Social Media 101: Editorial Calendars

If you’re anything like me, you know how important staying organized is- not only for your records, but for your business as well. That’s why curating the perfect editorial calendar is an absolute must when planning your social media content.

What is an editorial calendar?

Essentially, it’s a tool used by businesses and influencers alike to outline specific content over a fixed time period across different platforms (i.e. social media accounts, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, just to list a few). These calendars add the structural element your social media needs to consistently yield results. In addition to that benefit, having an organizational system in place for your posting helps to streamline the process and ultimately save time for other important tasks.

Why is it useful?

Apart from its organizational benefits, an editorial calendar lends itself to consistent posting –which ultimately boosts traffic to your website. And because of social media’s fast-paced nature, it’s crucial to get your content out there as frequently as possible in order to stay relevant and memorable. Editorial calendars are the perfect organizational vehicles to do just that.

Where can you find an editorial calendar template?

While there are a ton of free downloadable templates online or in Microsoft Word, I find it most convenient to use Google Calendar (you can find some useful tips and tricks for using the application here). I’m on my computer all day every day, and it’s easiest to go through my bookmarked websites in Google Chrome and make calendar adjustments or additions when needed. It also includes color-coding, which is another useful tool.

If you are struggling with creating content to populate your social media calendar, don’t panic. You can learn about the newer functions of applications like Instagram from our recent blog post. Happy planning!

Social Media 101: Instagram Updates

What’s New?

With over 800 million monthly active users (users returning to the application each month), Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world (Dustn.tv). This application is beat narrowly in web traffic by Facebook and Youtube, which you can read about in our recent post. Instagram didn’t earn its massive audience overnight -this social media staple has been around over nine years- so what’s new with Instagram updates since its launch?

Instagram Stories

Following the example of Snapchat, Instagram rolled out its story feature in August of 2016. Almost half the app’s following use this Instagram update daily (Hootsuite).

  • How to use it – You can either tap the camera icon at the upper left-hand corner of your app, or, if you haven’t already added content to your story, the plus (+) sign at the bottom edge of your photo in the story bar. This bar borders the top of your feed. Via either option, a camera view will fill your screen. You can select from several options in a scrollbar at the bottom of this screen, which we break down below:
  • Type is the brass-tacks option among the story features. This is a text-only post that allows you to choose from “Modern,” “Neon,” “Typewriter,” and “Strong” as themes at the top of your Story window. Type excludes the extras available in other Story features including filters, stickers, etc.
  • Music allows users to search from Instagram’s library via query, or by “Popular,” “Moods,” and “Genres.” Once you’ve chosen your song, you cut a clip of your choosing (up to 15 seconds in length for copywrite purposes) and post away. You can also use this feature second-hand in other Story features to give your content the perfect ambience.
  • Live allows you to interact with your audience in real-time. Once you hit “Go Live,” a feed of your viewers’ comments will begin. You can also invite any viewer to join your live -eager fans or fellow authors can really liven up your stream and build great relations between you and your following.
  • Normal is the option your Story camera defaults to. You can tap the circle, center-screen, for a photo and hold for a video. Like the other features, you can add a filter to your photo or video by tapping the sparkling smiley icon at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. After a photo or video is taken, you can add a filter; sticker (this includes location, @mentions tagging other users, hashtags, and even music just to name a few); drawing, and/or caption.
  • Boomerang uses an app that you download externally to access via Instagram. Boomerang is the trendy app that allows you to take a short video and turn it into stop-motion, repeating piece of content. Whether it’s opening your newest book or sipping a cup of coffee, Boomerang can add a modern edge to your Instagram story.
  • Superzoom is a feature that gradually focusses on a face throughout a video, as it is video only. While Superzoom focusses on the targeted face, background objects and people are blurred. You can select from five different filters to add the right mood to your post. Superzoom also excludes the extras available in other Story features.
  • Focus is similar to superzoom in the way that you target a face with your camera as the centerpiece of your content. The major difference between these two features is that you can make Focus a photo or video. Focus also excludes the filters available in superzoom, as well as the extras that other features include.
  • Rewind is another video-only feature that simply plays the content you record in reverse.
  • Hands-Free allows you to record a video without holding down the center button. Otherwise, for the features including video mentioned previously, you must hold down the center button to record. Releasing the button ends the video you’ve started -excluding the Live feature.

The Instagram Story is a great way to generate quick and consumable content for your audience without much planning; one in five Instagram stories get a direct-message response. This feature can tap into the potential audience you’ve been missing all along!

Instagram TV

IGTV was launched June of 2018, a function inspired by Snapchat and adopted by Facebook as well. Essentially, this Instagram update provides a host of channels that cable networks can’t with this innovation. Each show stars a celebrity or person of interest and lasts only minutes. IGTV not only introduces a new set of outlets for you to plug yourself and your book, but you can also create your own channel.

  • How to use it – By tapping the television icon in the upper-right-hand corner of your app, next to the direct message icon, the IGTV feed will open. There you will find a cog; upon tapping the cog a prompt to create your own channel will appear. You can either upload videos from your mobile library or record one from the application. There is no landscape layout to this feature -vertical videos only, making it optimal for mobile use. IGTV is great for users who want to publish videos longer than a minute to their Instagram audience.

If you find yourself struggling with these new Instagram updates, don’t panic. We have an infographic that breaks down the basic functions of Instagram for beginners.

Stay posted for more great information on social media for authors!

Social Media 101: What’s New with Facebook?

What began as a social networking application for students at Harvard in 2003 has blossomed.  Today it’s the social media giant that billions of authors consult every day. You can find a timeline of Facebook’s evolution here. While the social network’s growth can be neatly mapped out, it is a bit more difficult for users to understand how to use all of its newer features. That’s why we’ve decided to lay out a revamped guide to Facebook as one of the handiest tools in an author’s belt.

Social Media Stories

The Facebook Story is a newer function that you might be overlooking. Inspired by Snapchat, then adopted by Instagram, Facebook also added this feature to its dashboard in 2017.

  • How to use it – By clicking the camera icon on the upper-left-hand-side of your mobile app, you can take pictures and videos of your choosing. After that step, you will be prompted by three options: “Effects,” “Save,” and “Your Story.” The Effects option allows for different filter/sticker/text/location edits to add that extra pizzazz to your content. Save allows you to store this content on your mobile device.  Your Story allows you to load content to the designated bar at the top of your audience’s feed. You can find stories below the search bar of your app, represented by a circle containing your profile picture. You can also simultaneously load content to your story and your feed by selecting the option before you post. Each of these posts can be up to 20 seconds long and will expire after 24 hours.

This changes the game for a once text-oriented platform. The Facebook Story is a great opportunity for authors to share quick snapshots of a new book jacket, merchandise, or even your breakfast -it is a simple, free way to both promote a product and interact with your following.

Live Streaming 

Facebook Live functions as a branch of the Facebook Story. Below the search bar in the Facebook application, you will find the status bar. There are three options located in the status text box: “Live,” “Photo,” and “Check In.”

  • How to use it – Live is represented with a video camera icon; upon clicking this icon, a camera view similar to that of the Story comes up. The difference with Live is that you are sending a video in real-time to your audience. You can add a text description to your video, for example, “ARC Unboxing!” Live also comes with its own set of filters and effects, you can even invite another user to conference in your broadcast (by selecting the “Bring a Friend” option). You can choose where your Live video appears by tapping the “To:” drop-down, where you can make your broadcast public, address only your audience, or share it to specific groups you are a part of on Facebook. Like Stories, you can simultaneously upload a live broadcast to your story and your feed. Facebook live also displays how many people of your group are online, which makes choosing the most high-volume time for your broadcast a breeze.

Live is useful for broadcasting an event, making announcements about your product, or generally interacting with your audience. Users can comment on your Live broadcast and fielding those questions/comments can build a rewarding repartee between you and your following.

You can find more information on the basic functions of social media like Facebook here. Make the best of your Facebook following with these new tools!

My Guide to Influencer Outreach

With the prevalence of social media continuing to grow, influencers are becoming incredibly powerful tools in content marketing. In fact, a Tomoson study found that influencer outreach is “the fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel, outpacing organic search and email marketing.” For one, influencer outreach is incredibly useful when it comes to relationship development. We’re currently working on a couple of campaigns whose central audiences are geared toward the education market. So, how did we expand our outreach? We found popular teacher Instagram influencers with over 12,000 followers who we can approach with the latest series additions for optimal publicity. A simple Instagram post or story can go a long way in terms of making a lasting impact on consumers.

With that said, it’s imperative to implement tactics that best reach both influencers and your ultimate target audience. The key in initially building durable relationships, in my experience, is to come across as genuine as possible. Considering the numerous amounts of DMs these influencers sift through every day, taking an unorthodox, new approach can help achieve the attention you desire. Avoiding the clichéd, copied-and-pasted pitch will certainly help you stand out from the rest. Here are 3 tips to help you do just that:

1. Design your pitch around how your product or service can be beneficial to the individual influencer and less about how they can be beneficial to you. Any salesperson will tell you that people are of course more interested in what they stand to gain, so always keep that in mind. For instance, when reaching out to the teacher influencers we emphasized why our book would be a great addition to their classroom libraries. What teacher doesn’t love free books!?

2. Show them you know who they are. Instagram/Twitter bios are convenient, go-to places to find that kind of personal information- so utilize it!

3. Be relatable. It’s basic human nature to be drawn to people who you can relate to. It further shows these influencers that you’ve taken the time to scroll through their feed to find out what they’re all about.

All in all, influencer outreach can be extremely advantageous if approached properly. Authenticity is essential when building any type of relationship, so treat influencers more like people and less like brands.

Social Media 101: Tumblr for Authors

TumblrTumblr is a combination of social media and blogging—users actively post content to their Tumblr blog, but they can also re-blog and like other users’ posts. Tumblr can be a fun platform to use because it is very different from Twitter or Facebook, and it is a perfect platform for authors to use because it is easy and creative. The number one rule for this platform is to make sure to have fun with it!

Here are 5 ways that authors can use Tumblr:

Reblog or post GIFs or screenshots. Tumblr is full of screenshots and GIFs that are at your disposal to use, from TV shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation, or movies like Clueless and Mean Girls. You will give your account exposure this way because GIFs—especially those that are popular or humorous—will more likely be reblogged than other posts.

Use it as a blog with a purpose. Do you have a specific topic you’d like to blog about, but don’t necessarily need all that SEO and headline writing that comes with a WordPress blog? Tumblr can be a great use for “micro-blogging” or just writing a couple sentences on a topic every day or once a week. For example Clients from Hell started as a Tumblr blog, where they posted anonymous comments about bad clients. Other examples include Bookworm of Camelot which specifically blogs about literature, or That Coffee House Tumblr which only posts about coffee.

Use it as a social network. Don’t just focus on your Tumblr but make sure to follow other blogs that you are interested in and might reblog. Comment and share your stories on other users’ posts.

Use it as a news and events page for your website. Did you get a new Amazon review or were featured in a literary blog? Did you have an event last night? Share these links and photos on your Tumblr and make sure to tag the posts with tags that people frequent (books, literature, amblogging). Did you see another Tumblr post a photo of your book? Reblog it! Connect it to your website so that it is easily accessible.

Use it as your writer’s blog. If you are interested in blogging but know you aren’t going to commit to writing hundreds or thousands of words a week, Tumblr is the perfect way to keep people updated with your life by posting short blog posts or GIFs, new music you are listening to, news articles you just read, etc. with little commentary. Did you just read an interesting New York Times article on how sales at independent booksellers are up? Did you finish a book you have mixed feelings about? Post it on Tumblr and ask your readers what they think.

Many artists and creatives are on the platform, from Taylor Swift to Veronica Roth (Divergent) to Rainbow Rowell (Landline; Carry On). It doesn’t take up as much time as a regular blog and it is more interactive for users because it is so simple for another person to reblog your post. Check it out and you’ll see how much you may just enjoy it!

For more insight on social media check out our blog posts here.