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CoSchedule – Your Social Media Life in Plain View

CoSchedule: Your social media life in plain view

Being a small business, we’re pretty particular about what we invest money in. Our goal is usually to try to do something ourselves first, and when we realize we can’t, then hire it out. Sometimes, however, investing a little bit in something else pays dividends. Today, we’re going to talk about a paid app we’ve come to adore called CoSchedule.

It’s a social media scheduling platform that connects to pretty much every social platform and WordPress. You can write a blog and schedule all your Tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, Tumblrs and whatnot in an easy-to-see calendar.

Disclaimer: I’m not a paid advocate for this product… yet.

Why Should You Schedule Content?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve spent some time talking about different social media. If you’re like most authors, you’re trying to juggle your writing career with a full-time job, and perhaps a family, too. Marketing probably doesn’t rank high on your list of things to do (although it should).

By scheduling your content ahead of time, it allows you the flexibility to have a life, as well as maintain a regular presence across different media. You shouldn’t schedule everything, of course. Regular human interaction is important, too.

Why CoSchedule?

We’ve tried a couple different tools, but CoSchedule is far and away the best for our needs (we’ll talk about Buffer next week). In the first place, since we’re managing two separate (but occasionally overlapping) social media brands, CoSchedule makes it easy to put together campaigns. Our weekly SGR-P blog posts are cross-posted across all ten of our connected social media accounts, alongside whatever S. Usher Evans is doing that week.

The calendar view, in particular, is extremely helpful:

A screen shot of our marketing calendar on CoSchedule

We can take a look at each day and level-out if we’ve got too many messages on Monday, or not enough on Tuesday. We can also filter by social media account (to check the number of tweets or Instagram posts) or by campaign/tag. It’s been very helpful as we try to juggle multiple campaigns, from these blog posts to book releases to hosting other authors on the blog.

Content Templates – Our Best Friend

Our best-loved feature in CoSchedule is the ability to create “templates” of social messages. For example, these blog posts get the same treatment week after week. CoSchedule’s Social Campaign feature lets us set up “text helpers” (reusable phrases) and “image helpers,” then put them in a queue of Facebook posts, tweets–even Instagram posts and Pinterest pins. For those of us who blog on the regular, having all this already set up means an hours’ worth of social media scheduling is wrapped up in about 2 minutes.

A look at how we use Coschedule's Content Templates for our weekly blog posts

So Many Ways…

Blogging comprises only one piece of our daily social media habits. Below are the different ways we use CoSchedule to help us get our message to the masses:

  • As we said above, we’ve got a reusable template for our weekly blog posts. One-click and done to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram
  • Speaking of Instagram, we LOVE using text helpers for all those pesky hashtags. We have a set that we use for all posts and then leave a blank placeholder for post-specific hashtags.
  • We also use CoSchedule to post and share our Wednesday quote picks and also pin them to Pinterest

Our favorite CoSchedule hack is to use templates and text helpers for Twitter Chats. We’ve got a template set up for promo tweets (which start 2 weeks before the chat). Then, on the day of, we have 10 template questions that we fill in with specifics and images. There’s no scheduling, no worrying about the hashtag–it’s all done for us! What used to take us several hours now takes 10 minutes, including the time to dream up questions.

As we said above, it takes a really great product for us to throw down some business dollars to invest in. But for our money and for what we’re trying to accomplish, CoSchedule is worth every penny!

CoSchedule from Garrett Moon on Vimeo.

Why we love CoSchedule to manage our social media

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Pinterest for Authors – Finding Inspiration

Pinterest for authors: Taking creativity to the next level

Pinterest is yet another tool authors can use to raise awareness about their books. It differs from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in that it’s less about content that you create, and more about what you find and share. For authors, Pinterest is another way readers can get to know the real you, which helps with soft-selling.

Pinterest for Authors 101

Pinterest is a “visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.” Users save bookmarks, or Pins, to different boards, which usually have some different theme or idea behind them. You would “pin” something to come back to it later. In the case of authors, pin images that inspire you from other users or from external websites. Others can then save your pins to their board, and so on.

Building your Boards

Pinterest for authors: With inspiration boards, readers can get excited about your books before they even read a single wordLast week, we talked about an Instagram aesthetic, or a look and feel that conveys your overall theme. For Pinterest, we can take that idea and apply it to different boards. If you’re using Pinterest 100% professionally, you should consider having boards for each of you book series (both published and forthcoming, more on this later). You also might add boards for writing, quotes, scenes, etc. Find authors in your genre and see what kind of boards they have.

Pinterest is a great tool to help build word-of-mouth for unpublished and forthcoming books. Users can watch you put together your inspiration in real-time, and get an idea for the book before they read a single word. Once the book is published, you can add pins to buy the book.

Legal and Copyright

Before we go further, we should mention that Pinterest’s copyright issues are well-known, so tread carefully. If you’re pinning from an external site, and they have a “Pin It” button, it’s usually safe to assume they want their content shared. Before you pin, it’s also a good idea to check the link and make sure it’s a legitimate site. You also want to make sure proper credit is given to any piece of art you use for your inspiration board.

Growing your Pinterest Audience

Pinterest for authors: On average, the half-life of a tweet is five minutes. A pin? Three months!We talk a lot about a social media half-life, or the length of time a post is visible and shareable. On average, the average lifespan of a tweet is under five minutes. Pinterest? Three months! (Source) Not only that, but 80% of pins on Pinterest are re-pins, which means people are using the content within the site versus finding their own.

For authors, you can leverage your existing social media audience to draw them in, or start following authors or readers who are pinning similar images (check the “Also pinned by” board). You can also comment on popular pins, but be careful not to spam with too many comments.

While Pinterest is a great tool, for authors, for most folks it’s less of a must-have and more another facet of your online persona. We use it more for personal/professional use, having a mix of food boards with inspiration quotes, and even publishing knowledge. In particular, the inspiration board is great when things are going a bit rough.

If you haven’t tried out Pinterest, we do recommend spending an hour or two on it.

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