As a children’s book author, I devote significant time each week to growing my social media platform which for me includes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I would also loop in my blog because the content here must also be created weekly. This platform building is something my publishers expect me to do. Thankfully, I enjoy it, but I’ve also discovered that it can easily become overly time-consuming, distracting me from the most important (and joy-filling) task of all — writing poems and stories for children!
So this summer, I’ve decided to tame the beast with the goal of limiting time on social media to 30 minutes daily and blogging to three hours weekly. I will keep track with a daily record and post my weekly time statistics on my socials. Interested in joining me? Here are EIGHT ideas to get us started.
Idea #1: Set the timer. I plan to use my phone’s timer, setting the time for the exact amount of time I’m allotting for a particular social media/blog effort. When the timer goes off, I will stop!
Idea #2: Make a schedule for when you will be accomplish your platform efforts. I’m hoping this will help me break a bad habit of hopping onto my socials whenever the fancy strikes – especially after I’ve posted something for the day and want to see if anyone has commented/liked/shared etc. My plan is to pop on to my platforms three times a day for 10 minutes each. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at the end of the day.
Idea #3: Decide ahead of time what your goal is for popping on. My goals will include posting something new, responding to any interactions on my feeds, and taking time to interact on others’ feeds. I will also spend occasional 10 minute sessions, growing my sphere by liking, following, and friending others across a range of interests – i.e. authors/illustrators, educators, bloggers, librarians, churches, parenting etc.
Idea #4: Create a stockpile of quick, easy, fun social media posts. Sometimes, at least for me, it’s more efficient to create a bunch of similar type posts in one creative burst and then have them on-hand for the future than to create them one at a time. For example, in the past, I’ve made lists of one-sentence questions I might ask my followers weekly to encourage interactivity. I’m also in the process of gathering interesting quotes. Then, when it comes time to pop on, all I have to do is cut and paste.
Idea #5: Make each post do triple or even quadruple duty! By this I mean, crafting posts off-line and then sharing them across your socials. You can even stretch the impact of a blog post, such as this, that has a list, by subsequently running a social media series with a colorful graphic for each numbered idea. That would mean potentially getting 7 or 8 posts using material from the time and effort spent into creating a single blog post. (Stay tuned to see if I do that!)
Idea #6: Step away from your devices. When I find myself struggling to resist the temptation to take “just a quick little peek” to see if anyone has responded to a post, I have started a simple strategy of stepping away. For me this means going old-school and doing much of my writing this summer in an old-fashioned notebook. For the times I am at my lap-top, I’ve been turning off the internet connection so I’m not tempted by notifications. (I could also turn off the notifications.)
Idea #7: Decide what your priorities are and stick with them. Social media can be a fun and effective way to interact with potential audiences but spending time on-line in this way is not my first priority. My first priorities are starting the day with quiet time for prayer and reflection, taking care of my family, staying fit so I have energy to do all that I am called to do, and growing my author career through daily intentional writing, setting up author events etc. Social media is an important part of the picture, but it needs to be kept in check and the time I spend on it should reflect that.
Idea #8: Everything is better with a buddy. Replacing habits that you dislike with better ones takes patience and hard work. That’s why having a buddy to join you on the journey can be a great support and source of mutual encouragement. I’ll be posting my successes and setbacks weekly on my socials and I have a small team to keep me accountable. Let me know if you decide to do the same.