EVENTS An effective online presence


Many writers and illustrators struggle with creating an online presence. Organised by SCBWI Scotland's Onie Tibbitt and Caroline Deacon, the event shared the tools of the trade, while highlighting the importance of balance. Pamela Evans shares her takeaways from Josie Deacons’ workshop.


Josie explored useful platforms, how to create content, select hashtags, and follow trends. Let’s start at the beginning…



Why? Many writers hop on social media because they’ve been told to build a presence. Building a meaningful presence requires some thought. What are you hoping to gain? With whom do you want to connect? Make a list of your specific goals. Are you hoping to connect with other writers? Agents? Readers?


How? Josie guided us through various social media. The platform you choose is all about your why. Twitter works well for joining the writing community. It’s helpful to make lists for agents, publishers, or authors you want to follow so you can cut through the newsfeed and get right to your interests.


Instagram is more likely to connect you with readers as well as fellow writers. Notice the hashtags used by writers and agents you follow and use them. Josie discussed the sweet point for hashtags that will get you noticed. Aim for hashtags with a good following, but not necessarily huge, increasing your chance to be seen.


For those who have the time and interest in posting daily, TikTok is where you will find young reader groups.


Once you find your platform(s), you’ve got to stand out! Josie recommended Canva as a great way to add interest to your posts. Canva has many templates to help you easily create everything from an Instagram post or a Twitter banner to a video.



What? You’ve decided your Why and How. You’re up and running. How do you know what’s working?


If there is one thing Josie stressed, it’s time management. Your priority is writing and/or illustrating. Now you’ve got to get the most out of your social media time. That’s where scheduling posts and analytics come in. It’s super easy on Twitter to go to your home page, click on the scheduling button, and follow the prompts. You can set up your posts in advance so social media doesn’t impede writing time, but instead does the grunt work for you.


In Twitter, analytics is found in your navigation column on the left. Click on more, and then on Analytics. You’ll learn which posts are generating interest.


As for newsletters and blogs, the hot tip to remember sounds simple but is often forgotten. Make the content useful and interesting to the reader!


Josie covered a great deal in one morning. Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to see her again in the future. Might I suggest a session on Newsletters?


*All images courtesy of Pamela Evans and Josie Deacons.


Pamela Evans is a writer and educator. Find her book reviews and more at Twitter: @PamelaEvans Instagram: pamela_evans_author



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