When deciding where to focus online, most writers veer toward Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Developing a presence at those sites can be a great idea. However, with 250 million users worldwide, LinkedIn carries a clout all its own. Chances are you think of LinkedIn as a network for job seekers, and while it does function in that capacity, it offers other benefits to writers.
Although LinkedIn’s focus is business-to-business, don’t discount it as an avenue to reach readers. I personally experienced a spike in book sales after putting the word out on LinkedIn about DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven 1). The link I posted had a lot of shares, which means my network kicked in to help. As members of my network shared my update to their networks, they increased its impact exponentially, creating additional exposure for my book. This is social networking at its best. Just remember that giving more than you receive will help you tap its power. (It’s also a great way to live.)
Extend Your Network
LinkedIn allows you to introduce yourself to those in the networks of your network. This can be a powerful tool for growing your sphere of influence. Be careful about approaching agents and editors this way, though. It’s best to send them a contact request after an in-person meeting.
Give and Receive Endorsements
LinkedIn lets you easily endorse people you respect for their professional skills. This also means that others can do the same for you. While you can request that others endorse you, use this tool wisely. If people don’t know you or your work, don’t send them an endorsement request.
Discover Who Views Your Profile
It’s fun to click a sidebar link and discover who has recently visited your profile. While those who upgrade to a professional account receive more information, even those who use a free plan can see a few names. As an example, recent visitors to the LinkedIn profile for Janalyn Voigt included a librarian, another author and speaker, a digital publisher, a barbershop manager, and a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. In the past I’ve also caught a film producer and agent checking out my profile. These people can represent contacts you may want to follow up with.
Link Your Blog
LinkedIn’s blog link tool enables you to feed your blog to your LinkedIn profile. This helps you brand while giving your blog additional reach.
Automatically Update from Twitter
Feed your Twitter updates to LinkedIn. Go to settings to enable this feature.
Use the LinkedIn polls application to gain insights that can help you determine what to write, how to promote, and where to find your target audience. You can integrate your LinkedIn polls to Facebook or Twitter and also embed them in your website.
Improve Your Website’s SEO
Be sure to include a link to your website and/or blog in your profile. Garnering links back to your blog from high-authority sites helps raise its visibility in search engines. A good search-engine ranking means that when people search the internet for keywords within your topic, your site shows as close as possible to the first page of their results. This is known as search engine optimization, or SEO.
Focus on Business
One of my author friends centers his online social networking at LinkedIn more than at other sites. When I asked him why he prefers LinkedIn, he answered that it’s all business. Since he’s had to break himself of an online gaming habit, this makes sense for him. LinkedIn’s business focus extends even further than not featuring games, and that’s good news for writers in a lot of ways. On LinkedIn you don’t “friend” or “follow” people, you add them into your network. Having an established network means that you can connect on a strictly-business level with (to name a few) publishing professionals (such as agents and editors), experts in fields you need to research, technical experts who design websites or make book trailers, and other authors willing to cross-promote.
Join Relevant Groups
LinkedIn is another place to connect with others on topics of interest to your author brand. You can also participate in groups of writers to talk shop. As an example, I’ve used LinkedIn groups to compare notes with other writers in an effort to discover where to focus promotional efforts. A simple search on LinkedIn will turn up groups to consider joining. If you’re new at writing, you may want to check out a post that gives details on 20 sites of interest to aspiring authors.
Follow Publishing Houses and Agencies
Use the follow companies LinkedIn feature to keep tabs on publishing houses and agencies. As a bonus, you can see how you are connected to these companies, which can give you contact leads.
How to Proceed with LinkedIn
Start by creating a free account, and then fill in your profile completely, using targeted keywords (see the section, above, on improving website SEO). Once you’ve done this, send invitations to connect with all your contacts and concentrate on growing your network in the ways mentioned throughout this post. I’m sure you’ll agree that LinkedIn is a powerhouse for writers.
15 Replies to “LinkedIn for Writers (Build a Social Media Platform)”
Reblogged this on Cheeky Marketing and commented:
Janalyn Voigt gives some brilliant tips on how to connect with other writers on LinkedIn, another important social platform that is a must to be included into your social media strategy, helping you reach an even larger audience and target those with a similar interest. Great post, and well worth the read 🙂
Thanks for the reblog!
Brilliant post! thank you so much for the tips. I’m only fairly new to the whole blogging thing, but I think LinkedIn is another very important part of your social media strategy allowing you to reach a bigger audience…but I never quite knew how to target a specific audience, and thanks to your beautiful self, I now can get busy reaching out to a more targeted audience. Thank you! 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. Best wishes.
Love these ideas! I have a LinkedIn but didn’t know about all these features and things you can do with it. Really helpful!
Enjoy exploring, LinkedIn, Jessica!
Janalyn, we’re on the same page! I dove into LinkedIn about two months ago, and spend time every day making new contacts. It was a tremendous social network for my free Kindle deal last week, reaching many influential people in conservation/birding fields who had not yet heard of my Birder Murders. As you noted, being able to offer something free – in this case, a free ebook – really stimulated conversation and responses. LinkedIn has become my primary social networking because of its ability to let me target people who fit my reader profile. Great post!
Jan, it’s fortunate that your target audience is on LinkedIn and in groups that are easily identifiable. Not every novelist has that luxury, but even for those with less self-defined audiences LinkedIn makes sense.
Thanks for sharing your results from your free Kindle promotion. It’s sometimes hard to find that kind of transparency these days.
There are many things you can do with LinkedIn, articles like this one have helped me tremendously. There is also literature out there as well that is very helpful. The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success by Wayne Breitbarth is a phenomenal resource as well. Check it out at http://www.powerformula.net, I recommend this book to keep as a reference while using LinkedIn, you just can’t have too much help! Good Luck!
I agree with you, Loraine. I’ve only written a primer on LinkedIn here, and I’m sure I haven’t covered all its ins and outs. For those who want a more thorough examination, the book you recommend sounds wonderful. Thanks for mentioning it. 🙂
Very helpful article, Janalyn! Even though I’m LinkedIn, I haven’t spent a lot of time there. So, I was grateful for your tips! Thx again!
You’re welcome, Karen. LinkedIn is a powerhouse when managed well.
Nice article, Janalyn. I too have found LinkedIn to be very beneficial to my writing/speaking efforts. And it’s always exciting when you see another publisher, editor, or even media person checking out your profile. 🙂
I agree, Anita. That’s the fun part.
Your post below is excellent and I am working to use many of your ideas.
However, when I go and try and add an application to LinkedIn to link my blog, I get a message that I must remove an application from my LinkedIn home page and profile page. How do I do this?
Furthermore, LinkedIn help forums say that this is a bogus response from LinkedIn and that I do not have to eliminate any applications. Help. What do I do about this dilemma?
Dr. D.: (www.theFamilyForever.com); Bearley Bear: (www.bearleybear.com) (www.SquireBinForever.com) ; or Kelly :(www.theBakersDozen13.com)
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