benlandis

Social Media & Email Management for Musicians

Engaging with fans is fun and rewarding. It can also be an addictive time suck.

If you check your email, Facebook, and Twitter first thing in the morning, you’re doing it wrong!

Better to start your day creating something worth tweeting about. As a self-confessed productivity junkie, I’ve tried dozens of approaches. This one stuck.

What follows is a step-by-step guide to social media and email management, in the form of a daily routine. It assumes you are on Facebook and Twitter, but can easily be expanded to other networks. All tools mentioned are free unless stated otherwise.

best times to tweet

First we need to figure out when to post your content. Because the half-life of a tweet is so short, Twitter requires the most frequent updates. SocialBro determines your best time to tweet by analyzing when your followers are online and when you get the most retweets, with several glorious charts downloadable as a PDF.

The results of this analysis can be exported directly into Buffer, the next weapon in my arsenal. Buffer fires off your tweets on a predetermined schedule, with detailed analytics on each tweet’s performance, including clicks if you connect a bit.ly account. Mine are set for 6:40 AM, 8:40 AM, 10:40 AM, and 12:40 PM PST.

Now we’re ready to begin our daily routine, starting at the end of the work day.

Scheduled Updates

Twitter

I select four items from my list of status update ideas, and add them to Buffer. If an item is particularly important, I’ll reword it and schedule it twice, non-consecutively.

Facebook Page

Facebook allows you to schedule updates from the page itself, with full support for thumbnails and tagging. Enter your update as usual, then click on the clock icon in the lower left corner.

To manage your scheduled updates, scroll to the top and click on “Edit Page” then “Use Activity Log.” It’s clunky, but superior to any third-party tool, for a whole host of reasons that would take another article to explain.

I schedule an update from my Color Theory page at 9:40 AM, and from my Resonance Mastering page for 11:40 AM.

Facebook Profile

If your personal profile is truly personal, you can skip this. My friends and fans are hopelessly intermingled, so I schedule one update for 7:40 AM.

Since Facebook doesn’t support scheduled updates on personal profiles, I use Post Planner. The free option does the job, but I’m in the middle of a 30-day trial of their $14.95/month service, that posts to pages as your own app:

When you click on “Color Theory” at the bottom of the update, it redirects to colortheory.com. Fancy!

I’ve now got seven updates scheduled hourly from 6:40 AM – 12:40 PM, in order to maximize my exposure to fans following me across multiple networks. While I avoid repetition as much as possible, I reword important updates on different networks on different days. I also swap my Facebook update times between my profle and pages to mix things up.

Now sleep tight, knowing that your wit and wisdom will enrich the world while you hone your craft in focused isolation.

Focus Items & Alarms

I start my day by selecting two or three focus items from my to-do list. If I anticipate an urgent email, I configure ifttt to send me a text message when an incoming email matches my search criteria. All push notifications are disabled, on both my computer and phone.

I perform two daily social media and email checks, at a half hour before lunch and an hour before the end of my work day.

The rest of the day is dedicated to project work, like making music!

Social Media Checks

FanMix pulls all my Facebook and Twitter conversations into one clean inbox:

The key word here is conversations. If nobody responds to one of my updates, it won’t appear. If someone replies to Aunt Judy’s status update about brownies, which I commented on last week, it will. It handles both public and private conversations – in short: everything you need to see (and nothing you don’t).

There’s no need to visit Facebook or Twitter, so don’t do it!

I know what you’re thinking: “You selfish egomaniac! You’re not willing to devote one minute of your precious time to others’ thoughts and concerns.” Not true! I schedule time to do just that (Friday afternoons are perfect).

By separating fan engagement from socialization and general time-wasting, I participate in social media on my own terms.

Email Checks

I review my inbox starting with the oldest email, following these rules:

  1. If an email requires an immediate response or can be completed in under 2 minutes, do it now.
  2. If it can wait until a later date, use Boomerang to return it to my inbox at a time of my choosing.

After working through the most recent email, I label and archive everything left as “reviewed.” Inbox zero! Any remaining time before lunch/end of the day is spent replying to “reviewed” emails.

Summary

Two social media and email checks per day, plus scheduled updates.

Unless you get way more email than I do (and I get a lot), it shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half total. If you get too far behind, you can always devote an extra hour on Friday afternoon to catching up.

I challenge you to go all-in for one week. You’ll be amazed by how much you accomplish, and how clear your head is without a steady stream of interruptions. You don’t have to use every tool mentioned in this article, but at the very least, commit yourself to two checks a day.

There’s so much more I could write, but I don’t want to bog down an article on productivity with clarifications and exceptions. That’s what the comments are for, so let me know what you think!

Tools

Custom drawing by Ben Landis, starring Matt of the chiptune album+comic Adventures in Pixels.

51 thoughts on “Social Media & Email Management for Musicians”

  1. Hey Brian. Thanks for including FanMix into your article. We're trying to do our best at making it easier for people to streamline their social media workload.

    This is an absolutely great 'how-to' make the most out of your day with social media article.

    I use all of these tools personally and have a (albeit) eerily similar system in place.

    Thanks again from everyone at Fanmix.

    Drew

  2. My pleasure Drew! I find the similarity of your system oddly comforting.

    Thanks for developing such an awesome service! I tried several others, but all of them were missing pieces of the puzzle – particularly private Facebook messages.

  3. You are so, so, so much more disciplined than I am :-) But I love some of these tools you've found… def way to try FanMix. You know, even though this is a blog about music promotion, this post totally applies to my work on Last Minute Island Vacation.

  4. I can't seem to find a link to the free version of post planner. Is it possible that it is no longer available?

  5. Hi there! Thanks for the post, it can be a life-saver, avoiding me to check every ten minutes Facebook-Youtube-Mail. The only problem here in Africa is that almost no one is using twitter, hence the question: is there anything like SocialBro but for Facebook?
    Thanks!

  6. Facebook has some decent page analytics built in, but as far as I know, nothing that will forecast the best times to post. Crowdbooster calculates best times for both, so maybe give that a shot?

    Hootsuite is kind of handy, but it still required me to log into Facebook. If memory serves, it doesn't handle messages or replies when you comment on other peoples' updates.

  7. I appreciate that! Well, there's the weekly batch, which I mentioned earlier. That would take an article to explain. And then there's a bunch of subroutines and tweaks to this social media/email system, which I originally had in the article, and decided to cut for clarity. Again, that's probably an article's worth, and would only apply to a small subset of readers. So… that wasn't very helpful, was it?

  8. Nice! The scheduled updates on twitter is a good idea. Repetition is key. I've been finding lots of stuff on the new Bourne movie in my facebook timeline. I'm sure that has definitely helped promote the film. I'm sure bands and musicians can use this too.

  9. Thanks Brian! I'm forwarding this to my other friends in the business. we were just talking about writing daily to-do lists, so we don't get sucked into checking how many likes our last post got. now I have to make east coast and west coast FB lists, so I can schedule posts at different times.

  10. You could go really hardcore and write out your entire week's list on Sunday. A little too ambitious for me! I wouldn't bother with two lists though – just go with EST, where the vast majority of users are (I'm in LA myself).

  11. Excellent article – I'm going to try this and see how I get on. I find I get sucked into Twitter and FB too frequently, and then for hours, so I know I need to discipline myself. Thanks for the tips!

  12. Yeah, but for Facebook, I prefer to schedule posts directly from the page, so I can add tags and thumbnails. For Twitter, it's impossible to see where you left off, so I prefer TweetDeck and Tweetbot.

  13. Brian, give me some advise or a link to a blog that explain some info on this…

    Do I use my facebook profile or my facebook page to promote my music most? or both? I have little experience with facebook and am trying to know how to go about this. Thanks!

  14. Hi Brian, I have just read and implemented everything you have suggested! I am so hooked on constantly checking my social network and email updates…massive time wasters! Thanks for this, I'm going to try it! I've noticed that Buffer can also update my facebook profile. Would it be simpler to use buffer for facebook profile and twitter rather than adding post planner into the mix too?

    Thank you for this post, truly simple to read and implement. Lovely stuff! Great drawing by Ben Landis too (who actually just purchased my latest release on bandcamp today, randomly enough).

  15. Thanks for the kind words! I don't recommend updating Facebook with a 3rd party app. There's some debate about whether or not it affects EdgeRank, but you certainly don't have as much control over the thumbnail, and can't tag others. Plus people can see that you posted from another app and aren't actually on Facebook, which could make them less likely to comment.

  16. Wow Brian. You just blew my mind! Crazy that there’s people like me who dig this deep into almost everything. Being a perfectionist is very effective!

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