Monday 25 April 2016

How Can Real Life and Social Media Work Together?

Peter James talk at the London Book Fair
On 14 March 2016, I gave a talk about Social Media for Writers to the Freelance Media Group ("FMG") in London, and mentioned how useful social media can be when combined with meeting someone face-to-face. I used the example of how when first joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association (“RNA”), I went to the Summer Party and didn’t know anyone there. But when I joined Twitter and Facebook in October 2011 and attended the RNA Winter Party a month later, I knew quite a few people in the room.

Approaching someone at an event is less daunting when you’ve previously met them online, and you may find someone recognises you from your profile photo (assuming it's a recent one!) and/or name badge and that they approach you. Many RNA members I've met online and in real life have since become good friends.

Me in action at FMG talk (credit: Maggie Hamand, thank you!)
The other speaker at the FMG that day, Carol Stone who talked about networking at events, found it interesting how social media could be used with face-to-face networking effectively, and this gave me the idea that the subject might make a useful blog post.

During my talk, I wrote down the Twitter handles of those in the room (who had them) on the whiteboard so they could follow each other and liaise online afterwards. This kind of exercise can help to build social media relationships if you’re a member of a group of writers/authors, and a list of handles of those you know can be helpful if you’re joining Twitter and have no idea who to follow.

Lunching with Alison Morton at the London Book Fair
Other opportunities have arisen for me to meet people in the book world and afterwards build stronger social media relationships at: RNA parties, chapter meetings and conferences; the 2014 Historical Novel Society (“HNS”) conference, HNS chapter and conference committee meetings, and book launches. At the recent 2016 London Book Fair, whilst waiting for talks to begin at Author HQ and at Alison Morton’s book launch for INSURRECTIO, I met authors, and book industry professionals who I either knew online already, or who I followed on Twitter and got to know on Facebook afterwards. 

If you attend an event like those mentioned above, you can make the most of it by: taking lots of photos, tweeting/updating Facebook live if possible (and before the event to say you're going), blogging about the event afterwards using the photos; and by tweeting and tagging on Facebook who you saw afterwards, using the photos. Although tagging someone in a non-flattering photo of them isn’t a good idea, and I'd only tag someone on Facebook if I knew them online before the event (or if I knew for sure that they wouldn't mind). If you want to make the decision on whether a photo you’re tagged in is added to your Facebook timeline (rather than it happen automatically), check your Timeline and Tagging settings.

And when someone gives you their business card, follow them afterwards on social media, and say hello if you're feeling brave enough. This gives your online relationship a head start.

In other news:

HNS conference article in Romance Matters
I’m thrilled to have a piece included in the latest issue of Romance Matters, the Romantic Novelists’ Association magazine about the upcoming Historical Novel Society Conference. Thank you to editor, Adrienne Vaughan for publishing this article, and for giving it so much space! Also, I'm mentioned under new Associate Members on the same page, which is exciting.

My next course on Social Media for Writers is fast approaching on 7 May 2016 in London. This course is fully booked, but I hope to run another one in November, to be confirmed on my website. If you’d like to be added to the email distribution list for future courses, let me know at anitajchapman at gmail dot com. UPDATED: Find out about future courses here.

And finally, I’ve been asked to write an article on social media for writers for the fabulous online magazine, Women Writers, Women’s Books on 18 May-such a privilege. (Now published here: How to get the most out of social media as a writer)

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7 June: Sue Moorcroft on Street Teams (now published)

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  1. I absolutely agree with you about joining social media before an event. Like you, I only 'knew' in real life a couple of other writers when I went to my first RNA party. Luckily, because I had a presence on FB, Twitter and my blog, many people came up to me to chat, having recognised me from my photo. It was such a relief!

    1. It makes such a difference doesn't it, Wendy! And it means that you get so much more out of an event because you know more people there.