I can’t even begin to count the number of writing guides and blog posts I have read that advise an author to ‘be everywhere’ when it comes to social networking. After all, how hard can running multiple social media accounts really be? The odd tweet here and there, a video blog, a few Facebook posts a week, and-oh, you forgot about that LinkedIn account. Maybe you’ll post something there next time. Or maybe not.

As you can see, maintaining several accounts can actually become a bit of a burden, especially if you aren’t particularly engaged with one or two. The thought of posting there becomes tiring, as your efforts seem to be focused elsewhere. Do I really have to post to Google+ again?

If this sounds like you, then don’t worry too much; I think we all go through a crisis of social media balance at some point. I want to share my personal social media strategy to explain how I balance things, and why quality beats quantity every time.

Social media output

I set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest. Being familiar with all five, I thought I’d be able to run them equally, providing a varied enough output on each. I steered away from LinkedIn for the time being, as I wasn’t quite ready to make the leap into unfamiliar territory just yet.

Thank God I did stay away.

As things stand, I post regularly on my Facebook author page. I try to get all of my blog content up there, and provide occasional discussions/photo uploads just to add a personal touch. Twitter has to be my personal favourite, though, where I share useful links to other blogs, as well as content of my own. Not so coincidentally, Facebook and Twitter are where the bulk of my website traffic comes from.

And, um, that’s where the social media balance starts to falter a little.

The also-rans…

I really don’t know what to do with Google+, partly because I’m not totally sure ‘what it is’, yet. I’m not sure anybody does, hence its rather stumbled start to life over the last twelve months or so.

Initially, I used it very similarly to Facebook, sharing links to my blog posts. The discussion side of things I figured would come with time, but nobody is really listening over there, so as it stands, it’s basically just a list of external links to my website.

I’d love to do more with G+, as I believe it could be a handy platform when used well. Please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments at the bottom.

As for YouTube: it started well, as I uploaded a couple of videos outlining my progress and unveiling the website. After that, I struggled to come up with adequate weekly content on the busy schedule I already have. I adapted my plan to update it monthly instead of weekly, as I do believe in the power of vlogging. That way, I can focus my efforts elsewhere over the course of the month, with videos being something of a novelty extra.

So, what about the new kid on the block, Pinterest? I don’t know where I stand on this. I can see the benefits, for visual people, but sadly, I don’t think I am one. Strange, I know, but I guess I will have to adapt in the future and make the most of it.

I still have a Pinterest account, but the link to it from my website no longer exists, as I feel it is strictly in the ‘B-Playlist’ of my social media balance mixtape. For anyone who is interested in Pinterest, I would recommend Beth Hayden’s comprehensive blog post.

Quality > Quantity

Despite that trio not feeling much love, I’m still happy with my social media output.

I have a loyal, growing following on Twitter, and my Facebook page allows me to reach out to primarily real-life friends and keep them in the loop. For now, I’m pleased with that. I spend around an hour or so planning my social media content for the day; any more than that would simply eat into valuable writing time.

If you are an author, and are looking to set up social networking accounts, I would advise you to think very carefully about ‘being everywhere’.

If you have the time and the motivation, then absolutely – give it a try. If not, pick two or three sites, and give them the bulk of your attention. It’s better than having eleven rushed social networking accounts, that’s for sure. Your audience will see right through it, and it could ruin your legitimacy.

Oh, and one final word on the matter: I know it’s cliché, but the best form of marketing really is a quality, well-written book or story. As Jody Hedlund elaborates,  ‘Building a readership takes time, and quality books.’ Don’t let social media swamp your writing efforts.

Next week, I will focus on ways in which you can balance your social media approach, including planning tips and sharing methods.

How do you balance your social media output? Do you find it more effective to show a few social media accounts your full attention, or a bulk of them your passing interest?