A few years ago, some bloggers decided to take up "Slow Blogging" to combat the race to blog every day, Monday through Friday, week after week, month after month. They slowed their pace to one post a week. At the time I was posting three to four times a week, which I could do because I was spending most of my time sitting on the sofa breastfeeding my new baby with a laptop balanced on my knees. But it was a pace I couldn't maintain once I returned to the San Francisco Writers' Grotto and began writing again. So I, too, took up slow blogging. And it was the best thing I ever did, social media-wise. Slow blogging keeps me on my toes without forcing me to run in circles. It keeps me on a schedule that I can maintain even during the crazy back-to-school, holiday, and summer months. It makes blogging something look forward to, like a hobby, instead of something I dread, like a job.
The second best thing I did was to delete Google Friend Connect from my blog. That wasn't much of a choice because Google discontinued Friend Connect for Wordpress blogs, but I was SO happy to bow out of that race. Too many bloggers were spending too much time hosting contests to get people to "Join This Site" all for the sake of having a big number in their sidebars that really didn't serve much purpose. (Followers weren't notified of new posts, and they didn't have to enter their email addresses, so what was the point?)
The third best thing I did was to stop looking at my Klout score. When Klout (the social media influence score) first came out, I was obsessed. I would stay up late @replying and retweeting and having Twitter conversations with friends all for the sake of improving my Klout score, which invariably decreased every time I A) Stopped tweeting constantly or B) Klout changed its algorithm for calculating its scores. After the second algorithm change, I said, "Flout this!" and deleted the Klout app from my phone. Tweeting has been more enjoyable ever since.
The fourth best thing I did was to NOT post to Pinterest, NOT to post to LinkedIn, and NOT try to post daily to Instagram. No one can maintain more than three social media networks and do them well. I blog, I tweet, I post to FB, I try to post to Google+, and that's enough for one person. That's not to say you shouldn't be using LinkedIn and Instragram. They may be your social media networks of choice. But don't try to do them all. No one can and remain sane.
Although I definitely recommend that you ratchet up your social networking in the months immediately before and after a book release, you shouldn't stop there. You should begin—ideally—three years before that first book comes out and continue on until the next book come out, and the next, and the next. And to do that, you need to pace yourself, so you don't get burned out. Social networking is a marathon, not a sprint.
What about you? How often do you blog? Tweet? Post to Facebook and Google+? Instagram and Linked In?
Meghan Ward blogs weekly at Writerland.com. Her upcoming workshop Social Media Mastery in a Day at Book Passage in Marin is now enrolling. Follow her on Twitter @meghancward and on Facebook @meghanwardauthor.
Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder via Creative Commons