Part III of Social Media Management
A social media presence is important for any author, but especially a self-published one.
I try to post several times a week on social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’ve mentioned before writing is not my full-time job, so staying organized with my social media posts is important to this part-time author.
I have broken down my Social Media Spreadsheet in a previous post Planning and Organizing: Part I. I decided what subject I’m posting about and how it ties into my writing/author/brand. In the second post Photoshop TIps for Images: Part III of Social Media Management, I went into detail about how I create the images for my novels. I shared some Photoshop tricks as well as where I get my stock photos.
When I was researching automatic posting sites, I looked into multiple options, read several other bloggers’ reviews about different options. I needed a site that would let me set up large batches of posts.
Based on the reviews and checking sites out, I went with Buffer. I had tried Later, but found Buffer easier to use and more features I could use.
I like Buffer for several reasons:
- The Price (About $15 for pro user basic)
- For Instagram, it posts automatically and lets me add comments to attach my hashtags
I use this site to upload my social media content in batches so I don’t have to worry about posting my individual photos to each account. Since I design my photos to the recommended size for Facebook/Instagram/Twitter – that would be a lot of photos and typing.
Using Buffer, I can add my individual photos, and copy my written notes to multiple accounts altering it to best match the photo. Saves time and effort.
One of the topics that kept showing up in my social media research was the importance of hashtags. I found a post on Pinterest about using spreadsheets to organize your hashtags and with my love of spreadsheets, I had to check it out.
The website is no longer available, but I did find another blog post that was posted this year. The Ultimate Journal Hashtag Guide from Life by Whitney has a lot of good information and a downloadable spreadsheet template.
I really like her post because she gives a lot of background information and reason why to do certain things.
I created one, several months ago, based on the original website but added a few more columns based on my needs.
My Hashtag Categories:
# of Posts
Include the # and double-check the spelling. It’s hard to tell if something is misspelled in a hashtag wheneverythingrunstoghter SEE!
Main Category and Sub Categories:
Other templates showed only one category but I found many of my hashtags could fall in multiple categories and wanted a way to make sure I was being as accurate as possible. This let me add hashtags that might not come up in an initial search of a category by only having one column.
It also let me be more specific in my categories: EX. Grace Series, but also the specific novel: Healing Grace or Restoring Grace
# of Posts and On Date:
Further information to follow, but these two are tied together.
Additional notes and further ranking in each individual category.
Once I had created my spreadsheet, I started researching hashtags.
- I looked through Pinterest for lists pertaining to Writers, Authors, Bloggers, Christianity, etc.
- Signed up for multiple free downloads with people offering lists of great hashtags.
- Looked for hashtags based on holidays, seasons, days of the week, pertaining to each of my novels, etc.
Every hashtag I found, liked or had any relevance to my writing/brand/life I added to the #hashtag column in my spreadsheet. When I was done, I had over 700!
Yes, it is a lot, but I don’t use everyone. This post teaches you to organize each hashtag for easy use.
Once I had my list, I started organizing by Category and Subcategory.
Which meant I basically put them all in alphabetical order and wrote what category and subcategory I thought they would fall in. This was a process that took a bit and I had to list out my categories ahead of time to know what options I had, but even then, I made changes as I grouped hashtags together.
Grouping them into categories also let me see what I was missing or could use some other hashtag options.
This might seem a lot, but this list also includes subcategories as well. Ex: Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Once I had the categories and subcategories filled out and color-coded (the designer in me loves colors when I organize), it was time to start researching the number of times the hashtag was used on Instagram to find out popularity.
This step took some time but was important because I don’t want to be using a #hashtag that will never be searched. The point of hashtags is to get more people to see your posts.
It’s important to date when you do your search because these numbers will change. Ex. #Christmas has more posts after October than in February and March.
Excel Spreadsheets are not intuitive and it will sort range by the first number. 1k (one thousand) and 1m (one million) will not always fall in the smallest to largest sort I would like. Plus, I found those numbers ran together after a while.
So, I created a break down to determine how popular the hashtag was per my own system of measurement ranking.
In the comments section of my spreadsheet, I rated the popularity based on the number of posts.
Now, I could sort by category and then sort within that category for popularity.
I like this social media hashtag rating system for several reasons:
- The biggest is it is able to change with my needs and
- The columns can be sorted for research
- Adding more lines is just a few clicks of a button
- If I search popularity on Instagram at a later date, I just update the date I made the search
But, I know you’re asking… Isn’t that difficult to type up for every photo you upload to Instagram?
I’m so glad you asked that question. I did find it difficult but came up with a great solution that works for me.
Going to an Excel Spreadsheet and grabbing each #hashtag individually would take a long time, writing them out for each post, would take even longer.
I created a Word document that had everything I needed.
First, I sorted my categories by order of use and alphabetically.
Here’s a break down of each category, in the order, it will be in my Word document.
I start with the group that will be in each post, sorting by importance to my brand and message.
The rest of the categories are alphabetically listed for the most part and the subdivided by specific categories. Ex. Blog Posts: Divided further into Devotions, Books, Writing
The Grace Series hashtags go further up on the list than alphabetically because of their frequent use. I have a general grouping for the series as a whole, but it’s also broken down by the novel. I include hashtags such as the character’s jobs and hobbies so readers can find books with characters they will relate to.
Several hashtags are highlighted in green or yellow. They have a purpose, too!
- Yellow highlighter: Hashtag isn’t ranked on the spreadsheet.
- Green highlighter: Means it’s already been used in another group. Ex: Devotion blog posts have the same hashtags as my list for Christian Themes.
- If I have a Devotion Blog post and room for more hashtags, I can pull from the Christian Theme list but don’t have to double up on those. I can cut them out.
I’ve put in () the number of hashtags in each group to give me an idea if I can pull from multiple groups. Not every hashtag will fit for the post, but it’s easy to copy the groups I want, and then delete out what doesn’t fit or if I put too many.
Instagram limits you to thirty and you can’t go over. The great thing about Buffer is I can post my hashtags in a comment so it doesn’t clutter up the feed. I wouldn’t put as many hashtags if they cluttered up my text.
I don’t always use the full thirty, it just depends on what’s relevant for the post.
The goal is to have a quick and easy way to get my social media up and ready to say hello to the world as an author.
Between Buffer, my photos, and the hashtag shortcut document, I’m able to this quickly and easily, even with a full-time job.
I hope this helps you stay organized, creative, and reach more people for your blog/website.
Leave me a note and tell me what works for you or if something I mentioned will help you to stay organized and efficient.
Until next time, may God’s grace surround you,