Writers spend a lot of time on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok and the next new thing that just came out between me writing this post and publishing it (can somebody say Clubhouse). Social media has a lot going for it and no doubt you’ve been encouraged to have a presence on at least two platforms. You’ve found that you’ve been able to connect with readers, influencers, and other authors. Hopefully, this networking is building relationships and spreading the word about your books. But social media is constant. It’s open 24/7, even on holidays. It can be all consuming if left unchecked.
You know your most important job is to be a writer not a social media manager and yet it feels like you can’t get off your device, tapping one social media app and then the next. And then you finally take a look at the time and realize that a good chunk of the day has disappeared with little work to show for it. What happened?
Mindless scrolling, doom scrolling. Constantly updating your account to see how many new likes you’ve received or comments you immediately need to reply to. You’re looking for good news from author friends – who sold a new series, who hit a new list, whose book is out on NetGalley. That’s where you block of what should have been writing time went. Now you’re stuck having to make up that writing time somewhere else in your busy schedule. Which puts you on the proverbial hamster wheel and lamenting there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.
If it were the fact that you were just wasting time, that wouldn’t be the worst thing. What’s happening when we’re on social media too much and seeing everyone’s fantastic news and new ranking on Amazon, creates an overwhelming feeling of FOMO. And given enough time in this state, the FOMO creeps into our lives and our writing. It can be detrimental to your creativity and production.
But, social media is a part of an author’s job so what can you do? Here are five tips on how to have a more sand relationship with social media. Creating these rules for your social media consumption and usage will help the relationship.
Set time limits
How much time do you really need to be on Instagram or scrolling through your Facebook feed?
Do you use scheduling tools for your social media posts? If not, consider trying one of them. Benefit: you won’t be distracted and you’ll get your posting done quicker.
After you’ve set the times you’ll check-in to reply to comments, cheer on a fellow author or like your cousin’s fabulous DIY project, you’ll need to assign how much time you’ll be on each platform.
Check comparisonitis before tapping the app
Here’s where FOMO ratchets up. It’s natural and happens to every writer whether they admit it or not. You see another author receiving an accolade, an ad placement from her publisher, hitting a big list or getting oodles (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of comments on her sparse, one-sentence mid-week update while you haven’t hit a list, there’s no ads for your book and your posts go largely unseen because of algorithms. Envy and FOMO happens. Just keep in mind, social media doesn’t always show the entire picture. And while you feel like you’re missing out on something, the author you’re feeling a twinge of jealousy about probably feels the same way about you at times. Before you tap the app, remember that. (Ooh, that’s kinda catchy.)
Turn off notifications
You really don’t need to be notified every time you get a like, a comment or when you’re tagged. Remember, you’re in charge of your daily schedule not Facebook. See tip number one, set time limits.
Set a limit of how many people you follow
You don’t have to follow everyone. I know, it’s an etiquette thing but the truth is it’s okay not to follow a Facebook page or friend or business acquaintance if you don’t want to. There are a lot of reasons not to follow someone and it’s okay if you don’t follow everyone.