As a writer your book marketing to-list can seem endlessly long. Often authors are already juggling multiple roles with full-time work, writing, childcare and other responsibilities. You may be navigating the steep learning curve of self-publishing, on top of which you are expected to do all your own book marketing and now maintain a regular presence on social media as well. How to fit in time for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when it all seems too much? Let’s look at how you can work smarter instead of harder by simplifying your social media in three easy steps:

1. Focus on the social media choices of your readers

You don’t have to be everywhere at once. Focus on maximizing your reach where your readers are found. There is no point in being on ten different types of social media and doing them all poorly because you never have time to dedicate to doing one well. Start with one or two social media platforms (e.g. Facebook and Twitter or Instagram and Tumblr) where you are likely to find your ideal reader. Look at the demographics of your reader and that of the social media channel. For example, 81% of Pinterest users are females and usage is spread evenly through the age range of 18 through to 60. You can see this type of demographic would work well for a romance novelist that enjoys posting visual content. In contrast the majority of Snapchat users are young, the average age is between 18 to 24 and very few are above the ages of 35. It’s a perfect fit for a graphic novelist writing for this age group.

As a broad generalization:
For YA Literature – you’ll want to consider Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.
Romance – Pinterest, Twitter & Facebook.
Science Fiction – YouTube and Reddit.
Non-fiction – LinkedIn.

As you progress you’ll get a feel for what kind of social media is working the best for you. You’ll be able to look at where you get the most engagement and response. 

One further tip- the majority of authors I interviewed last year cited either Instagram or Twitter as their favorite social media channel to connect with readers, so you’ll probably want to include at least one of these in your promotions. Remember you can always change social media channels as you progress and see what is and isn’t working for you.

2. Schedule and Automate

Automation is the process of scheduling your social media posts in advance to help you save time and plan effectively. There are some fantastic automation tools available and many of them have free options. Some work with a range of social media channels and others specialize in one or two. Two of the most popular are Hootsuite and Buffer.  Both have free account options and allow you to manage multiple social media channels on one dashboard. You can schedule, publish, source content, respond and monitor all your social media channels. Both also offer automated posting at optimal times for your followers. Other tools include SocialOomph offering a whole range of features including automatically following back followers on Twitter, tracking keywords, scheduling Facebook status updates and integrating blog updates. Onlypult specializes in automation for Instagram while Tailwind focuses on Pinterest and Instagram. There are countless other automation platforms. If you are just starting out, select one and try it out by scheduling some posts.

A Word of Warning - While automation can be a fantastic way to manage your time, 100% automation is not the goal. Social media is still about social interaction and your followers are going to notice very quickly if your account is completely run by a robot. Don’t be that person that uses a set of generic comments to respond to every Instagram post. Stay authentic and genuine in your online interactions with your readers.

3. Building it into a routine

Find time for your social media by building it into your daily routine. As with writing, you’ll work out the time of day is best for social media. The most time-effective method I’ve found is to set aside some time once a week or once a month to create all my content for the week or month ahead. I then schedule this content using automation tools. Another strategy is to use the ‘dead’ time in your daily schedule, for example while in line at the supermarket, standing on the bus or waiting to meet a friend.

Finally, get off social media. That’s right while social media can be an invaluable marketing tool it’s also a productivity killer. If you’re finding that you waste hours every day on social media allocate yourself a set amount of time then switch it off. Social media doesn’t have to take up hours of your time to be effective. Keep it simple and make every post count.

Need a more detailed action plan for your social media? Check out the WildMind Creative 7-Day Social Media Bootcamp for Authors. It's everything you need to whip your social media into shape in a week.