Discover more from Erica Drayton Writes
How to Automate Your Social Media
and have more time to be creative
Let’s face it, social media is designed to keep us distracted by mindless consumption that results in getting nothing of value done. But it’s a necessary evil we must grapple with in order to communicate with potential consumers of our creative endeavors. So, how can we prevent ourselves from becoming victims of the endless scroll? One great way is to automate our marketing and promotion duties. This will keep us focused on producing content rather than just overworking our thumbs on social media.
NOTE: Many of the processes I have implemented and platforms I use may have Pro or subscription options that cost money. However, everything I am doing is FREE and only requires that you have an account with these platforms. Unless you plan on actually using the “pro” features, there is no need to pay for anything I am about to share.
Tl;dr | Here is an overall list of platforms and social media that I use. Feel free to sign-up for them (if you don’t have an account already) and tinker around to figure out how to use them to your advantage:
Platforms that House My Content | WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook Page, Substack, Medium
Social Media & Programs I Use to Share My Content | Twitter, Instagram, HootSuite, Zapier, & tweet.photo
Before I get into the automation I use and how, let’s look at what exactly I am automating and why:
BLOG POSTS [WORDPRESS]
My personal website is a WordPress site. I’ve been using and mastering WordPress ever since its inception back in 2003 and I could finally step away from Adobe Dreamweaver. To put it mildly, I know WordPress fairly well and at this point, I can build a damn good website using it in just a couple of hours. Lately, I’ve realized the value of having a blog and I house this blog on my WordPress site (as I’m sure most bloggers who use WordPress would obviously do). But you might use Blogger or Squarespace or Wix or any other similar platform. Wherever you keep/write your blog, sharing it on social media so that others know it exists is an absolute must.
WordPress has its own auto-sharing feature built it (or you can use JetPack if you connect your WordPress.com account) and while I could use theirs and move on, I find the way in which it displays on other platforms isn’t as clean and pretty looking as I’d like.
At this time I use WordPress to auto-share my blog posts to my Facebook Page and my Tumblr account.
FORMER MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
Since 2019 I have been delivering an email on the 1st of every month to my list of subscribers. This email contains information on my personal writing projects, what I found inspiring the previous month (usually a YouTube video), and recurring information such as my Live stream schedule and Patreon. I’ve since decided to move my newsletter out of MailChimp and over to Substack which means it will be more public and easily accessible to more people by design.
By turning my monthly newsletter that used to feel very “exclusive” to my list, I am able to share with more people what I’m working on and hopefully get more consumers interested in what I am about to put out.
HOW I MANAGE TO HARDLY EVER VISIT TWITTER
For me, personally, Twitter is the biggest drain on my time and I always come away feeling like it was time better spent elsewhere. I hate it. But now that I’ve automated my creativity to point to Twitter I have been able to not only stop using it but remove the app from my iPhone. I only check it to make sure my automation is working (ie I visit my personal profile) via my laptop and that’s it.
Whenever something posts on my Substack (which lately is 3 days a week) I use their Share Post button and share to Twitter. It’s not all that time-consuming as I can do this on my phone or computer and considering I check my dashboard several times after a post has been released to monitor the number of views, sharing it takes seconds. You can also add hashtags before sharing to Twitter and I recommend doing so as it can’t hurt.
I also use tweet.photo whenever I post anything to my Instagram account. Just as an FYI, the free version means it can take up to 12 hours, I’ve found, for something I post on Instagram to finally show up on my Twitter feed. But I use this because it’s the only option for having my actual Instagram image show on my Twitter timeline instead of a link that isn’t very pretty or noticeable when someone is fast scrolling through Twitter. If you know of anything else that works (I’ve tried Zapier and IFTTT and while they have options to automate from Instagram to Twitter, they don’t quite work as well as tweet.photo).
Just these few automations alone means I don’t ever have to go to Twitter, craft my own tweet, and send it. I can just let these things do the work for me.
NEVER VISIT TUMBLR AGAIN
Not that I hate Tumblr as much as I do Twitter, it’s just that I never really had any interest in Tumblr, to begin with. So, why the heck am I using it? You might be asking? Well, after checking the traffic to my site (using Google Search Console) I discovered something rather fascinating: About 90% of traffic was coming directly from my Tumblr! And this is just from having my WordPress already automated to post to my Tumblr for so many years. I actually forgot I was doing it. But I’m glad I was because my traffic is pretty consistent and steadily increasing the more content I put out.
So, I’ve decided to have my Instagram posts also post to my Tumblr page. Why not? The way I did this was to use Zapier. It was fairly easy to do and unlike tweet.photo I find the time it takes to automate is much faster. Not seconds fast but I’d say within 30 minutes or less. If you’ve never created a “zap” as they call it, it’s fairly simple. You can connect your Instagram account to Tumblr so that whenever you post on the former it automatically posts on the latter. It will include the image and all of the caption content you have on your Instagram post quite nicely, hashtags and all.
NEVER VISIT INSTAGRAM AGAIN
I actually like visiting Instagram now and find my time spent there isn’t as wasteful as other social media platforms. But if want to cut it out of your life as well you can by using HootSuite. One caveat here is that your Instagram account will need to be a “business” account. If it’s a personal account then it won’t work, at least not the way that it should.
HootSuite is great to have as it allows you to schedule posts to go out any time in the future. And if you didn’t want to be bothered with something like Zapier or even tweet.photo you can always just connect your accounts to HootSuite, craft a post with an image and then post it right then and there or schedule it for later. However, HootSuite only allows you to connect 3 social accounts for free and not just any 3 that you want. I’m also not 100% sure they have Tumblr as an option at all, even in the paid version. And with their base paid plan at $49/m, it’s just not worth the trouble or the expense.
Just do what I do, use HootSuite to post/schedule your Instagram (and Twitter if you don’t want to be bothered with tweet.photo, and their delay), and then you won’t need to ever visit Instagram on your phone ever again.
INSTAGRAM TIP: I try to include this every time I mention Instagram in my posts because you never know who’s reading. Use a note-taking app to craft your Instagram captions, especially when it comes to making sure you use the same hashtags. This way you can copy/paste it all right into your post with no problem. Apple fanatics will find this easy to do because we have what’s called “hand-off” so I can copy my caption from my Notes app on my computer and then paste it on my iPhone directly into the Instagram app.
OTHER RANDOM TIPS
For starters, because I am attempting to drive my website traffic to my Substack to gain more subscribers, I include the following text at the top of every blog post that is all a clickable link pointing to my Substack:
Cross-posted on my Substack. Subscribe today and don’t miss a blog post, update, or Friday Fiction 2.0 short-short story!
When it comes to having a Medium account, again, that’s more for getting eyes on my work in the hopes of converting those eyes into subscribers. And within Medium, they have a neat little feature that allows you to take the link of a post you have someplace else, copy/paste it into their site which will then bring over all the content and images from its original source with a handy link at the bottom of the post pointing back to where it came from. It will also back-date it to whenever that post actually was published. I take the Substack link of my blog post and copy/paste it into Medium so that anyone there who happens across me will see that it’s coming from my Substack newsletter.
One last thing I have added to my arsenal of growth is getting a Revue (by Twitter) account. Ever since Twitter came to acquire Revue (a service that is not unlike Substack in every way) they changed up anyone’s profile who create a Revue account to include a button that makes subscribing all the easier. Now, how many people are visiting Twitter profiles these days? I don’t know for sure. But having the ability to subscribe to someone with one click of a button directly from my Twitter profile? That’s too good to pass up! The one drawback (that I’m sure they’re working on) is that it’s only visible on the website and not on their app. Also, because this connects to Revue and not to whatever newsletter account I have, it means that every so often I’ll need to export the list from Revue and import it to Substack in order to get those subscribers to the right place because I have no intention of ever using Revue. It’s the feature I’m after!
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