Thursday, March 02, 2017

30-day Challenge: Forgetting, Failing & Finding the Fun

Remember in January where I said I was going to be SO productive this year made a New Year's Resolution to do a 30-day challenge every month? And then...I made it 6 days on the self-care challenge. I stuck with the   for two months and counting. Plus, I am still using my planner. Mostly as a place for stickers. But it's a start.

This month I'll focus on my newsletter for the social media challenge, and take on a trifecta of challenges so that I can catch up. 

But Jenna, if you forget to do one challenge, how will you remember to do three? That's where the planner and stickers come in.


One of my girlfriends posted that she's going to do  the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge for Lent. I've started it before, but draw a blank on where to declutter, and forget I'm supposed to. However, organizing always has me tossing stuff out to simplify. So I got some cutie-patootie stickers on etsy for the 30-day Declutter Challenge with the daily task. See where I'm going with this? Day 1 was the fridge which was much easier to do after a tossed out a bag of condiments we don't use and expired schizzle. 

The third challenge is a 30-day Yoga Challenge. Just doing one pose a day, which is almost my speed because I'm only a month out from surgery. I'm hoping to get back to practicing three hours a week, eventually. 

Because I'm in a planner kick, I made up a FREE printable for 40 Bags in 40 Days stickers. Keeping it cute keeps me on task.

Click here or on the image to print. 



Who wants to play along? 

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Social Media Challenge: Facebook Friendly

I knew my Social Media 12-month Challenge would be work... but during a month with a release, sale, and a freebie promo push for my penname... it was hard to make time for. I'd planned to focus on Facebook, and I spent way too much time there this month. But, I think it takes more than a few articles to make a change in that realm.

What I Did:

Using the advice to post at the busiest times: 1-4 pm. But here's the thing, do you think it's 1-4 EST? Or 1-4 PST? Or is it some larger window of 10-7 PST so you cover all your bases? Insights says my audience is mostly online from 8am-6pm PST. There isn't a difference between days of the week. Not what current opinion says, but opinions change.

Vary types of posts - promotional, informational & social. My posts were skewed this month because I had a new release & a sale on another book. Very promo heavy, which is why I'm hesitant to say I made an impact on my Facebook presence this month. More than half were promo - though mostly soft sell like interviews/articles/reviews/quotes - and those posts did better than pictures, conversation, contests & informational.

Posting more often is suggested by many, but not too much. I've been told at least twice, no more than four, once is enough, and to follow every promotional post with three non-promo posts. I opted to try 2ish a day. Which meant posting 50+ times.

Facebook - and promo in general -  really cut into my writing time this month. And while social media is important, it's crucial that I write books rather than just try to sell them. To make sure I stayed on track, I pre-scheduled a couple posts every day. This gave me a chance to vary my promo posts so the same images weren't popping up every single day. It made me feel less annoying and freed me up to work instead of watching the clock and waiting for it to be the 'right' time to post. I set up Twitter this way as well.

What I Learned:

Aside from the above, boosting posts puts you in Facebook purgatory for five days. I $5 boost to make sure it's targeted right and then might add more. There's no point in posting often following a boost. 14 people might see it as the scroll by.

Facebook ads are hard to make work for you. I experimented with four different ads, some using what I thought was my audience, and others trying to find it. I didn't have a successful ad this month, so that is something I'll need to revisit. Probably with a friend who's good at it sitting next to me.

Contest prizes don't matter as much as I thought. I hosted three giveaways this month - print books, gift card, and gloves. The gloves had the most entries. Now, I think it was clever because it went with the snow theme the blog I posted it on did and they mentioned it often on their social media. The gift card had an average response, and the print books were very low. No idea if it is a reflection on me, or print, or discoverability. I'm not a fan of contests in general. I don't know how to promote them, and nothing is sadder than a contest with no entries.

Friends make all the difference in who discovers your posts. My best performing post wasn't a boosted one, but something I asked friends to like or share.

I personally think social media is in a slump right now. My feeds are mostly political, with the occasional comic relief. It's the mood of the entire country, so I'm hoping when that lifts so will social media engagement.

 What I Want to Try:

I've heard good things about using Facebook ads to drive  people to like your page or sign up for your newsletter. One of my friends has newsletters dialed in right now, so next month I'm going to have her come over and tell me what I'm doing wrong in the set-up.

Because I had so much going on with promotion, I was hesitant to change gears from the normal way I handle Facebook. I want to try some techniques I read about for timeline contests, getting likes on posts, and maybe even setting up a Facebook group for the peeps who help me out with reviews and such. But then I get all anxious because what if I make it and no one joins? It's like the seventh grade all over again and hoping to have someone to sit with at lunch.


Next Month:

My newsletter has done well for me, but when I hear about the depth of other authors mailing lists I get a little awe-struck. Almost everyone with a big newsletter has done some kind of mailing list promotion. I used one company where they have about 30 books and people enter to win from each author they want to try. Another company I'll use works similarly except the books are all in the same sub-genre (romantic comedy, hot contemporary) & there is a grand prize (iPad).

I'm going to be business as usual with my organic newsletter list because it does so well for me. The majority of the people  on that list open the newsletter and click their way to something I pointed them towards. I'm going to work the new subscribers differently. I want to set up a drip campaign - where new members get a welcome message and some kind of freebie, then a follow up recap of who I am, what I write, and release  plans for the year. That should help weed out fake email addresses, mistake sign-ups, and those who aren't interested. Eventually I'll merge the lists.

Last month I did a newsletter swap with the other two Indulgence authors releasing that week. Because our books are part of the same category line, Having them in the newsletter didn't feel like an ad or hard sell. We just used the picture and quote promo graphic. I want to do more of that, but I have months until my next release. Until then, I'm going to pay it forward a bit. Just one or two, so I don't get uncomfortable about seeming so... marketingesque. I'm thinking of running a contest to get sign-ups and follows, as well as trying to collect via Facebook.

What should I give away?