First of all, let me start by saying that I am not an expert in the field of becoming a social media master. I get that that’s a little strange for a piece of advice to start, but it’s the truth. All I can offer is my ‘words of wisdom’ from over a year of muddling along, stressing, feeling like I was constantly glued to my phone and then finally finding peace and balance with it all.
At the moment, I manage this website, an accompanying Instagram account @jesskitchingwrites, a Twitter account, an illustration account named Sisterhood Illustration and a Facebook page for my writing. I do this alongside working as a teacher and social media manager. Oh, and I also write creatively.
Even writing it down, I can see it is a lot. I’m not the biggest blogger or illustrator by a long shot, but I post regularly, interact every day and my platforms continue to grow which is all I ever set out to do. So how do I do it?
- Use a scheduling app for Instagram. If there is one piece of advice I recommend the most, this is it. It will save you so much time and effort! I spent well over a year manually posting my content. It would take at least an hour a day to create an image, edit it if necessary, write a caption and share it. Then I would spend whatever free time I had replying to DMs and comments. It was exhausting! I grew to resent social media which took the enjoyment out of what I was doing. Thank goodness I found Later!! I now sit down for an hour or two on the first of each month and schedule one post a day for the next 30 days. These posts share automatically, then I spend twenty minutes every day replying to comments and DMs… how easy is that?! Later has changed my social media life! If you want to start a Later account (you get 30 free posts a month), feel free to use this referral code https://later.com/r/jessk-93-5c974a
- Pick a posting schedule you can keep up to. One of the main things about using platforms like Instagram and WordPress is being consistent. I did not do this for such a long time. I would post sporadically, sometimes multiple times in a day, sometimes not even twice a week. It doesn’t look good to be all over the place and people turn away from following you. Now on WordPress I post twice a week, one interview and one article. On Instagram I share one scheduled post a day. This is not only manageable for my lifestyle, but it also means I don’t ‘worry’ about finding or creating content.
- Get organised. I plan out when I need to focus on social media and when I need to focus on my other responsibilities and roles. I know my Later posts reset at the start of every month, so for me the first few days are spent focusing on that. Organising my time like this means that whilst I may have a few busy days at the start of the month, the rest of my time is much freer.
- Don’t get too caught up in the ‘stress’ of it all. It’s so easy to see people with thousands of followers and think ‘why isn’t that me?!’ or panic when your growth slows down. Once I passed 1000 followers, things slowed for me, but so what? Having an audience, any audience, is amazing! That’s 1000 people who care enough about what you have to say to follow you. Take is as a compliment and don’t take it too seriously.
- Prioritise your time. If you have an important deadline at work, that needs to come first. Likewise, if someone is asking you to meet up and you’re halfway through scheduling your content, ask them to meet later. If you’re serious about building your social media then you need to give it the time and attention it deserves whilst simultaneously making sure it doesn’t take over your life. Not easy, I know, but once you start thinking with your goals at the forefront of your mind then it becomes a lot easier.
- Post what you want, even if that means experimenting with what that is. One of the top pieces of advice when starting social media accounts is to pick a ‘niche’ and stick to it, but it’s not always easy. You might not be able to afford new clothes all the time as a style blogger or might not be able to travel frequently to share photos just about travelling. It’s your content so post what you want! I tried my hand at so many different types of post in my first year of writing and only now feel like I am sharing content that fully feels like it is ‘me’. You might not grow a huge following overnight this way, but at least you’ll enjoy what you’re doing.
- Take a break. I might glance over my notifications as I put my phone on charge before I go to sleep, but you will never find my sitting glued to my phone on a night. I used to, but then I’d get into bed and not be able to switch off so something had to give. Now I try to take at least the last hour of the day for ‘real life’. As easy as it is to fall into a social media spiral and spend hours online, no amount of likes and no follower count is more important than real life.
- Only do it if you enjoy it. This is so, so important. If you aren’t enjoying what you are doing, it will become a chore no matter how well you balance your time. There are still parts of what I do that I find exhausting. For example, I hate Twitter. I find it the most negative platform on the internet so I barely use it other than to share my articles. However, whilst I don’t push to grow my Twitter, I put my effort into Instagram, the platform I like the best. From this I have made some fantastic connections and friends which is all I could ask for.
I am sure that there are many other ways you can balance managing your real life with your online life, but these are the top ones in my opinion. I hope they help you realise the areas you want to focus on, prioritise your time and most importantly enjoy yourself online!
To follow me on Instagram, head to @jesskitchingwrites