Social Media Madness: How To Make #LinkedIn Your Happy Place

Welcome to Techie Tuesday here at More Cowbell! This is the day each week when I unleash my inner geek and we talk about some groovy piece of technology or a technical point of writing.

Today we’re gonna talk about Social Media, namely LinkedIn. (You can thank Darlene Steelman for requesting this topic. 🙂 )

See, the problem for most people (especially writers) is that social media is one of those viral sorts of beasts that changes and grows ALL THE TIME.

I’ve got friends who are worried their heads might explode.

Facebook, Twitter, StumbledUpon, Klout, Triberr, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn…tired yet?? (Don’t think I didn’t just see you nod…)

Believe it or not, I’ve got a simple answer to “why so many?”
You want to go to where your people are.

Maybe you want to network with dairy farmers or high school kids (that’s you, YA writers!). It’s a pretty good bet they’re going to prefer Facebook over 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 people you want to know. Ditto with Pinterest and Google+. If you want to BUILD your network, you are usually going to do it faster on a “want-to-know” platform.

According to Social Media maven Kristen Lamb, Twitter 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. I’ve got introverted friends that find Twitter wearing because  of all the constant chatter.

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 in turn walk you over to the bar to meet MORE people.

Note: Those conference people get 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.

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. 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 for Twitter and LinkedIn. That email address is usually the quickest way to search.

You never know when you’ll cross paths with someone who will be important to your career. Keep an index card or two in your purse, or do what I do and enter them in your phone.

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 or met them in the ladies room at ThrillerFest.

Why LinkedIn?

I could give you the corporate version:

LinkedIn is a very easy way to passively build your social network with individuals that you might already know, as well as those you meet in the course of your networking events.

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 find 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. Plus, all the agents and editors are there.

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? Blog traffic usually equals name recognition and THAT is big.

Getting started on LinkedIn

  1. Go to
  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. Look in the upper right corner of your LinkedIn home page. (Picture to the right.)

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 creates a Status Update, which 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 with people who have 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 LinkedIn 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 love 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.  Please DO let me know if you’re interested in more LinkedIn posts.

You can also feel free to ask questions in the comments below. If it were me, I’d leave a link to your LinkedIn profile if you want us to come find you.


Many of you have asked in the comments what you should put in your profiles. I thought the best way to answer this question was to give you some sample profiles from my contacts!

Best Published Author Profile
Robin Lee Hatcher

Best E-Pub Author Profile
Rebecca Forster

Best Unpublished Writer Profile
Leo Sopicki

 WHY are the above some of my favorite examples?
They have a picture, blog, and other social media info.
They clearly list what that person is up to.
They’re friendly and engaging, yet professional.


In the meantime, how many of you are already on LinkedIn? Do you like or dislike it (and if so, why)? You know enquiring minds always  want to know here at More Cowbell!


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 ( Write on!
This entry was posted in LinkedIn, Techie Tuesday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Social Media Madness: How To Make #LinkedIn Your Happy Place

  1. Reetta Raitanen says:

    Great point on Twitter, G+ and Pinterest etc. being a want-to-know platform and more open to new acquiaintaices. And great advice about LinkedIn. Be careful about how many groups you sign up for, though. If your email inbox is already bursting with newsletters like mine, the groups can become a nuissance unless they really provide value.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yes, and no to that last bit, Reetta. You can turn off your group emails or move them to a Weekly Digest. You do this under your Account Settings.

      Click your name in the upper right and go to Settings. Click on Groups on the left and then there’s a link to open a Change email frequency dialog. It’s easy (and awesome)!


  2. Jenny you are a life saver (and the bestest flavor of them too!) You have given me some very helpful advice. I share Triberr posts to LinkedIn.
    I visit about once a day to get acclimated to everything. There is so much social media these days.. it’s a wonder any of us have time for anything else!

    This is me:
    I am going to click the notify me button on this post so I can come back and see if anyone else leaves there info here!! Thank you so much, Jenny!


  3. Thanks for this truly helpful post. I’ve only looked at LinkedIn profiles and never thought much about how it could help me as a writer. Definitely worth pursuing further.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Kate, I added an addendum to the bottom of the post with some samples of good profiles. They are public profile links so you can just click to check them out if you want some ideas.


  4. I joined LinkedIn nearly a year ago, Jenny. To reconnect with people in my former corporate world life.

    I had no CLUE it offered so much more. As soon as I master Triberr…

    CORRECTION: As soon as I complete my remedial training in Triberr…


  5. Fantastic post Jenny. I am on LinkedIn but with my corporate profile (day job Natalie) only thus far. I sometimes struggle with keeping my professional world separate from my “social” world. So far, I’ve treated LinkedIn as mainly an avenue for my day job. Twitter and Facebook for my “writer” me. At some point, I’ll investigate if I can have two profiles or I’ll have to weigh the pros/cons against which profile is more important to me to have or if I could/want to blend the two worlds there. Alas, so many fun platforms to learn and play with, so little time. LOL!!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nat, I go back and forth over the same thing. The standard though (unless you write under a pseudonym) is to blend your profiles so that people can begin engaging you that way. However, if what you write in your own life is different than what you might want your boss to read, make two profiles. Some people have solved this by using the same name and different emails.

      I leave that decision to you. 🙂


  6. Carrie says:

    Question….every time I try to connect with someone I’d LIKE to know, I get a message from LinkedIn that says if you don’t know this person don’t go any further! kinda scary….can I go ahead and try to link anyway?


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Carrie, that has nothing to do with LinkedIn. That has to do with the preference settings of the person you are connecting with. What I will often do is look to see if I know anyone they know and ask for an introduction. Or I look at their groups and see if there’s one i want to join (since you don’t need to be introduced if they’re in the same group as you).


  7. alberta says:

    I have had a linkedIn account for just over a year now but still can’t quite work out what it can offer – I do comment on some of the discussions – my mail box fills to overflowing with bumph – I decided this year to try and get to grips with it and google+ which I’m still not sure of – will try again thanks for your technie bits they are so much clearer than most


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Alberta! You might want to go to your settings and change all your email and group preferences to receive no mail or weekly digests. It will help.


    • Alberta, I cannot add you. I do not know your email addy.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That IS your profile. One thought: have you considered changing the picture to YOU, rather than a book cover? It helps people connect with you more.


      • alberta says:

        thanks – I thought it was- did I type it wrong that Darlene couldn’t connect? – I don’t do personal photos not sure I even have any – well not for about 20 years!:) I know one group in linkedin wouldnt let me join because I don’t have one – but it’s me. I know it’s meant to be more friendly however when I open my stuff up to anyone on the web I’m not altogether sure I wish to open up my entire life to them. call it an old UK ladys wish for a little privacy:)


  8. amyshojai says:

    I’m on LinkedIn but do almost nothing with it. Have to pick and choose where to spend time and for me Twitter works better. Too much email already, yikes! But I have friends who do extremely well with LinkedIn. Great post!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I understand completely, Amy! I’m very passive in my LinkedIn account since I joined Twitter. I just like Twitter better.

      Still, LinkedIn is a phenomenal thing, even if you go in once a month and engage people who engage you. Plus, I really like that they send you emails about who has changed their status updates for the week. I get to see, at a glance, what people have been up to.


  9. Jenny, yes please on more Linked In! I’ve been a member for awhile and don’t have a clue how to maneuver…though today you’ve given me a great beginning.

    I’m here
    (just did a custom url too, lol…I’m learning!)




  10. I’m on LinkedIn, but I honestly haven’t done much there because I heard it’s a better focus for non-fiction writers than for fiction writers. Is that true?


  11. This was EXACTLY the kick in the pants I needed, Jenny. I have a basic LinkedIn log in (from a year ago?) that I’ve done nothing with. I’ve ignored requests to my inbox, mainly because I not only forgot my password but which email I subscribed with.

    Here’s my question (the first of many): I’m joining this community as a writer. BUT. Should I still include my middle school teaching experience under professions/experience?


  12. Marcia says:

    I’m on LinkedIn, too. I belong to just a couple of groups–that’s all I can keep up with right now. Poke around and find the interesting stuff they have. It’s not a time-suck type of social media either, though I guess it could be if it were your favorite SM place to go. Good post, Jenny


  13. I have a LinkedIn account, I don’t know what the hey it’s for, but with your guidance I will attack it tomorrow. I think I have pic on my profile, but really I doubt it. Part of me wants to run screaming in the other room yelling, “Not another social media site!” But I know how important this is and I need to be where the readers might be. Still… it’s another social media site to suck my time away from the book. Thanks for the kick in the pants.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Tameri, you don’t NEED to do anything at all with your LinkedIn account if you don’t want to. That being said, there is a huge writing community over there that you might enjoy. I had to do it for my day job back in the day – it’s actually how I got my current job.

      Your book should always come before social media, in my humble opinion. Triberr was different because it helps speed up the social media you have.


  14. Oh boy Jenny. I’m bookmarking this post, but as you know, my eyes are going sideways. 🙂

    And are you feeling better? I certainly hope so.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Karen. I’d imagine your eyes are wheeling in your head, but don’t worry about it. You can always click LinkedIn in my sidebar to get back to all my LinkedIn stuff.

      I’m through gluten withdrawals, but I am fighting a wicked cold and sore throat. Ahhhh, the joy of detoxing!


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