Kath here. Today’s guest post is by WU community member Crystal King. Crystal is a freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet who is currently working on her first novel. She holds an M.A. in Critical & Creative Thinking from UMass Boston where she centered her thesis on developing a system to help fiction writers in progress. An 18 year marketing and communications veteran, Crystal currently drives social media for CA Technologies, a $4.3B high-tech firm. She has taught classes in writing, creativity and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art and UMass Boston. Enjoy!
As someone who teaches classes on social media for writers, I spend a fair amount of time explaining how to use tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Those channels tend to be the mainstay of an author’s publicity arsenal, and for good reason. However there are other social media sites that are often overlooked, sites that can help writers boost their visibility and reach new audiences. One of the best sites for authors to add into their social media mix is LinkedIn.
It’s likely that you’ve heard of LinkedIn. And no wonder, with over 100 million members worldwide it’s a sizeable social media community. Most know of it as a site for business professionals to network, or a great place for job-seekers. It’s also an excellent place for authors.
Why? First off, it’s a place for you to network with everyone you know—people you have worked with, become acquainted with or to whom you are directly related. It’s not as personal as Facebook so you aren’t “friending” people; rather, you are adding them into your network. A network that can be very powerful if you take the time to build it up before you are ready to publish your book. For example, I have nearly 600 people in my network (all of whom I know at least peripherally). That’s 600 people who may know someone that I want to know—an expert in a field I’m researching, or perhaps an editor, an agent, a videographer that could film a book trailer for me, a website designer, etc. It’s also 600 potential readers. You can bet that when I finally publish that I’ll be sending a note to my network on where they can buy my book. Those 600 people may share my request throughout their network, which essentially means that I have the ability to tap into an additional 7,309,744+ that are “linked in” through those 600 people I know firsthand. Now THAT is impressive, don’t you think?
How else can you use LinkedIn as a writer? Why, let me tell you:
- It’s another place for you for individuals to learn more about you. You can share as much or as little as you want, but at minimum include links to your Website and other social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, blog, etc.)
- This also helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or building links back to your personal website. The more links into your site, the more authority you have in search engines. Hubspot has a great little video on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for SEO.
- You can link your Twitter tweets into LinkedIn so that when you tweet it will automatically update your LinkedIn status.
- You can link your blog posts into LinkedIn so every time you post it will populate on your LinkedIn profile.
- You can easily keep in contact with people that are important to you in your journey as a writer. This may be other authors you meet, agents you speak with or editors that you might have met at conferences. Be clear when you send a request to explain how you know that person.
- Use LinkedIn’s introduction feature to work through your network to be introduced to other people. Be thoughtful though; agents and editors may not want to be queried this way.
- Conduct polls and surveys.
- Ask for recommendations of the work you’ve done, especially if it’s writing related or specific to a topic specific to your writing. Recommendations help people (e.g. agents, editors, people you might work with) get a sense of the type of person you are.
- Join and participate in relevant LinkedIn groups. There are groups for every type of activity you can imagine. Some groups that are useful for writers are: LinkEds & Writers, Fiction Writer’s Guild, Books and Writers, Authors & Publishers Association, Writing Mafia and Book Publishing Professionals to name a few.
- Use the Answers section to ask questions to find experts, share your expertise or to learn more about a topic.
Building your network and growing your LinkedIn presence does take time. But start small, do it in chunks and concentrate primarily on creating your profile then adding in all the people you know. After you meet someone new, make it a point to add them into your network.
One thing to keep in mind about social media in general is that individuals now have the option to consume information in whatever way they choose and via whichever network they want. If you ignore the 100 million members on LinkedIn you may be losing out on the ability to reach thousands of potential book buyers.
Follow Crystal on Twitter at www.twitter.com/crystallyn.