Guest blogger, Julia Cooke reporting and giving some of the points from Lesley's presentation:
I write from the lounge of the Hughenden where Lesley Vamos, armed with her Mac decorated with one of her own illustrations, is talking about designing, branding and linking social websites for authors and illustrators. There is a mixture of authors and illustrators gathered around in armchairs and couches.
Start small and do it well. Make sure you know how they platform works and specific terms (ie. Facebook owns all images you put on there for example, or logging out of YouTube). Blogs are good for writers for obvious reasons, but Lesley recommends using twitter if you are a waffler as it will keep your updates short!
Many of us do multiple things, or rather have multiple audiences/clients/customers. Lesley's website (striped-designs.com) is a good example of a hub where you can direct everyone (and is the first thing you find in a google search) and which then allows them to easily find the relevant information about the different things you do! And as Lesley says, is so easy to create a website now! But good content is very important. Take care with design: choose backgrounds, choose colors and there are websites that will help you choose pallets.
Networking is very important. Find like minded people, build a network. Lesley's advice is to comment on other pages and blogs to help people get to know you. And showing genuine interest will always be appreciated. Some of Lesley's suggestions include: guest blogging, trade, art trade with well known artists...
And once you have interest, you have to maintain it. Loyalty is valuable, but hard to earn. Invest time! But it can feel overwhelming to keep up with social media. So, set time limits, but also make sure you put time aside to do it. Lesley also explains that it is really important to be consistent and blog regularly. She suggested working out how often you can realistically post (daily, weekly, monthly) so that your audience know how often to check back and don't feel let down, which is when you could lose followers.
Lesley suggests, if you can, being everywhere, on all platforms - you want to get to everyone so you need to be on everything! Lesley notes that it is fine to post same thing in multiple places - multiple platforms will probably have different audiences!
Lesley top advice: tell everyone what you are doing! The feedback you get is very inspirational and encouraging. And the immediacy of the internet makes this so fast Branding yourself, creating a public identity, is a big fat commitment. It is hard work, but is really worth it!