a time-waster for you then it's to start setting some boundaries. Schedule when you are going to spend time on social media and for how long. Stick to your time-limit. Set a timer if you have to and be strict with yourself. Remind yourself that scrolling endlessly through other people´s content is taking away from your writing time.

Repurpose Content

There is no need to spend hours creating social media content every day. Every piece of content you produce can be repurposed and used in multiple times, in multiple ways. Chances are you probably have plenty of content right now that can be reused as social media posts. Consider:

  • Picking out quotes from your existing blog posts/books/upcoming work

  • Making a blog post into an image

  • Creating an infographic for Pinterest/Instagram/Pinterest/Tumblr.

  • Breaking down posts into a series

  • Reposting user-generated content – fan art, bookstagram.

Use Systems

Look for actions that you regularly carry out with your social media marketing and consider what systems you can put in place to streamline the process. For example, if you always post hashtags with your Instagram posts make sure these are stored in your notes so you can easily copy and paste them into the comments section. If you always share your Instagram posts to Twitter, do this automatically to save time.

Keep it Simple

Social media marketing can be overwhelming. It seems as if every day a new social media feature is announced. Know this: You don´t have to master every social media feature. Do what suits you and your readers. A post can be as simple as your book or laptop (if the book is not out yet) sitting next to a cup of coffee. The most important part of content creation is simply listening to your readers, identifying what brings them value and delivering.

Social media can be an invaluable marketing tool for authors. Unfortunately, it can also be the biggest barrier to productivity. Aim to find that elusive balance between consumption and creation by being firm with yourself, planning ahead, automating where possible and putting systems into place.