Social media platforms have become astronomically popular over the past two decades. It has become a part of our daily lives, both personally and professionally.
As authors, we would like to maintain a special connection with our audience. But where should we start?
You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed by all the social media platforms out there—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and more.
It has become increasingly difficult to decide what platform to use. Sometimes we end up signing up and not knowing what to do with our account.
Then you login and you think, “I’m here… what now?”
You just opened another social media account destined for stagnation.
Keeping up with all the social media channels takes an enormous amount of time, energy, resources and effort, and most of us can’t simply afford it.
WHY I LOVE LINKEDIN
A few years ago, I discovered the power of LinkedIn and got serious with it. I realized its potential and found that its real value lies in the business people who use LinkedIn and the platform’s culture.
LinkedIn is dedicated to the business community. It’s a way of growing connections and building relationships in the business world so you can succeed by growing your network. That means it’s not for posting photos of what you ate for lunch, fighting about politics, or mindlessly swiping through a news feed looking for something interesting.
LinkedIn has 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. They have over 133 million members in the United States alone, and professionals are joining at a rate of two new members per second. Their fastest-growing demographic is students and recent college graduates (40 million).
A total of 106 million unique visitors go to LinkedIn every month and about 40% of users check it daily. That level of engagement is massive!
But what I find even more interesting are these three facts.
- 13% of LinkedIn users do not have Facebook account
- 83% of LinkedIn users don’t use Pinterest
- 59% of LinkedIn users don’t use Twitter
This essentially means that by using LinkedIn, you are able to reach a significant amount of people that you cannot reach with other social media platforms.
LinkedIn should become your number one most important career and marketing tool.
WHY START OR KEEP YOUR LINKEDIN ACCOUNT
Remember habit #2 from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – “begin with the end in mind.”
Just like with every endeavor that we engage in, we need to understand WHY we are doing it and what we hope to accomplish. What are you looking to achieve by opening a LinkedIn account?
You need to have a purpose for opening a LinkedIn account so you can develop a strategy on how to best use it.
- Do you want to promote your book?
- Do you want to build a network of collaborators?
- Do you want more audience for your book?
- Do you want to share insights and knowledge with like-minded people and maybe get some inspiration for your next book?
- Do you want to improve your online visibility and attract new opportunities effortlessly?
Let’s keep it simple and use your LinkedIn account to accomplish all of this and more.
In four easy steps, you can have it all: promote your book, build a network, increase your audience, share insights and inspiration, and increase your online visibility.
1. COMPLETE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
The very first thing you need to do when you sign up for LinkedIn is to complete your profile. If you do not complete your profile and you view it, it will look like a white page with a name plate.
What kind of impression do you think this will give the viewers? Dull and unremarkable.
Take advantage of the elements of your profile. Your goal should be to not leave any part of it blank. If you want to use it to promote your book, your profile is the page where you can pitch yourself and your book.
MAKE A STRIKING FIRST IMPRESSION BY WRITING AN AMAZING HEADLINE
Your professional headline provides you with 120 characters at your disposal. You can use it to tell people your official title, but that’s unexciting. Instead, add something a bit more creative.
WRITE A GREAT LINKEDIN SUMMARY
There’s an entire summary section that you can use to showcase all the work you’ve done and all the books you’ve written. Write how many bestselling books you’ve sold and how many awards you’ve received. But remember, everybody’s busy, so keep it short, simple and enticing. You can also add links to your Summary.
LinkedIn also features its own status update. Just released a new book? Broadcast and let people know what’s new about you. And lastly, don’t forget the publication section on the profile to showcase your books as well.
2. BUILD YOUR NETWORK UP TO 3RD DEGREE
LinkedIn believes that you should only invite people that you know. It’s up to you to decide what “know” means.
If these are people you’ve met in person or online, or people you think will be willing to open their connections to you, that’s all up to you. Just remember that you do this at your own risk. If you add random people, you might end up in a sea of meaningless connections. So, take caution and think deeply.
Before sending those invites, create your own criteria for what will be a significant connection for you. To start building your 1st-degree connections, all you have to do is invite the people that you “know.”
Don’t just send them a personalized LinkedIn message. Give a little bit of background about you and tell them how you know them. This will not only ensure that they’ll recognize you, but it will also tell them that you are not a random stranger trying to get into their network.
Through your 1st-degree connections, you’ll be able to see mutual friends or colleagues in their networks, known as 2nd-degree connections. Through your 2nd-degree connections, you can connect to your 3rd-degree connections.
As an author, you can use these connections to find other authors that you can partner up with to create even more demand for your books and what you do. You may even use this to find a mutual connection to an author you haven’t formally met that you really want to work with.
Once you start building your network, you will see a lot more opportunities for collaboration and marketing.
3. JOIN LINKEDIN GROUPS
You don’t have to limit yourself to your LinkedIn 1st, 2nd and 3rd-degree connections; you can expand your network further by joining groups. Fellow members of your LinkedIn Groups are considered part of your network and you can contact them.
There are over 2 million groups already launched on LinkedIn. All you need to do is find a few that align with your interests. My recommendation is that you join at least 10-25 groups to open more doors for you.
Once you’re in a group, invite discussion by phrasing your update as a question. This will compel other members to give their insights and contribute to your topic. You can also share a topic that you want to write about and ask the members for input.
Find a group that’s relevant to your book and share a link or an article to it. Make sure you provide context on why it’s relevant to the group. Don’t just be self-promotional. You want to add as much value as you can to your network.
4. WRITE AN ARTICLE ON LINKEDIN PULSE
LinkedIn profiles rank very well in Google, so by simply creating an account, you have already improved your online presence.
If you have a LinkedIn account and someone searched for your name, they’ll probably see your LinkedIn profile in the first 10 results. If you search “Ron Sukenick” in Google, you’ll find my LinkedIn profile ranks #3 in the results. This will give your readers easy access to your LinkedIn page, where they can get to know you better.
A more recent feature is LinkedIn Pulse, where you can publish your own articles. It is compiled into an Author page so that it can be easily accessed and shared. Google often indexes popular LinkedIn posts higher than those from your own website!
So, if you have published an article on your site, you may want to consider posting it on Pulse as well. This will make your article appear twice on search results pages and help increase your visibility.
Start Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Network
You can accomplish so much by simply using these simple LinkedIn features and tools. At the end of the day, it’s not what you know, but what you do with what you know that matters.
Start by spending 30 minutes a day on your LinkedIn account… update your status, interact with your groups, check your messages, and keep up on conversations. Reach out and make 3-5 new connections and you will start building a meaningful network.