"Have you considered robots?"
These days, being a podcaster requires an awful lot of attention to detail, and expending a great deal of time doing things which may seem, in the grand scheme of things, to be unimportant. I'm talking about social media related stuff - the things you feel you must keep doing even while the response seems minimal and you know for a fact that your refusal to pay for advertising is causing Facebook and Twitter etc. to work against you.
Despite this, you soldier on, creating some good content, but your overall picture feels hazy. What's the point in working on the Facebook page, in your Facebook group. or your Twitter feed, when it takes so much time each day to make content for such a small audience? That was a question I asked myself an awful lot, and even today, it can be very frustrating to note Facebook's very clear and blatant attempt to squeeze out everyone that isn't paying top dollar to be seen. Believe it or not though, there is something you can do!
Before I go any further, I should clarify that this strategy will cost money - about $200 a year, and that this is absolutely NOT a paid advertisement disguised as something else. This is instead me, having traversed these pitfalls and found something good, trying to share my news with you. If that sounds ok, then great, because I would like to introduce you to something called SmarterQueue.
What is Smarterqueue?
SmarterQueue is, as its name suggests, a smarter way for you to queue all of your social media content up in one place, and then order the content around so that it all makes sense. It provides you with a platform where you can actually develop different categories of content - or series as I call them - so that your social media presence does not suffer. You can also draw attention to old episodes and content in your blog etc. by making use of the evergreen feature, and recycling old content for new history friends to see.
This begs the question of course, couldn't you just do all this yourself, with some comprehensive planning and making a whole load of scheduled Facebook posts? Well, technically, yes you could, however there is a difference between eating up all your time and struggling to maintain consistency as a result, and having it all here in one place, on one platform, for you to see.
I knew for the longest time that my social media strategy was not working. I was spending loads of time farting around with new ideas, but it was so hard to consistently implement them, and I began to get sick of the whole process, the result being that my Facebook page and Twitter would sometimes be silent for days or even weeks. Regardless of the problems of these mediums, they are free ways to bring your pod to new people, and if even 10 new people a week are being reached by your media efforts, is that not worth it?
Is It Worth It Though, Really?
Maybe it doesn't sound worth it to you, but because I had the money there from my supporters, I felt like I could afford to budget for this helping hand. And that's what Smarterqueue is - it helps you communicate your message on social media easily. It is quite similar to other similar tools out there - Hootsuite, Buffer and Meet Edgar being the better known ones. Smarterqueue is not as well known, but it is absolutely better because it has the much more useful and friendly interface and, oh yeah, it is WAAAY cheaper, which, come on let's be honest, is quite important when we're not made of money.
Let me explain what this has enabled me to do. I pick two or three days a month, and create loads of content for the different mediums - I only have Twitter, the FB group and FB page - and I then feed this into Smarterqueue and schedule it. You can create different categories, which in my case, meant I was able to let my creative juices flow. Did you think I was actually entering a new #OnThisDay post into Twitter every day? Heck no! After a fairly long process, I prepared all 365 posts to be released on Twitter, and you know the great thing about it? These posts are set to recycle three times, meaning Twitter is sorted for the next four years!
Facebook is the same - almost every day I have some kind of post being released, whether that's a meme of some kind, a Bismarckism, something related to the Thirty Years War or just an interesting fact. I craft the pieces in advance, and Smarterqueue just does it, automatically, so that sometimes when I wake up the next morning there will be people replying to something I put out at 3AM.
I didn't actually put it out there at that time personally, but I told Smarterqueue to put it there. In short, I invest far less man hours, and focus on the more important things like research and production. It also means I can be far more consistent, because if I commit to do a new social media series - 100 great battles for example - I don't have to worry about losing interest. I simply craft the series by writing up several battles over 2 or 3 days, and then I set them to release over the space of a year.
Genius In Practice...
Let me put it this way, using the Great Battles example - if I had 100 great battles to talk about, and released one a week, then this series would keep my listeners fed and watered for nearly two years. If I told the posts to recycle several times once they'd been released, then you can multiply that number several times over. I could be sorted ten years into the future by telling them to recycle five times over. That is something you cannot do on the scheduling tool which FB has. It also means I have peace of mind and that no matter what I do or where I go in my life, whether I am on holidays or in Cambridge, you guys will always get SOMETHING!
If any of this sounds interesting to you guys, please do get in touch with me. Again, I am not sponsored by Smarterqueue, but useful tools like these should be shared. The more organised we are with social media, the more our voices will be heard, the more we can work on what really matters, the more our pods will be made even better. It is all connected, and organising your social media should be on your to-do list if you haven't addressed it already. As always, I am your humble history friend, eager to help if you need it!