At conferences, one of the things I hear many writers and artists talk about is that their biggest fear/worry/stumbling block/insecurity (besides their craft – because hey, we all know how that is), is how to use social media. I’m writing this quick article with some tips because while I’m not officially a paid social media person, I’m really good at it. Really.
First of all, breathe. Don’t be scared. It’s okay. We were all beginners and didn’t know how to do any of it until we did. Please don’t feel insecure about the things you haven’t done yet. It seems daunting, but it’s not. Really. Please trust me.
Here are my tips:
- Don’t be nervous about it.
- Treat social media like any other social interaction (meaning, be kind and respectful).
- Start with the one or ones you are comfortable with. It’s okay not to be on all of them, and you don’t have to be on the ones you think or have heard are trendy. Do what works for you.
- Start small – I recommend Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (professional) to start. You can build but you don’t want to be overwhelmed.
- Engage in others’ posts. Be truly interested in them and make thoughtful comments. (Which means don’t sell or post only to promote yourself. This is a HUGE no-no and just turns people off to you and your brand.)
- Join groups within your chosen site(s). Facebook has tons of groups, especially for kid-lit people.
- Be active every day in some way. Check posts, post something on your page, and again, get involved. Social media is just like networking; it’s about building relationships.
- Promote others and support your friends and colleagues.
- Always be positive without lying.
- Never complain about an agent or editor, or slam anyone’s work on any form of social media. It’s there forever if you do.
A note on SAFETY
Do what you want, but my suggestions are: Don’t put your home address on any social media site. You might use the main area, like if you live in Silverlake, say “Los Angeles” on your profile. Don’t post when you are going away. Make your profile PRIVATE so only your connections can see your posts (this is mostly for Facebook; for Twitter and Instagram, it’s better to be public, so just be aware of what you are saying and posting on there). Don’t post pictures of your kids, or if you do, post only on PRIVATE pages. Don’t give out personal information in quizzes and lists, etc. Use a different password for every site and change it at least twice a year.
I hope these tips help you get out there. If you have questions, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to reply! You can contact me through my website below.
Stephanie Olivieri has been an SCBWI member since 2012. She’s an illustrator and a writer, illustrating cartoons by day and writing gritty YA by night. Find her at www.stepholivieri.com.
Illustrations provided by Stephanie Olivieri.
Photo by Jason Howie, Creative Commons License