How to survive a social media outage

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Just Five Things: How to avoid writer burnout

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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.  Familiarize yourself with the signs and  symptoms so you can take action as soon as you recognize you’re headed toward writer burnout.

2.  Take care of your physical health. Eat nutritious meals, avoid junk food, stay hydrated, manage stress, get up and move. Visit Writing and Wellness for articles on becoming a healthy writer.

3.  Step away from the desk. Writer are notorious for working 10, 12, 16 or more hours a day, but workaholic habits actually impair productivity and affect not only your mental and physical health, but relationships too. Each writer’s definition of work/life balance will differ, but the important thing is to set boundaries and make time for hobbies, friendships, recreation and other obligations.

4.  When planning your production schedule, allot more time than you estimate needing. It is not uncommon for projects to take longer than anticipated. “Padding” your timeline can reduce stress, allow for better quality output and even give you a chance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

5.  Be selective in how you spend your time, money, energy, creativity and other personal resources. If projects, conferences, relationships, etc. don’t contribute to your life or career in a relevant and positive manner, now may not be the time for them.

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: Storytelling with photographs

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imagesJust 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. Look for images that reflect a mood or emotion.

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Contemporary romance author Chris Keniston (R) at a costume-party reader event.

2. Compose photographs with contrasting, surprising or unexpected elements.

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A romance author in a military hangar? Heather Ashby makes it work.

3. Focus on unusual details or perspectives.

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This reluctant reader was still willing to promo Jacki Delecki, one of her favorite romantic suspense authors.

4. Aim for spontaneous vs. staged.

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Cover model Vikkas Bhardwaj sends a personal message to a fan.

5. Develop photographic themes related to your branding.

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Historical romance author Madeline Martin often pairs wine and romance on her social media.

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.