Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.”
I stole that quote from Seth Godin (and that lyric in the title from Sam Smith). Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. He should know what he is talking about, as he essentially invented commercial email. As authors, we know we need to build some sort of social media platform because that is how we will gather our ever-essential followers. Whether you’re an author looking for readers, or a baker looking for cake customers, you need a method of reaching people and snagging their interest. The challenge is then keeping them hanging around for more.
According to marketing experts, if you want to gain name recognition, you need to post something on Facebook or Instagram at least two times each and every day (five times if you live on Twitter.) Ahem… please do NOT go back and notice the date of my last post on any of the above-mentioned platforms.
Enter the major problem most of us have.
Thanks to Terri Main, owner of the WordMaster Academy, I have a list to help you crank out content to fill those thirty posts per month.
Step one: Break your topic/genre into subtopics. Let’s say you write romances that take place in Victorian England. Your list might include:
- Class Struggles (a biggie in Victorian England. Just read Dickens)
- The Workplace
- Marriage rituals
- The legal system
Those are a few ideas to get you started. Someone interested in Victorian England might be interested in any one of them.
Step Two: Choose one of those subtopics. (Or use the main topic if you like)
Step Three: Fill in the blanks below.
- A Joke about _______
- An Image about _____
- A video about ______
- A link to an article about _____
- A review of a book/movie/TV show about ______
- A blog post about ____ (Remember when writing blog posts, copy and paste them into the status box on Facebook and attach a photo. Links get fewer views than original posts with images)
- A cartoon about_____
- A picture quote about_____
- A discussion question about ______
- A survey about ______
- A poem about ________
- A piece of flash fiction about _______
- A background piece about a problem you faced writing about _____
- Something you learned researching _______
- A tip for people writing about ______
- A pet peeve about how ______ is portrayed in movies/TV/Books.
- A Facebook Slideshow or Picture Gallery about _____
- A post you made six weeks or more ago about _______
- A post you made on another social media platform about ______
- A guest post from someone else interested in the subject.
There are twenty blanks to fill in that list. If you create a post for each one, that gives you 10 days worth of content. Repeat that for two more subtopics, and you have a month of posts.
So how long will that take? I’ll do a run-through right now and time it. Since I set my book in the 1860s, in Texas, my characters either are or interact with cowboys. I’ll answer the first five prompts and see how long it takes to do. Ready, set, start the timer!
Post 1, Day 1: Cowboy cartoon.
Now I’ll think up some copy that ties this to my story. “Manny probably wished for something this easy to catch during his cattle-driving days.”
Day 1, Post 2: An image about cowboys.
My copy with this photo might go something like this: Texas is known for its gorgeous sunsets (although someone told me it’s due to the completely unromantic reason of dust in our atmosphere). I like to think of what Manny or Abby might have seen each night as they made their way home from roaming on their property. Back then, a family could claim 120 acres just by filing with the General Land office.
Day 2, Post 1: A video of a cattle drive. My copy would go something like this: “In the beginning chapters of Protected, Manny and his best friend, Jonathan, are heading home from driving a herd of cattle to Kansas. They spent two to three weeks on horseback, eating from a chuck wagon, on their way to the meat market. It would’ve looked something like this.”
Day 2, Post 2: A link to an article about the life of a cowboy in 1866. I would write something like this to go along with the article. “The cowboy of Hollywood was far more glamorous than the real-life cowboys of the 1800s. Read on to discover facts it might surprise you to know.” https://www.frontierlife.net/blog/2020/10/26/cowboy-life-in-the-1800s-primary-sources
Day 3, Post 1: A review of a book/movie/TV show about cowboys. I would write: “Ask anyone on a book recommendation website or Facebook page for a book about cowboys, and you’re going to hear about Lonesome Dove. It is the quintessential story about cowboys, particularly for dialogue. If you want to write a story with a cowboy in it, read this book first. Maybe read it twice so you marinate your brain in cowboy-speak. You’ll love it.”
Stop. My timer was at 18 minutes, 2 seconds. I’m one-sixth of the way through. So, I’d need between 1 hour, 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete a full month’s worth of content for my Facebook and/or Instagram feeds. That’s doable. Set a reminder on your phone for the first day of every month and crank it out. Then it’s simply a matter of copy and paste to your social media of choice, and you’re done!
Let’s do a pinky-swear challenge. I’ll try it if you will.