Build A Writing Network With LinkedIn

Everyone is talking about Social Media and I’ve got several friends scratching their heads going, “What does that even MEAN? And why do I need so many DIFFERENT KINDS??”

(Note: Prepare for the CAP-bold-fest, I just downed half a pot of coffee to stay awake for this blog…)

There’s a simple answer to “why so many?” You want to go to where your people are. It’s as simple as that.

Maybe you want to network with dairy farmers or high school kids. It’s a pretty good bet they’re going to be hanging out over on Facebook rather than Twitter. These are two demographics that have proven to be firmly grounded on Facebook. Remember, Facebook is focused on hooking up with the people you already know.

Twitter and LinkedIn are both geared toward hooking up with the people you want to know. (Like editors and agents…just sayin.’) If you want to BUILD your network, you are simply going to do it faster on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Twitter, according to Social Media expert Kristen Lamb, is like one big cocktail party. You can “walk through” and hear snippets of all kinds of conversation. And, as long as you aren’t creepy about it, you are invited to join in. How cool is that for all us busybodies, er…I mean writers. (slinking to the next paragraph)

LinkedIn is more like attending a big conference – you’ve got people you’re scheduled to meet with, and they know people who know people. (Those people are even MORE impressed if you dress nicely and have a creative name badge. In LinkedIn terms that means fill out your profile as fully as you can.)

There are people you might meet at any event or conference that will be important in your career. It’s a really good idea in today’s world to ask these people which platform they’re on so YOU CAN FIND THEM! Better yet, get their email address. You can use it to find them on LinkedIn, Facebook OR Twitter.🙂

If you meet someone who says they’re on Facebook and they are your dream editor, make tracks to hook up with them over there. Ditto to Twitter and LinkedIn. It is always a good idea to follow up quickly so there’s hope that they still remember that you sat in the row in front of them during the Dean Koontz event at the Romantic Times Convention.

Note: Bob Mayer and the team at Who Dares Wins Publishing are offering some really good workshops in May and June about how to really get the most out of a conference, and how a writer can market. They sound awesome, but I’ve already committed to learning how to write about sex in May (and you can be sure you will hear more about this in future posts too!).

Why LinkedIn?

I could give you the corporate version:
LinkedIn is a very easy passive way to build your social network with individuals that you might already know, as well as those you meet in the course of your networking events.

Bleck, bleck, bleck. Even though it’s true, it’s bland and doesn’t cover the real magic:

Through LinkedIn’s Status Updates, Reading Lists, Groups and the amazing Answer feature, you will have the opportunity to be a solution provider. Now THAT’S sexy. Every opportunity you get to be a solution provider is golden.

Every time a writer is offered a free, easy chance to establish themselves as an expert in any given field, in my humble opinion, they need to RUN to take advantage of this. LinkedIn gives you the chance to both ask questions and provide answers, and look stellar in the process. You can have your entire writing resume on display, along with recommendations of your work, even as you network and build your platform.

LinkedIn can be a Traffic Firehose

Check out this Chart of the Day from a Business Insider article that was published yesterday. That’s some impressive stuff. LinkedIn is adding features all the time that are targeted at driving traffic. Like every other social media company, they want to be your platform of choice. (p.s. You can follow @chartoftheday on Twitter too, if you’d like.)

(Are you salivating yet? This is BIG.)

Getting started

  1. Go to http://www.linkedin.com
  2. Choose your LinkedIn account type

Note: Anyone can sign up for a free Basic LinkedIn account. Free accounts allow you to invite available connections, manage your own profile, join Groups and sign up for LinkedIn events. Free accounts do not allow you to send InMails (which let you send mail to anyone whether you are connected or not), see all LinkedIn contacts or organize your contacts beyond a basic name listing.

For the LinkedIn users that want to use the application more fully or for targeted tasks like job recruiting, there are several other business options available for a monthly charge.

3.  Add connections

You can allow LinkedIn to check your existing address books for your current email addresses or enter your contacts manually. It is easiest to allow LinkedIn to comb through your current address books for your various email applications. You will get a list of the people you know who are already using LinkedIn and can invite them to connect with you.

Note: If you don’t want to do this when you begin, you can return here later. This is the Import Contacts option that is located inside the People You May Know that’s that’s always available in the upper right corner of your LinkedIn home page.

What do you do once you’re connected?

  • Listen
    Listening in LinkedIn means watching the Status Updates that show on your home page each day and commenting on them. Particularly if you are in the market for an editor, agent, or new job, these updates are a treasure trove of conversation openers.
  • Read
    In LinkedIn, there is an application to discuss and recommend what you are reading. When you use this application, it will update your home page. People will comment, and you can do the same on the books they recommend. Part of why we love books is BECAUSE they are so easy to bond over.
  • Browse
    Be sure to look around in LinkedIn. You’ll come across the greatest stuff just poking around. Explore the LinkedIn toolbar at the top of the page to see your Connections, Update your profile, or look for Jobs. Incidentally, all the recruiters I know say they find the best talent through LinkedIn. I found my current job through LinkedIn, as a matter of fact.
  • Find Groups that have other people with the same interests as you.
    Some people take an opposite track and join Groups with members that have knowledge that you WANT. On the right hand side of the LinkedIn toolbar, there is a search that defaults to “People.” Hit the drop-down and choose Groups. Type in your interest, whether it is writing, parenting or gardening. Trust me, you will find cool groups.

Other helpful tips:

  • All the usual rules of social media apply – excessive marketing, stalking and lying are not appropriate. (Yes, I know it’s your resume – you STILL have to be honest.)
  • You do not have to be introduced to anyone you are in a Group with.
    That means that you can request connection with ANYONE in any group you belong to. Read above…I’m not encouraging anyone to get their weird stalky vibe on, but this is the perfect chance to go where your target audience is and rub elbows with them. I’ve met amazing people this way.
  • Browse the People You May Know section on the right side of your screen every few weeks. New people show up in there based on things like who has joined LinkedIn or which searches you’ve run. I nearly always find someone I’d been wishing to have as a connection.

There are a gajillion things I’d like to tell you about the program but Goal One is to get you signed up if you’re interested and give you time to get comfortable. We’ll have more LinkedIn discussion over the next few weeks (I CAN’T WAIT!!) – all about Events, Answers and the Search capabilities. You can also feel free to ask questions about the program in the comments below.

In the meantime, how many of you are on LinkedIn already? Do you like or dislike it? What do you love-love-love or hate-hate-hate about the platform?

Last but not least, remember that I love comments! To show that love, I launched the Let’s Meet Up (for Training) contest this month. Between now and May 17th, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. Everyone who does not win a spot in the May webinar will be entered in the June webinar. Same thing for July. There are forty-five spots for the taking and I want to see one of them go to everyone who wants one!

Take care,
Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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15 Responses to Build A Writing Network With LinkedIn

  1. amyshojai says:

    I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO gonna follow the LinkedIn topics (notice the caps? caffeine-deprived but soon fixing that…). I’m signed up, and in a couple groups but not using the platform particularly well. Yet. Thanks!

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    • Jenny, you are my social media guru! Thank you so much for drinking that coffee and delivering another jolt of enlightenment. We appreciate you!

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Amy – I love LinkedIn, and you could get a ton of business and referrals through mining the LinkedIn Answers. I know it! Let me know how it goes.

      Marcia – You are so sweet. Thanks…it is exciting to be someone’s Social Media Guru. Kristen Lamb is mine (as I’m sure you’ve noticed) – she’d be delighted to know I’m paying that forward. You and I met on LinkedIn, so it MUST rock, huh?

      Thanks for commenting, Ladies!

      Like

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  3. Shellie Sakai says:

    This sounds great! But, in need of more caffiene before I even attempt this! LOL!

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  4. I’ve had a LinkedIn account for two years but never saw much use for it beyond my freelance writing work. Obviously, I haven’t explored it very well. Thanks for the wonderful tips.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Bridgette,

      I’ve met some wonderful writing friends on LinkedIn…I think you’ll really like it when yoou get to exploring. Tuesdays are Techie days here at More Cowbell and I definitely have more LinkedIn posts planned. I hope to see you back soon!

      Note: Your comment entered you into the Let’s Meet Up (for Training)! Contest. Are you voting for LinkedIn for the webinar, or a different technology?

      Like

  5. Jodi says:

    I have been curious about social media as a writer, but have been too shy to try, My husband started my blog for me in January and I am adjusting to it. So, I figure, that means it is time for a new “new thing”.
    I am very new to writing though and have zero connections to start with. Is it still something worth pursuing or should I wait until I am … I don’t know … something else?
    Honestly though, how do you find time for all that when you are trying to scrape together time for writing as well? What sort of time frame do people allot for these kinds of things?
    I look forward to your other posts on social media and linkedin.
    Jodi

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jodi,

      I think a lot of us get paralyzed by trying to do EVERY thing, rather than just starting with one thing. It is the very hardest part for me about being a writer, besided the actual organization work.

      My advice is to always, always do just one thing even if that’s all you do that week.

      – Write one blog, one scene or one story.
      – Set up Twitter and Tweet Deck and follow one writer search (like #writing).
      – Get on LinkedIn and look around. Set your profile up the next week.

      If you take the pressure off, your one thing will be very rewarding. If you look through the site, you’ll see blogs on getting set up on Twitter and on the Writing Journey that might be helpful.

      As far as things go for me, I made a conscious decision this year to put my writing on the front burner. I knew if I didn’t MAKE the time and prioritize it that all the other important jobs – wife, mother, trainer – would quickly overshadow it. I committed to five hours a week. To accomplish this, I completely gave up television and I sleep about five hours less. In return, I’ve discovered a new world of friends on Twitter, taken two writing classes and set up this blog. It fills a space in me that was gaping so the sacrifice was worth it for me.

      You’re going to find out what you can give up and what you can’t in your own life. It’s a very personal journey you are embarking on and I hope you don’t wait for it. The easiest way is to combine as many things as you can. I also recommend you follow Kristen Lamb’s blog and purchase her book on Social Media for Writers, “We Are Not Alone.” It helps.

      Good luck! Please check back in and let us know how you’re doing.

      Like

  6. Thanks Jenny, for opening my eyes to another possibility, and for reminding me to keep my steps manageable. I’m sure I’ll be back!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks for stopping in, Joanna! We hope to see you back.🙂

      In the meantime, I threw your name in the hat for the June webinar because you commented.

      Like

  7. Adam Hughes says:

    I just discovered this post through a link on Kristen Lamb’s blog, and you may have inspired me to beef up my LinkedIn presence a bit. By the way, your links to “Chart of the Day” and “business options” both resolve to the LinkedIn monthly services chart. I think this is probably the chart that you reference:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-referrals-by-linkedin-2011-5

    Thanks for the information!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Bless you for the link, Adam. I probably accidentally used the link for that day instead of hard linking – I appreciate the catch!

      I hope you do beef up your LinkedIn presence – the more writers there are over there, the more it’s going to rock.🙂

      Like

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