Thursday, 20 March 2014

Managing Twitter Stress with a Posting Schedule

Twitter is a tough business. You have to be posting constantly if you want to attract new followers and - more importantly - keep the followers you've gained. And what you're posting has to be valuable to your followers. They need a reason to keep following you, after all.

It's only fair. But it's also labour-intensive. And if you're like me, an author-blogger trying to build your name and your platform, your blog content is probably taking a back seat to your in-progress manuscript ... or worse, you're neglecting your manuscript in order to produce content for your blog.

Talk about your double-edged sword.

The Beauty of Twitter

One of the great things about Twitter is that you don't need to produce your own content to share great content with your followers. Twitter is saturated with writers - great writers with great insight on everything to do with writing and blogging and marketing and what have you.

By sharing other bloggers' posts, you not only provide valuable content to your own followers, you help market your fellow writers and extend their reach.

It's a beautifully digital twist on the classic symbiotic relationship.

But once again, if you're like me, time is an issue. You have to spend time looking for valuable content to share. You've got to get yourself organized with the author's Twitter handle, a Bitly link (or an Owly link, or whatever), and an understanding of the content you're sharing.

Something that's meant to save time is still pretty labour-intensive.

Enter the Posting Schedule

I got the idea for a posting schedule from an acquaintance whose job is social media in a corporate environment. With this brilliant little tool, she organizes her Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest posts a month in advance.

Admittedly, as a writer, I don't quite need the same degree of organization to my Twitter activity. So I adapted the posting schedule to my own purpose.

Here's How

  • When you have time, search Twitter for interesting posts that you feel your followers might find valuable
  • Create a shortened link right away and record it in a spreadsheet 
  • Record the title of the post, the author's Twitter handle, and the website's Twitter handle if the author has written a guest post
  • Keep a column where you can record the date of when you made the post

Keep all these things in a running spreadsheet for later use - when you are strapped for time but want to send out a tweet or two to keep yourself active on Twitter. 

It's kind of like the glycemic index, isn't it? You compile a list of three or four valuable posts at a time, as time permits, and hold onto them for sustained release.

Here is what my current posting schedule looks like:

And here's a helpful hint: if you use different computers at different times of the day (perhaps you're at work, or using a tablet when you're away from your personal computer), create your spreadsheet through Google Docs. You can then access and work on your posting schedule whenever - you are not limited by access to only one computer. If you have wifi, you can work.

Sharing other writers' content is just one of the many ways you can be a valuable contributor in the Twittersphere. To keep control of the stress of having to find things to tweet, organize yourself by using a posting schedule.

I've been doing it for a while now, and it's been working great for me.

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