How Hootsuite helps me maintain platforms come hell or high water

Being everywhere on social media is a tall order!

I’m tired. Frequently, mentally, insurmountably…tired. My theme song is that burlesque number from Blazing Saddles.

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Okay, maybe not that kind of tired.

And that’s why I’m here to talk about post scheduling. There’s a deluge of articles about author platform and marketing. There’s also a glut of articles and guides on social media. And the message is consistent: engage, engage, engage.

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So what about people working jobs where they can’t manage their social media on the fly? Where a visible mobile device is a write up? What about people with mental illness, or other chronic conditions that throttle their emotional, mental, or physical bandwidth? That’s where post scheduling is a godsend. It lets you remain on people’s radars, continue to share your passions with the world, and if life rears its uglier head once in awhile, you don’t need to worry about losing traction with your fan base. It also means you can spread your content out evenly instead of busting out 5-10 tweets, posts, or blogs in the hour after you get home from work. This is important for hitting multiple time zones (Hello, GMT!) and not flooding followers’ feeds.

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There does seem to be some push back about post scheduling, mainly citing lack of authenticity behind scheduled content. That’s great, I’m really happy for them that they’re able to organically maintain a highly active social media presence. I, for one, am not currently there. I still have days where I don’t even make the bed (and I’m usually pretty good about this–I have the habit trackers to prove it!), or come home, land on the couch, and barely budge from it until it’s bed time, or later. I’m working on letting these transgressions slide (albeit while trying to prevent them in the future), and that’s easier knowing that at least my Twitter and Instagram are still ticking over from that high energy day a few weeks ago where I busted out a month’s worth of scheduled content.

So what does that look like for me? It looks like a very busy Hootsuite dashboard:

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The first three tabs are my own content: my content streams; my scheduled content; and any messages, mentions, etc. The next three tabs are all about that essential engagement. They’re Instagram, Twitter photography and travel, and Twitter writing tags I want to monitor, curated into an easy to browse interface. It’s easy for me to take a few moments on my phone to scroll through these streams, commenting and liking posts that catch my attention rather than trying to always keep an eye on my feeds.

The rest are the tags I schedule for. A tab for every day’s regular writing tags, plus the recurring Twitter contests, and each tab contains all the relevant hashtags I’m aware of for that category. In the morning, I use the day’s tags as a checklist, making sure I’m participating in all the ones that make sense for me. At my leisure, it becomes a browsable curator, much like my more general monitoring tabs.

It’s not a perfect system, and my engagement isn’t perfect. I still have lulls and missed opportunities. But progress is progress and it’s better than the radio silence of the latter half of last year and first part of this year. It helps me overcome some of my personal stumbling blocks and that makes it A+ in my book.


I’m building a personal reference sheet of Twitter tags related to writing and editing, which you can find here. Is your favourite tag missing? Let me know! I’d also love to hear how you work around life and mood swings to maintain a constant presence online. Do you schedule, or use a different set of tools?

#UndeadDarlings — Making Editing Suck a Little Less

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We’ve all heard this piece of advice. It gets bandied about like that fruitcake your family has been regifting every Christmas since Reagan held office. But recently, I heard something a little different:

I have a thought about ‘kill your darlings.’ There seems to be a general notion out there in the ether that the phrase means, ‘Hunt down every sentence or image you really love and cut it down like a pernicious weed.’  That, my dears, is bullshit.

In my opinion, what it really means is, ‘If you’re rewriting a whole scene just so that a paragraph or conversation you’re in love with will work, and it still kind of doesn’t, maybe it doesn’t really belong in this story and you should print it out and put it in a lovely, decorative folder labelled DARLINGS to read on those days when you hate every sentence you’re writing.’

Delia Sherman, American fantasy writer

I love this idea of celebrating and showcasing work you’re proud of even if it doesn’t make your final draft. I also think that we as a writing community are excellent at cheering each other on during the writing part of the process, but that there needs to be more mutual support in the editing stages, too. The less editing sucks, the fewer first drafts are gonna be floating around masquerading as finished manuscripts.

So, it is with this sentiment that I propose the following: Undead Darlings. This is a Twitter event, similar to the daily writing sharing tags, like #2bittues and #1lineWed, but with a bit of a twist.

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How it works:

  • Every Tuesday, share a ‘darling’ you killed in the editing process. You can share up to a five line paragraph.
  • Only one contribution per person, please! I am only one person(and not a very good one at that) and also I don’t want to drown out the #2bittues people.
  • Include the hashtag #UndeadDarlings, so I can find you!
  • Now for the real twist–by that Friday, I’ll contact one participant for an interview! We’ll talk about your darling, how it met its untimely demise, your editing process, and obviously, anything you wanna promote.
  • Your interview will go up the following Tuesday right here! (Yeah, it’s a bit of a turnaround period, but again, I am one person, and I don’t want to rush your post or get overwhelmed and have to shut this down)

So, hopefully, that covers everything, but I’m sure this page will get updated as I figure out why my current plan is a terrible idea. But that’s okay. This blog isn’t called Hearning Curve for nothing, amirite?

not-funnyI know, and I’m sorry.


Have questions, comments, concerns, calls for my execution?
Thoughts on the ‘Kill Your Darlings’ mentality?
Amazing gifs of Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan?
Put them in the comments below!