Everyone gravitates to Facebook because it’s warm and fuzzy. Your friends are on it, family members use it, your book club or writing group might even have an active Facebook group on the platform. People share heartwarming stories, funny anecdotes, and pictures they found on Pinterest. Reading through your Facebook newsfeed can make you laugh, shed a tear, or feel lighter. Like the books of Nicholas Sparks, Facebook is a breezy read.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a brawny social media network for professionals. As some social media pundits note, LinkedIn is Facebook with a tie. Well, not exactly. It’s a platform that requires precision, thought, and detail. If you don’t get every detail right in creating your LinkedIn profile, you and your book won’t be discovered on this channel. Don’t overlook this network because in surveys professionals always rate it as their most valued social media platform.
Setting up a LinkedIn account can appear easy. It isn’t. There is care, thought, and planning in setting up your profile, listing your experience, and shining a light on your special skills and accomplishments. This shouldn’t dissuade you from using LinkedIn because it is an important social media network for writers and everyone in the publishing industry. Unlike Facebook, on LinkedIn you can post your finest, keyword-rich resume, find freelance writing gigs, and search for editors, publishers, agents, illustrators, graphic designers, marketing professionals, and workshops on craft. With more than 161 million users, LinkedIn is an integral component of your social media marketing plan.
LinkedIn is also a nice break from some of the chatter on Facebook. On LinkedIn, you won’t find pictures of brides or news about a dog’s weight-loss program. Cutesy kitten pictures, declarations of love, and photos of gluten-free lasagna don’t belong on this venue. Instead, you will connect with other writers interested in publishing and promoting their books. Learn from them, share information, and do what LinkedIn is designed to accomplish: help you to connect professionally with other users who share your passion for writing, want to improve their craft, and want to see their books get out into the world and sell. Break out of your introverted shell and participate in groups, discover books you want to purchase, meet bloggers you admire, and encounter some talented people who have wonderful advice to share.
Professionals consider LinkedIn the most valuable social media channel on the Internet and it consistently ranks in the top 10 most-used social media networks. Set up your account and post updates daily. Get involved because the rewards are waiting for you.
The first line that appears next to your photo is prime real estate. In this space, establish the reason you are on LinkedIn and use keywords in your description. Select your words judiciously because LinkedIn limits you to 120 characters. As an example, this is how a book editor describes herself: “Brand Business With a Book | eBook Writing | Self Publishing | Book Marketing | 25 Year Writing Coach.” It’s succinct and the capitalization draws attention to the primary foci of her business. She repeats this information further down, too, next to the word Current. This is an example of astute marketing on LinkedIn. Here is another example:
“Plot Consultant for Writers and Writing about Plot for Novelists, Memoirists & Screenwriters, Expert on Plot & Structure”
If you are uncertain how to present yourself, peruse LinkedIn and read other users’ profiles, especially those of other writers, editors, and creative writing instructors. Decide what your salient trait is and how it distinguishes you from other writers in the world. Then write your headline and draw attention to whatever it is that makes you unique in your field.
When you determine what your most important keywords are, repeat them. Use them in your headline and below, too, in your summary and specialties, and in the information listing your background. LinkedIn gives you ample space to boast about your professional past so use it to your advantage.
Optimize Your Summary
Use the summary to succinctly explain to people why they need your books, training, editing services, or assistance. A succinct synopsis that explains who you are, what you do, and the benefits LinkedIn users would gain by reading your books or attending your workshops receives great visibility here. Some people consider the summary as their cover letter to the world. It’s an accurate description of this section. If you are retired and are now devoting your life to writing, list in this section the titles and benefits of your books. If you wrote a cookbook, explain how this book will save them time, teach them to cook like a professional chef, or show them how to make sensational snickerdoodles.
If you write for the Young Adult demographic, explain the benefits to high schools of including your book in their English classes. Suppose you wrote a grammar book. Inform junior high English teachers and school administrators about the benefits of your book. If, in addition to writing, you teach memoir workshops, include the benefits of attending your sessions. “Specialties” is a feature included in the summary section. As much as you can, enrich this section with keywords. Show off. Boast. Use bullets to market your book as best you can.
Do you write and teach craft? Then include your educational background, graduate degrees, universities attended, and colleges where you taught or still teach. Did you graduate at the top of your class? Let people know about that as well.
Become a Joiner
Groups are perhaps the most important feature to LinkedIn. They enable you to become a thought leader and meet new contacts with whom you can connect on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, too. In groups, sharing experiences and learning from the experiences of other writers is what makes this feature so popular. Never sell. Instead, talk about your publishing experiences, recommend book cover designers, offer your best marketing tips, and share information you find on the Web. To find a group, click the arrow next to People and select Groups from the dropdown menu. There are plenty of groups for writers to join, including: Book Writing, Self-Publishing, and Marketing for Business People; Ebooks, EbookReaders, Digital Books and Digital Content Publishing; Fiction Writers Guild; Women’s Memoirs; and more.
About the author: Frances Caballo is a social media marketer, trainer and strategist with more than 23 years of communications experience. She has worked with writers, businesses and local, regional and national nonprofits at all levels of management. Frances specializes in social media training for beginners, intermediate and advanced users, manages social media marketing accounts for clients, and trains advanced users on how to succeed in social media marketing.
Presently, she is the Social Media Editor for the Women’s National Book Association-Francisco Chapter and Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club. Her new book, Social Media Just for Writers: Best online marketing tips for welling your books is available now!