How to survive a social media outage

Standard

Yesterday, Facebook and its related apps, including Instagram, experienced an outage. Many users reported the inability to log-on and use these social media platforms. While some people might roll their eyes and deem this a non-priority issue, there are many for whom the outage was crippling.

Really?

Yes, really!

outage

Facebook (which also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) has evolved into more than a cool place to post cat memes and recipes. There are almost 3 billion social media users worldwide, which translates to more than a third of the world’s population using social media to communicate.

For many people, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms are today’s virtual water cooler. They are communication tools, often critical for sharing information and connecting with professional contacts. They are also advertising platforms so an extended outage like the one we just experienced can affect revenue.

Screenshot_2019-03-14 Ads Manager - Manage Ads - Campaigns

My work was directly impacted by the Facebook outage. I could not post social media content related to clients’ products and events. I could not check metrics to evaluate advertising performance. On a more fundamental level, there were individuals I could not exchange information with.

I’ve identified seven strategies to avoid a work interruption when Facebook (or any other social media platform) goes offline.

1. Email clients to alert them to potential problems. If you anticipate the outage may impact specific issues (such as a prescheduled live event) be prepared to offer solutions to minimize impact on clients’ followers/audience (such as sending out an eblast/email).

2. Check other social media profiles for messages or outreach from clients/contacts who usually rely on the channel(s) experiencing an interruption.

3. Monitor the outage so you can resume work as soon as access is restored.

4. Post a message acknowledging the outage on other social media profiles. Include instructions/contact information if appropriate.

5. Expand your social media footprint. If you only have profiles on one or two platforms, create “social media outposts” on other channels to remain accessible. Chris Syme has how-to advice on using outpost channels.

6. Collect contact information for clients/contacts. Include email and phone numbers, as well as social media links.

7. Diversify how and where you communicate, connect, engage and advertise.  Social media is just one method for communication. Others include your website, blogs, newsletter, texting, phone calls and–my personal favorite–in person.

Office coffee break

Just Five Things: Time Tamers for Authors #just5things

Standard

One of the most common challenges for authors is time management. It’s a struggle to balance career and family, but within the hours dedicated to work, one must balance writing time with admin, marketing, social media and the myriad other tasks that require attention.

Editable vector silhouette of a lion-taming man with whip and chair

Here are five time tamers to help authors stay organized, productive and sane.

1. Structure your day by 1) scheduling uninterrupted blocks of time and 2) grouping similar tasks. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done in as little as 15 or 20 minutes without interruptions. Similarly, bundling tasks that utilize the same tools, applications, even mindset, is more efficient than bouncing between creating graphics then answering an email then editing a few pages in your manuscript.

2. Create a To-Do list. If you’re not a list person, keep a notepad beside your keyboard. Jot down action items, thoughts or other mental clutter that distract you and dilute your focus so you can be more efficient and attentive to the task at hand.

3. Identify your peak performance time and handle complex or demanding tasks during this period. Are you a morning person or a night owl? When is your creativity the freshest and strongest? How long can you write or work before hitting the wall when nothing more stands a chance of being accomplished? Answering these questions about yourself will enable you to work smarter, not harder.

4. Prioritize your tasks so the important stuff gets done. Writing time should always be your top priority. Other top priorities include self-care and personal time.

5. Use a timer to enhance focus (no distractions checking the clock every few minutes) and stay on schedule. This is my all-time favorite time management trick because it’s simple and it works.

Are you an author who struggles with time wasters? What’s your favorite time tamer?

Dec. 3 ~ Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

Standard

Founded by Jenny Milchman when her children were young, Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of books with young readers. It is also an opportunity to support local booksellers, become active in the local reading community  and reinforce the importance of literacy.

This year’s celebration falls on December 3, 2016, the first Saturday of the month and, not by accident, the start of the holiday shopping season. Thanks to the support of bloggers, bookstores and book lovers, the event has grown each year. In 2015, more than 800 bookstores across 50 states and five continents participated in Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.

For ideas on how to get involved, visit TakeYourChildToABookstore.org.

TakeYourChildToABookstoreBanner

Just Five Things – How authors can work smarter, not harder

Standard

5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Track your word count and then calculate the average hourly rate. Knowing how long it takes you to write a book will allow you to create realistic deadlines.

2.  Batch similar tasks such as posting on social media or responding to emails, etc.

3.  Identify tasks that can be accomplished in short bursts of time or while away from your desk, such as editing pages, making phone calls, etc.

4. Disconnect from the internet to eliminate interruptions and the temptation to constantly check your email/social media. This makes it easier to focus 100 percent of your attention on the task at hand.

5.  Use a timer to keep you on schedule. Another focus enhancement strategy so you aren’t clock-watching or stressing about missing an appointment.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things – Why authors need a website

Standard

WhiteJust Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Authors need a website (or blog or landing page) so readers can find them on the internet.

2.  A website serves as “Grand Central” for authors. All others resources, such as bookmarks, swag and social media, should redirect readers and fans back to your central hub (website).

3.  A well-organized website will provide information commonly needed by readers, fans, media and marketers: bio, book list, reading order of series, new releases, career accomplishments, etc.

4. Websites are the internet-version of business cards so they should include contact information and other online profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter and  YouTube.

5. Websites give authors autonomy over content vs. having to abide by the rules and regulations of social media sites or internet “real estate” owned by another individual/organization.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: How to network online

Standard

5 2Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Establish an engaging, interactive online presence that reflects your brand, service, product, business, etc.

2.  Identify  professionals peers who share your target audience and connect with them on social media.  Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their newsletters/blogs.

3.  Create a list of 10-20 most influential contacts and engage with them on a daily or weekly basis by making thoughtful comments and sharing their content.

4.  Send a personal email or message to individuals when you’ve found their information or expertise helpful. Be sure to include your credentials as a subtle invitation to cross-promote and/or network with you.

5.  Create profiles at social networking sites such as LinkedIn, but also those specific to your industry.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: How to overcome imposter syndrome

Standard

5 1Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Acknowledge your successes. It’s easy to focus on the negative so keep a gratitude journal or bulletin board where you can remind yourself of your achievements, accolades and progress.

2.  Stop comparing yourself to others. Each person’s journey is different, but equally vital.

3.  Just own it. Imposter syndrome sneaks in when we feel like we’re misrepresenting ourselves. Be honest about who you are and what you have to offer. No apologies, explanations or justification required.

4.  Be prepared to fail, lose, make mistakes, look foolish, and not know all the answers. No one wakes up one day an instant expert. Every obstacle you overcome, each new lesson or skill you learn, each experience you open yourself up to adds to your worth.

5.  Identify your imposter syndrome “hot buttons” (i.e. lack of experience or lack of education) and take action to improve in these areas.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.