Many writers may not use LinkedIn anywhere near as much as they use Facebook or Twitter, but I believe in making yourself easy to find. Having a completed and optimized LinkedIn profile could lead to connections with editors, event coordinators, and other writers.
Here are a few tips I've picked up over time on how to use LinkedIn:
- Use your own head shot for your avatar. I recommend this on all social networks, because people want to make "real" connections on these sites. It's hard to take a picture of a family pet or cartoon character seriously.
- Complete your profile. There are many steps to completing your profile, including completing your resume and getting a few recommendations from connections, which leads to the next tip...
- Give thoughtful recommendations to receive them. Have you read my golden rule post yet? Give if you wish to receive. The recommendations you write will make you feel and look better, but the recommendations you receive in return will truly rock your solar system. Of course, to make and receive recommendations, you'll need to...
- Search for connections you already have. These could be "real world" connections and/or connections from other social networks. The ones who are (or have been) most valuable to you are the best to make at first. Then...
- Make meaningful connections with others. Search for other writers, editors, agents, or whoever you think might benefit your writing career. But don't ever spam. Look for meaningful connections and include a note about why you're contacting them through LinkedIn. Remember: Social networking is about who you know, not how many.
- Accept invitations. While I think it's a good rule of thumb to be selective about who you invite to connect with you, I also don't see any harm in accepting invitations with abandon--unless they are obviously not a good fit. My reasoning here is that you never know why someone is contacting you. Of course, you can always kill the connection later if it's not working.
- Make your profile easy to find. If possible, work your name into your LinkedIn url. For instance, you can view my LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/robertleebrewer. Also, connect to your profile in blog posts (like this one) and on other social networks.
- Tailor your profile to the visitor. It's easy to make me-centric profiles on social networks, because they're asking questions about you. However, remember that these descriptions are more beneficial to you if you're filling them out for the prospective connections you can make on social networking sites. As such...
- Update your profile regularly with useful content. You can feed blog posts into your profile easily, and that will keep your profile active. You can also update your status by feeding in tweets or Facebook updates, but I refrain from doing that myself. My reasoning is that my updates are slightly different for each place. However, I can make meaningful tweets and LinkedIn status updates simultaneously by simply adding an #in hashtag to the tweet in question.
- Join (and participate) in groups. Heck, start your own group if you feel so inclined. Of course, participating in groups will require an extra level of engagement with the site, so this last tip is more an extra credit assignment for those who want to unlock the full potential of LinkedIn.
Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer
Or connect with me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/robertleebrewer
Or even connect with me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/robertleebrewer
For more on social networking, check these out:
For more specifically on LinkedIn, check out:
- Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn, by Neal Schaffer
- LinkedIn for Dummies, by Joel Elad
- Using LinkedIn, by Patrice-Anne Rutledge
- The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, by Wayne Breitbarth