Guest Speaker: Emily Rabitoy
Emilie Rabitoy is a retired dairy farmer who has found a way to use her work ethic to help authors achieve their dreams. She worked as a subcontractor for another author assistant before starting her own author assistant business. Emilie quickly learned how to effectively promote authors and their books, and the importance of social media management. Emilie currently resides in Western Wisconsin with her boyfriend and two cats. She loves romance novels and coffee.
Maria: Here we are Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Maria Dismondy and I am the publisher of Cardinal Rule Press and we are a children’s publishing company and I am thrilled to introduce you today to Emilie Rabitoy and she is an author assistant. A lot of her work is done virtually and today we are going to be talking about social media management.
Welcome Emilie. Emilie has a really cool story. She has been in the industry working with authors for almost two years now. Tell us what you were doing before and how you transitioned into this work.
Emilie: For the previous ten years before I became an author assistant I was in a dairy farm with my parents which was amazing.
Maria: That’s really great. I was on a farm just before this interview, I went to a field trip by the farm. You are a dairy farmer and how did you break into working with authors?
Emilie: One of the cows left and I found myself with a lot of time and a lot of work ethic and I felt like there was a way for me to channel all of that to do something. A lot of what I enjoyed over the farm was the fact that I knew everyday that I was giving back and I wanted to find a way to give back still.
I was a sub-contractor for another and I wonder if I could do this on my own? So in the very beginning of 2017 I took the job, I was like, “Maybe I could do this.”
Maria: So you’ve always wanted to help people, you’ve always wanted to help humans or animals. Now, let’s jump into talking about social media. Let’s say someone is tuning in right now and you’re thinking, “I just don’t know how to get started”, what would be your advice, what are some tips you can give someone who is marketing and who hasn’t jumped into social media quite yet? Maybe they’ve put one foot in but not all, what can they do?
Emilie: The first thing I will tell them is that fact that you don’t have to have an account everywhere. It is better to be present in one or two places and really be present there than have ten accounts that you’ve never touched because there’s never enough time.
Maria: And how would I decide which account to choose, to jump on to?
Emilie: Looking at where your audience is, for authors I suggest Twitter. There are lots of other authors there who can offer helpful advice and there are a lot of readers there who are looking for you.
Maria: If you are an author who’s looking to get published, there are a lot of agencies, whether it be a publishing agency or a literary agent but they are out there on Twitter absolutely. But looking at different genres, maybe you are writing self-help and Twitter would be a really great place. I have found with children’s book, because our market is parents and teachers, a good place for us is Instagram or Facebook.
Emilie: Facebook will always be the largest social media platform so in that aspect, Twitter and Facebook are both really great because you are always going to have a ton of people on Facebook.
Maria: So, that’s how we’re going to get started. We’re just going to choose one and now what are we going to do next?
Emilie: My favorite thing in the world when it comes to social media management is using a scheduling tool because if you have a social media account and someone goes to follow you and it hasn’t been touched in three weeks, they’re going to be like “Oh, this person never really checks social media” and you can use a scheduling tool to keep your account active and keep a content there. It will help you immensely.
Maria: Do you have any recommendations on tools that you prefer?
Emilie: I actually use both Hootsuite and Buffer. They both have such great qualities apart from each other. I use them both frequently. For someone who’s starting on Buffer, it’s much easier to use, it’s very straightforward.
Maria: That’s a good tip. I think what most of these schedulers, they will offer different price platforms so don’t be turned off thinking I’m going to have to pay a ton of money. A lot times there’s a free account to get you started and then as you increase the amount of content that you want to be scheduling, then you might have to go into that bracket of paying. One of the platforms, a team member of mine uses is the Facebook scheduler too. Those just go right into Facebook and scheduler content there.
Emilie: That’s an excellent free option. It’s already integrated with what you’re using.
Maria: I’m loving this. Number 1: just pick one platform, number 2: we want to be sharing content, we want to be putting stuff out there so that when fans and followers do reach out, and again if you’re not an author, maybe it’s a customer who reaches out and is looking up your company online, you want to be active. So, what would be the next tip for an author wanting to DIY social media management?
Emilie: My last tip is actually to utilize that Facebook scheduling tool to your best advantage. It’s already there, you’ve got the option to use it. Chances are you are already posting content there so to use that to your advantage is a safe bet.
Maria: Do you have any recommendations because this is one that I think there are different opinions out there but how often should we be posting online?
Emilie: I usually try to do it a couple of times a day. I’ll be honest, my Facebook is neglected more likely than not because I enjoyed Twitter so much more but posting there a couple of times a day and just in content. It doesn’t have to be a new blog post. Even like my absolute favorite story, the first video I shared on Facebook and what absolutely in my first 6 months of social media, the one that got the most views was a video I had shared on my favorite cookie company at the Minnesota state fair. An insane amount of views compared to everything else I have shared and that blew my mind.
Maria: That’s because people like images, people like videos, videos are trending. If you and I were talking two years ago about this, it would be completely different. Social media is something you want to stay on top of and you’re right, video right now is trending and it’s popular and people’s attention spans are really low so I don’t know how long that video of yours was but it probably wasn’t super long was it?
Emilie: Absolutely not, I think it was a minute and a half.
Maria: So people’s attention spans have really gone down. These are really helpful tips on how to get started. You’ve got a couple of tips there, you’re telling us maybe post one to two times a day. You did say something, you’re Facebook got neglected a bit because you really enjoy Twitter. I think it’s okay to say “Hey, I really love Instagram and I’m going to spend more of my time there. I think it’s important that your audience is there but you can do something in social media that brings you joy and my example would be that in my company, I have several people on my team, I’m super lucky to have a lot of go-getters and people sharing content, I will not let anyone touch my Instagram.
I love photography, I love the organic feel of Instagram so it’s mine and I enjoy sharing content there with my target so it’s one that I just don’t give up.
Emilie: What are the chances are if you enjoy the platform that you are working on, you may not have an audience at the beginning but the more you enjoy it and the more you be interactive, the audience will come.
Maria: If you put it out there they will show up. Now, you’ve talked about, if you want to do it yourself. Let’s say someone is listening and tuning in and they’re thinking, “I don’t have time to do it myself. I’m selling more books, more products” or whatever business you’re in, how can an assistant come in? What can they do? How can they help? What are the benefits to having an assistant come in and do the social media management for you?
Emilie: I would say the biggest benefit to having an assistant of an author is the time. When you’re writing books, time is worth more than anything else. So having that extra time to work on your writing and editing in work and what you’re passionate about, it’s huge because chances are you’re not passionate a lot updating that Twitter status twice a day.
Maria: That is true. The creative mind doesn’t always work well in this area of marketing when it comes to a routine posting.
How do you do as an assistant, because that’s what you do and we’re going to share, there should be a link to your website because your services are amazing and I love what you offer. What do you do? How do you know what to share for your authors? How do you know what kind of content?
Emilie: I usually try to get to know them and get an idea for what their target audience is. I have one client who is from Texas and absolutely loves her home state. Every Tuesday we share something about Texas or great tourist spots. That’s all about getting to know your client and getting to know what they want to represent.
Maria: Is it a variety? How do you decide what kind of content? Is it always a picture or do you try to… two times a week we’re going to share an article? So, you get to know your client but how are deciding on the overall campaign schedule.
Emilie: I try to keep it mixed up. It’s no secret that images and videos perform much better on social media these days because they’re processed so much faster both by your eyes and your mind. I try to mix it up a little bit because it will not just perform great but there are a lot of helpful articles out there that should be shared also.
Maria: How many hours are you recommending authors, bring an assistant in to work on social media, a week? How many hours a week does it entail do you think?
Emilie: I spend about six hours a week on social media for each client just making sure that everything’s in order and part of that involves making graphics and things to represent their brand. But just keeping everything scheduled, that’s about six hours a week.
Maria: Do you give them a heads up if somebody is making a comment or are you interacting with people as well or are you asking the author to come in and say “You got all these comments, you need to reply back to them”? How does that part work?
Emilie: It’s about 50/50. I have a lot of clients who are much more comfortable with Facebook and I’m more likely to interact with them on Facebook and if things come up on Twitter I try to interact there as well. A lot my clients will interact on their own Facebook page and reply to messages and things like that.
Maria: As far as how an assistant can help, is there any type of analytic or reporting that you can give to an author to say, “You and I have been working together for three months and at the beginning…” did you do any type of reporting for your authors so that they can see kind of like a return on investment or if things are improving, is there any type of analytics that you can do to offer to your clients?
Emilie: There’s no formal analytic but I do like to check in often an say, “the Twitter following have gone up or this is what your Amazon book pages used or I have been watching those numbers fluctuate. There’s no formal like each month I’d send them charts and graphs but I like to check it weekly and let them know, always sure they’re posted on LinkedIn and it’s gotten 8 likes and a bunch of other comments.
Maria: You have any word to share on LinkedIn?
Emilie: I’m really new there, I’m just getting started.
Maria: I post there and I think it’s important and I’ve seen posts do really well over there and I try to give it some love once a month but I probably should be over there a little bit more often.
Emilie: That’s how I feel about Pinterest. It’s there, you look in the middle of little bit of love every now and then but not constant.
Maria: Is there anything else you can share with us as far as role of being an assistant to other authors on how you’ve helped them, maybe a personal story that you want to share on how your work has benefited another author?
Emilie: For me it’s almost a hard decision because there’s nothing that makes me happier when I get that message from a client like, “I’ve got to sit down this weekend and I’ve got so much writing done” and I knew that they didn’t have to worry about their day job, didn’t have to worry about their social media, they weren’t worrying about book sales. All they’ve got to just sit down and write because a lot of the pressure that they’re otherwise would’ve been worrying about is on me so they have just to do what they’re passionate about.
Maria: I have to tell you, I do group coaching for authors so we have group coaching sessions and we talk about all different types of marketing and how to really get your books messaged into the world and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients say, “but I’m a writer and I don’t think that I need to be doing social media management.” Here’s the deal, I can agree to the extent that, yes, you do want to focus on your writing but someone’s got to be doing it, and your publishers are not doing it a hundred percent for you. You don’t want to look at it as publisher (top), author (bottom). I think it needs to be looked at as publisher-author like you were in it together and if you’re marketing and you’re sharing on social media about your book, it’s going to benefit your publisher and if they’re sharing, it’s going to benefit you, so it’s a team effort. So I always tell authors, you are a writer and I love that but you also are truly a small business owner and in order to be a successful small business owner, you have to know what to do to get your message into the world because if people don’t hear about your book, they’re not going to buy your book. The thing I love about social media management is, you’re not just out there saying, buy my client’s book, buy my client’s book. You’re out there saying, here’s all about this author, here’s an article this author wrote about X Y and Z and how it can help you. You’re giving value to the readers and then the readers begin to know they can trust your client, and then the readers say, this author’s really amazing. They’ve got a new book coming out, I’m going to buy their book. I know them because I’ve been following the on social media.
I think the value, and I’ve been very excited about this interview because I don’t see enough authors finding the value in social media and the importance of having it in their business.
Emilie: And that’s where ultimately you will have people pick up your book, but ultimately, where you’re going to find your readers is through social media.
Maria: Absolutely. You can basically market for free on social media, there’s Facebook ads and there are ways that you can boost posts but for the most part, it’s free and it’s grasped with dial marketing and it’s out there and if you’re ignoring it, I need you to wake up and turn on the lights and then I want you to look up Emilie because she’s amazing. Emilie where can we find you? You’re hanging in on Twitter, what’s your handle?
Maria: I will post your website below and you have a beautiful list of services so if anyone is listening right now and they are interested, definitely check out Emilie’s website. Emilie, how do you meet with clients? Do you do like a virtual call like this or do get on the telephone or is it email? How do you check it?
Emilie: … if their preference is like the email, but there are clients who like to do a monthly phone call and video chat just to make sure we are on the same page and keep everything in order and that’s hugely beneficial to keeping everything in order. I enjoy that as well.
Maria: This has been so valuable and I hope that everyone tuning can see that there are DIY (Do It Yourself) ways that you can manage social media on your own or you heard the benefits of hiring an Assistant. I know my assistant works 8 hours a week on the whole social media management, so anywhere between 6 to 8 hours a week that gives you 6 to 8 hours back into your life and to what you’re passionate about in the business.
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My name is Maria Dismondy. I am a children’s book author who also founded the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press.
Finding ways to market my messages is a passion of mine. I want to help you gain greater recognition of your brand, to generate new readers and improve your sales. Why? Because I love to GIVE and CONNECT and I truly believe we are all in this together!