Book Whisperers: Creating a Social Media Plan ~ Practical Steps

Ask the Book Whisperers | March 2017

askthebookwhisperers-16-1104Rona Gofstein and Mellisa Sherlin are best-selling authors who write but also understand the business of writing. Founders of the Writers Business School, the two are book whisperers of sorts. They teach authors about the business of books. In this column, Ask the Book Whisperers: Business Tips for Authors, Rona and Mellisa answer questions or address topics that authors, especially indie or self-published authors, often ask as they go about coaxing their books to sell. Sometimes these book whisperers answer questions that an author might have asked if they only knew to ask it. If you have a book business question for Rona and Mellisa, you can drop us a line at maildrop@inkspokes.com with “Book Whispers” in the subject line.

Last month and this month, we ask Mellisa and Rona:

How do you create a social media plan?

(This is the second part of their two-part answer to our question. The first part may be found here.)

In last month’s column, we discussed what a social media plan is. Today, we’ll go into the particulars and illustrate with a sample plan.

Content for Your Social Media Plan

Pick a single focus for each month. This topic is connected with the subject you like sharing, but not directly related to your book or back list.  Break this favorite topic into 4 parts, to be covered each week of the month across all social media platforms.  Here is how to do it.

Set aside one hour in the beginning of the month to plan out your monthly focus, and write 4 quick blogs on the topic. Getting all the blogs written before the month starts makes it much easier to follow the plan. Go for consistency and quality of content over length of content.

Your social media plan might have these elements:

Blog – Pick one day a week to post fresh blogs. For the weekly blog you post, write 500 – 700 words on that topic, 1-2 royalty free pictures, and 1 link to someone else sharing similar content. Post new blog content every week on this day at about the same time of day each week. (Make blog automatically share link to newly posted blog with your other platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)

Facebook – Pick a different day of the week to share a current news story related to your monthly topic. (Set up Google News Alerts to email you a recap of weekly news on the day you have chosen for sharing this info. Copy link from email into your status post with a 1-7 word intro to your link. (Make Facebook automatically share updates on your social media accounts.)

Twitter – Pick a different day of the week to share a quote, definition, or question related to your topic this month.

Pinterest – Pick a different day of the week to share a photo of yours or someone else’s related to your topic this month.

Email List – Once a month, send an email to your list of readers/interested people with the favorite things you’ve discovered about your favorite topic that month.

Example of a Social Media Plan in Action

How about an example? Mellisa Sherlin’s favorite topic is how to turn toxic communication into healthy communication.  Of this hugely vast topic, Month X’s topic will focus recognizing and disrupting types of toxic conversations. For the weekly blog, there will be 700 words on that topic with a royalty free photo, and a link to a resource people reading can go to for more information.

Here’s her Online Social Media Plan:

agenda-1928416_640Week 1: Blocking:

  • Monday – Post blog on topic, and respond to 2 comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Tuesday – On Facebook share link to news article from Google News, respond to two comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Wednesday – On Twitter share definition of odd/ rare word, retweet interesting stuff from others. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Thursday – On Amazon leave review of a book I have read.
  • Friday – On Facebook share two items other people found that matches topic. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.

Week 2: Denying:

  • Monday – Post blog on topic, and respond to 2 comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Tuesday – On Facebook share link to news article from Google News, respond to two comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Wednesday – On Twitter share definition of odd/ rare word, retweet interesting stuff from others. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Thursday – On Amazon leave review of a book I have read.
  • Friday – On Facebook share two items other people found that matches topic. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.

Week 3: Shaming:

  • Monday – Post blog on topic, and respond to 2 comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Tuesday – On Facebook share link to news article from Google News, respond to two comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Wednesday – On Twitter share definition of odd/ rare word, retweet interesting stuff from others. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Thursday – On Amazon leave review of a book I have read.
  • Friday – On Facebook share two items other people found that matches topic. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.

Week 4: Judgment:

  • Monday – Post blog on topic, and respond to 2 comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Tuesday – On Facebook share link to news article from Google News, respond to two comments. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Wednesday – On Twitter share definition of odd/ rare word, retweet interesting stuff from others. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.
  • Thursday – On Amazon leave review of a book I have read.
  • Friday – On Facebook share two items other people found that matches topic. More if it fits in the 15 minutes.

Email List:

  • Day before planning next month’s social media focus – Collect 5 of the most interesting factoids, techniques or news stories, and email them to people who have self-selected as very interested in this information. Email Fields contain –
    • To: email address people use to request to be added to this super fun group.
    • BCC: everyone in the email list.
    • From Field: email address people use to request to be added to this super fun group.

A Gift for Readers

Let’s face it, we all enjoy free stuff.  Getting something for free feels great, and if your think about it makes you like the person who gave this free thing to you just a bit more.  But that is not the only reason to give something away to people reading your content.

gift-575400_640Giving something away to these readers is a way to find out who likes your stuff and get their emails. Either by having a free download available via a link at the bottom of your blog page, or having the reader email you.

An effective free giveaway for a blog tour is a 1-2 page document about some piece of information you strongly believe whoever reads this post would enjoy after reading this information.

Some examples of effective giveaways:

  • For a topic of miscommunication and growth – a needs list, and a list of feelings with the 4 stages of healthy communication, and some web resources.
  • For a topic about family connection – a step by step guide to create a new family tradition and some web resources for national events.
  • For a topic about historical political intrigue in Louis XIV’s Court – a sheet about fan use in the time period and a craft project to make your own fan.
  • For a topic counting down the top 5 ways to start a Zombie Apocalypes – a fact sheet on surviving zombies and a web link to “Would you Survive a Zombie Apocalypse?” skill test.
  • For a murder mystery set in a local tourist area – a map of the area highlighting important areas in the book, then add some coupons for local stores to draw your reader to the area.

No matter what free thing you give away, make it 1-2 pages long.  And include your contact information, the to-do-list-749304_640name of your current book and where to purchase the book.  That way, when your free giveaway gets into the hands of your newest super fan, and they start sharing it with everyone they know, all these other people will know where they too can get your work.

To do:

Here are some to-do’s to get you started:

  1. Find all your log in information for the social media platforms you will be updating for this plan.
  1. Make a list of fun topics you would like to share.
  1. From that list, choose the one you feel the most energized from.
  • Think about how to break that into smaller topics.
  1. What extra piece of information do you have/could you make in less than an hour which could be offered as download?

If you have any questions, please message us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/writersbusinessschoool or email us at writersbusinessschool@gmail.com.

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Meet the Book Whisperers:

headshot-sherlin-2016-10Mellisa Sherlin enjoys taking her big yellow lab to the beach on dreary days and getting lost on road trips. She is an internationally award-winning and best-selling author with over 30 years of publishing credits to her name. Completing her MBA in Marketing in 2013, she co-founded the Writers Business School. Mellisa is currently the president of the Essex Writers and Artisans Guild of Massachusetts, which has been meeting weekly since 1991. She can be found making illegal U-turns on rural roads and Facebook.

rona0229crop-tightRona Gofstein loves chocolate, her morning cup of coffee, and retail therapy. She is a best-selling romance novelist (as Rachel Kenley), workshop leader on finding your heart’s desire, and co-founder of the Writers Business School. When she is not writing she is homeschooling her sons, trying unsuccessfully to keep up with laundry, and laughing as much as possible. She can be found in her studio at Western Avenue and (perhaps a little too much) on Facebook.

To learn a bit more about Mellisa and Rona and the Writers Business School, you may also read their interview with us on Inkspokes. Thanks for stopping by!

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