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Create a Social Media Plan for 2021 to Maximize Success

Create a Social Media Plan for 2019 to Maximize Success
This post was updated 3/28/2021

As many of you know, I am kinda the queen of trying to maximize everything so this title was just perfect for me. But seriously, social media is such an important part of any marketing strategy. It is especially important when publishers/ bookstores/ event coordinators often use those numbers to decide whether or not to publish/ allow a signing/ invite you to a convention. A solid social media plan is absolutely essential to your marketing strategy. Plus, it can be built absolutely free and scale with you as your business grows. It’s kinda perfect. A solid social media plan requires three key elements:

1. Know Which Platforms to Focus On

No one can really tell you how to make this decision. It is constantly changing and in flux. But do a little bit of research and then pick the platform that works best for you and that you enjoy the most. I say this because someone asked me the other day if they had to be on Instagram because they suck at taking pictures. IGs main book audience is early to mid twenties. If you’re writing to that market a lot of professionals will tell you that you HAVE to be there. But if you don’t take beautiful pictures and you don’t find joy in pictures, then you really, really don’t need to be on that platform. You can also reach YA readers on Bookbub, Goodreads, and Tumblr. They also still make up the vast majority of the Booktube scene. That gives you blogging/ writing spaces if that’s your thing and video if you prefer that. You don’t HAVE to do IG, but you do have to enjoy what you’re doing. Because if you don’t enjoy it, that will bleed through to your interactions with potential readers and they won’t be interested. However, if you write YA and you want to reach them on Facebook because you like Facebook, that will be an effort in futility. Most FB users are 35-70. Very few are in the younger range and most of those only use it to keep up with family. It is a great resource for author communities and networking so you can use it for work in that respect, but not to reach Young adult readers. 

2. Know How to Engage

There is nothing more obnoxious than finding someone is auto-posting their IG images to Twitter, 30 # and all. UGH. How you interact on Twitter is very different than how you interact on Facebook, and IG is different as well. Each platform has its sweet spot and some overlap. It’s ok to share cornerstone content across all platforms but don’t auto-share. Do it with posts unique to each platform. Also, how you interact with the users is different from platform to platform. Take your time to learn the platforms you are choosing. It is better to be solid and strong on 1 or 2 platforms than to half-ass 10 platforms. I speak from experience. A key to knowing how to engage is also built into knowing your brand and the side of you that you want to present to the world. Here is a great video panel on Go Indie Now where we briefly discuss just that. 

3. Know How to Grow

Again, this is very specific for each channel so it would take a lot of time to tell you how to do that on each. You need to learn the rules of each platform. But here are some general tips. Do not always follow back. Be deliberate in your audience. For example, I do not follow anyone on Twitter who does not have something in their profile about being a reader. Even if you’re an author, I won’t follow you unless you’re a reader too. Early on, I followed marketing professionals (because I obviously love it too much!) bookshops, actors (because they’re storytellers too) politicians I agreed with, etc. but it led to unnecessary conflicts for my brand. 

Be deliberate in what you share/ RT/ comment and engage with. Make sure that it fits the persona you are crafting and will appeal to most of your readers. My brand is happy geeky book gal and marketing maven. I don’t engage or comment on anything that isn’t 1. geeky. 2. about books 3. women’s issues (thanks to Hell School series, I get a little bit of political talk 😉 ) or 4. about marketing specifically or indie publishing generally. That geeky topic allows me to share about movies and games I’m geeking out about and connect with those fans, Hell School political aspect lets me talk about social change for women, but I avoid addressing politics, I avoid bashing anything (because that’s not very positive or happy) and I avoid telling people what to do and instead educate them on lots of different ways to do what they want to do. For a personal account following your varied interests and speaking out about topics that matter to you is totally fine. but for a professional author’s account? Not so much. 

Unless you’re JK Rowling. Then you can follow, RT, and say whatever you want because the loss or gaining of 50K followers is a drop in the bucket. Now, if you write political thrillers or scifi with a political bent, then talking politics is allowed though as we’ve all experienced can create a bit of pain. So be deliberate in who you follow, and who you interact with to encourage them to follow you back.

Bonus: Set Goals and Measure Results

Set goals for following and engagement to keep you motivated throughout the year. You saw that I’ve done this for myself in my Annual 90 day Year New Year’s resolution announcement and we are working through those in the Resolutions Community (Feel free to join us!) . I recommend spending about 15 minutes a day minimum per platform. That means that if you are on Facebook, Twitter, and IG then you need to be spending 45 minutes a day on social media. If you are working a full-time job, that isn’t possible if you want writing time, right? So plan carefully. You will want to spread your time out throughout the day so that your engagement is balanced. 

An example would be, spend 5 minutes on twitter while waiting in the coffee line. Share 1 post, comment on 2. Spend the 10 minutes in the pick up line on Facebook and IG liking and commenting. Spend 20 minutes that evening scheduling the next day’s posts, and 10 minutes cycling through each platform again.  A key to setting limits is by setting timers. A key to preventing yourself from wasting time is to be deliberate in what you respond to. If your books aren’t about politics then commenting on a fellow authors political post is not fostering healthy engagement and is not a clever cheat to get around not posting about politics on your own page. (Per the branding discussion.) 

Don’t try to convince yourself that you were working that whole time. Lying to yourself about your problem is the first sign of an addict. I know. More importantly, if you do a google search, you would be surprised how much of that stuff comes up in the search because your account or your “friends’ ‘ account may be public. That is not a solid search engine optimization strategy either.

Another timesaver is to batch some activities. For example, I spend two hours on Saturday morning before the rest of my house is alive working on content and scheduling posts for the following week. Some channels don’t require daily engagement. For example, I do Friday engagement on Goodreads and Bookbub. Saturday during my content creation, I am also listening to Booktube and engaging and growing that audience. I hit up IG 3 days a week, Facebook 2. Twitter I try to do daily.  

Yes, social media is a very fickle and complicated beast but tackle these fantastic tips and you will see your platform growing exponentially. Feel like you need a bit more help with social media? I have a course for that, Social Media 101. I am also developing courses for specific platforms. Which platform would you like to see first? Let me know in the comments below.  

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Happy New Year and Resolutions Galore

2019 New Year Resolution
This post was updated 1/11/2022

Hello Lovelies, 

Happy New Year! For many of you, I know you’re bailing on Resolutions. I’ve already seen all the millions of posts regaling how resolutions don’t matter and it doesn’t work and they just don’t like feeling like failures. I totally appreciate that struggle. But I fully believe that I am able to achieve all that I do because I set New Years Resolutions, goals, and evaluate quarterly while having a beautiful reminder front and center on my desk. I have also found that accountability goes a long way in that as well. After all, we follow what we focus on, right? 
So, I have some fantastic New Year’s Resolutions for you, and some pretty pictures for me to help me stay focused on my dreams. I share these with you so that you can know what to expect from me in the coming year. Here are my resolutions: 


 These are my dreams for this year. They are a tighter focus than my 5-year dreams or my Someday I See Myself As dreams. (Sorry, not sharing those with you. Have to have some mystery!) But they feed those dreams and support those goals. Where I do my nitty-gritty smarter goals are in my quarterly goals designed to achieve those resolutions. Yeah, I have a handy print-up to help me keep that front-of-mind as well. 

Heidi Angell 2022 Q1 Goals

 See how each of those can tie back to my Resolutions? They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable Relevant, Timely, Evaluated, and rewarded. (those that don’t seem to be, do have additional tracker sheets and SCRUM tables to achieve it, but I need an easy to print and hang on my wall thing. So… This reminds me to look at those things.)
 Let me know what you’re New Year’s Resolutions are if you’ve made any.

If you struggle with setting and achieving goals, be sure to check out the Dreammaker Challenge. It is a great 7-day challenge to help you make a focus on your personal development and guides you on how to set your goals. 

Until Next Time, 

Keep Reading! 

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How to Plan a Marketing Schedule

How to Plan a Marketing Schedule

Hello Lovely authors! 

The key to success as an author: strong marketing! The first step to that is having an annual marketing plan. Every year, I spend from Thanksgiving until Christmas putting together my annual business plan, and one of the key elements of that business plan is the marketing.  If you didn’t do this yet, it is never too late. Here’s how to get started.

Plan Around Your Publishing Schedule

The first step in planning out my marketing schedule is knowing when I plan to publish each book in the year. Book launches are so important, and having that plan on your schedule is KEY to getting your marketing schedule set up. I like to have a physical calendar and use sticky notes of different colors to mark out what will be happening when. After I set my book launch date, I count back 12 weeks and add a sticky for each marketing task needed: creating the media kit, preparing ARCS, planning the book launch details. Then I plug that all into my gmail calendar which is my lifeblood. (If you want to learn more about planning a book tour, check out my course Maximize Your Virtual Book Tour Masterclass.)

Planning OffLine Events

(AKA I Know We’re Hermits, But We Gotta Get Out of The House!)

The next step to planning my marketing schedule is to plan three conventions that I know I want to go to that year. I stick the dates of the conventions, the date fees are due for the conventions, and a reminder about a month before the due date so I make sure to have the money ready in time.  One that always goes on my calendar is B2B CyCon because I can do it from the comfort of home, and the bang for your buck just cannot be beat! 

 I also pull up a local events calendar and plan book signings around those events. Nothing sucks more (And I know from personal experience) than to set up a book signing and do all the work that goes with promoting it, only to find out that there’s an arts festival across town that same weekend. The competition is too steep and really isn’t worth the fight. Pick a better weekend, trust me! The third thing I do is plan signings around trips. If I know that I’m going to Massachusetts for a family reunion, you’d better believe that I am planning book signings for before and after. This allows you to tap into a new audience, and as a bonus, you can write that vacation off on your taxes. Seriously!

  1. Holidays are Great Inspiration for Marketers!

 The third piece to planning my marketing is to tag all the relevant holidays I can use to market my books. I aim for one event a month, and I go out of my way to find obscure holidays relevant to my books. For example, The Hell School series is about a girl who is being stalked. Most stalking incidents end in rape if they are not stopped. April is sexual Assault Awareness month. It’s a natural fit. In the Clear Angel Chronicles, Clear is a psychic who prefers pets to people because it gives her social comfort without being overwhelmed. I use this awesome Pet Holidays Calendar to plan events around that.   Think about the important features of your books. Find holidays to use for promotions. Every business under the sun uses the big ones (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, Halloween) and you can too, but you will find yourself not having to compete in so much noise if you find those special holidays. Create your own Holidays. If you write Make sure that you are not neglectiHEA romance or fast-paced thrillers, or other books that are considered great “beach reads” start promoting that they are mid-spring when people are planning their vacations.

Beach Reads Image courtesy of pixabay

Be sure to include the offline opportunities for these holidays. For National Adopt A Pet Day, go down and do a book signing at a local animal shelter, offering half of the royalties to go to donations. People LOVE that kind of stuff. And marketers love what people love because it gets people to buy. Truth.

  1. Save the Nitty Gritty for Your 90 Day Plan

Once I knock out those broad strokes, I work a 90 day plan. I pick three key marketing things over the next 90 days to focus on. That could be a book launch, that could be building my email list, that could be boosting my social media presence, or focusing on a holiday event. Whatever it is, only focus on those three key areas, because that keeps you from getting overwhelmed. We aren’t full time marketers. We are authors. Marketing can be a full-time job, or you can end up suffering from “Shiny New Marketing Idea” syndrome and then you never get anything finished. If you complete one of those tasks well before the 90 days is complete, you can add another task to fill its place. Two weeks before your 90 days end, do an evaluation and see how everything is going, and start planning your next 90 days. Maybe one of those things needs to carry over. (building my email list is always on my 90-day plan!) Maybe one of those things isn’t working the way you want. (I went through this with Facebook ads.) Can you switch things up? Is it time to let go of one marketing strategy to try a different strategy?

Get those plans in place so that when you start your next 90 days of marketing, you are ready to tackle it head-on. Trust me, if you work this plan, the plan will work and that’s what marketing is all about. 

Well, there are my general tips for planning your marketing schedule. Looking for more? Here is a great panel from Go Indie Now of some top book marketers (Yup, I’m there too!) discussing how we plan for marketing.

 What are your burning questions regarding planning your marketing? Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, 

Keep Writing!