For authors, who you know can be just as important as what you know. The connections that you make throughout your career are one of your most valuable resources that you can have. You never know when you might pick up an email from an old friend with a new opportunity.
And that’s why LinkedIn can come in handy – after all, as the world’s premier social networking site for professionals, it helps you to connect with contacts and to follow them throughout their careers. I’ve teamed up with Dane Cobain to help you make the most out of LinkedIn. The problem with LinkedIn is the etiquette can be tricky, and many authors find it difficult to tell where to start. Here are ten tips to get you going.
Personalise Your Messages
When you send connection requests, take the time to personalise your messages by offering a little context. Tell people where you met them or let them know how you might be able to help them. Use their names where possible, to show that you’re not an automaton, and include personal details from previous conversations to show that you listened to them.
LinkedIn Groups offer a fantastic way for writers to connect with like-minded individuals, from networking groups and industry chatrooms to specialist groups for cover designers, editors and other industry professionals. Just be sure to avoid self-promotion – people will notice, and it’s usually against the rules.
Take Advantage of LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn Pulse is the name of the company’s inbuilt news platform, and it’s a good idea for writers to take advantage of it by regularly posting articles. These posts are pushed out into your news feed, and people are able to easily like and share them or to leave a comment to continue the discussion. The very best articles are featured in their relevant categories, typically leading to several thousand extra views.
Most people don’t realise that they’re able to embed multimedia – such as video clips or presentations – into their profile. It’s a good idea to do so, because it can help you to stand out in a sea of indie authors and because visual content tends to be more accessible and engaging. Consider embedding a book trailer if you have one, or a general introduction to your work in the form of a presentation if not.
Leave and Request Recommendations
One of LinkedIn’s most well-known and unique features is its recommendation functionality. This allows users to leave written testimonials on each other’s profiles, which can help to cement your reputation within the industry. Make a habit of leaving recommendations for other people when they’ve helped you with something, and request recommendations in return when it’s appropriate to do so.
Slideshare is technically a third-party, but the burgeoning social network is owned by LinkedIn and it offers several different ways to integrate it with your professional profile. As a social network for sharing Powerpoint presentations and slide decks, you can use it to upload and share any talks that you give at workshops and conferences.
Share Your URL
Remember to head into your settings and to select a customised URL for your profile so that it’s easier for people to find you. Use this URL on business cards, in email signatures and in any other forms of communication when you’re working with bloggers, agents and publishers.
Share Third-Party Content
Just because you’re an author, it doesn’t mean that you can only share content that you’ve written yourself. In fact, sharing links to relevant, third-party content helps to show that you’re active in the industry, allowing you to demonstrate both your personality and your professional opinion on the key issues that are affecting writers in your genre.
Consider Paid Options
LinkedIn is one of the only major social networking sites to offer a paid option, and while it may seem counterintuitive to pay for what’s ostensibly a free social network, it has its advantages. LinkedIn has a range of different paid options that are targeted to different types of user, so be sure to look at each of them to determine which option is best for you.
Many publishers have company pages on the network, and you can follow these for updates on competitions, submission windows and other opportunities that you might not otherwise be party to. Interact with the ones that you’re most interested in on a regular basis – this will help to get your name in front of them and, when it comes to submitting a manuscript, they’ll remember you and know that you’re not just cold emailing every publisher you could find.
Do you use LinkedIn? What aspects of the site do you find to be most useful? Let us know what you think with a comment.
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