Happy Friday! Today Jenny Hansen is going to talk to you a little bit about LinkedIn…hey, she gave me cookies. Who can say no to COOKIES?
You might be wondering why to bother with a LinkedIn profile, even if you aren’t a NF author (for NF authors, LinkedIn is a must). For one reason, a lot of agents and publishers are there, so it’s a good place to connect professionally.
Also, many of us will do additional work to supplement our writing income, especially in the early years. LinkedIn can be vital for getting freelance work that pays the bills or even gives us a little extra spending money.
Finally, if we self-publish (which many of us will), we will need to hire a team of professionals—content editor, line editor, book cover designer, book interior designer, e-book formatter, web designers, etc. LinkedIn is a wonderful place to find endorsed professionals to be part of your publishing team. Thus LinkedIn really is more than just one more social media site. It can be a valuable tool in your writing success.
So I am shutting up now, namely to go have cookies for breakfast. Take it way, Jen!
Hey y’all! Yes, I bribed Kristen into letting me shake my Cowbell here at her place so we could all talk about LinkedIn.
[I just heard some of you writers groan: Another social media platform?!]
I know, I know. I’ve got critique partners who are worried their heads might explode. I’m already on Facebook, they whine. I just want to stay home and write in my pajamas. Why do I have to talk to people?
LinkedIn will become a big part of your team-building once you understand how it works and how to navigate it like a rockstar.
The most important thing to remember?
You get two inches, or six seconds, to make your first impression.
(Get your mind out of the gutter! You’ve gotta hang out at More Cowbell for thoughts like that.)
Seriously, it’s a common saying in the business world. Get your most important point into the subject line and the first paragraph of an email because that’s all most people will read. Even as an author, we’re aware that we have anywhere from two paragraphs to two pages to engage an editor, agent or reader. Hook people quick, or they’re moving on.
The average resume or LinkedIn profile gets no more than 6 seconds to engage someone. To be fair, the average person is looking for different things than the recruiters I mention in the link above, but 6 seconds is still the average browse time.
What makes people scroll past your “top two inches” on LinkedIn?
1. Your picture.
It should be a clear, close, front-facing shot where you look friendly and attentive. Unless you work with kids or animals, there shouldn’t be anyone else in the picture with you. No spouses, no kids, NO hats.
2. Professional Summary What are you doing now? What have you done in the past? By adding current and past positions to your LinkedIn profile, you get a quick summary of this in your top profile block. (I’ll show this below.)
4. Multiple ways to get hold of you
If you don’t want to be called, you don’t need to put out your phone number. But you should have an email, blog, website or social media account like Twitter listed in your Contact Info. These things will also help update your status, if you set them up correctly, which is a really easy, passive way to stay at the top of your connections’ minds.
Let’s look at a few profiles so you see what I mean…
I’m a software trainer by day and one of the things I do is work with accountants who want to build their networks. Last year, I took a class through Accounting Today with marketing master, Eric Majchrzak (and was delighted to discover he was in sync with our WANA Mama, Kristen).
Here’s Eric’s profile:
If you were to click his Contact info button, you’d see his email, phone number, Twitter info and website. He fits all of the four criteria above (and he should, because he’s a marketing dude).
What about authors?
I picked a traditionally published author and a small press/indie author so you could see some good examples. (I’ve linked their names if you’d like to see their entire profile.)
I’d maybe like a closer picture of Robin, but otherwise she gets an A+. Inside her contact info, she has two emails, her website and her blog.
Amy Shojai – Blogger and Small Press/Indie Pub Author
Amy’s entire non-fiction platform focuses on animals so having her cat and dog with her (that’s Magical Dawg and Seren-Kitty) is appropriate. She also has her Twitter info, blog, website and radio show links in her contact info.
The one update I would make to Amy’s profile is the addition of her new thriller, LOST AND FOUND. It’s a smokin’ book and she should have it listed on her LinkedIn profile.
Just to recap on WHY the above are great 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.
Starting in April, I’ll be giving LinkedIn classes for WANA International, but if you need some LinkedIn info now, I’m teaching the following class at WANA Con…
Course: LinkedIn – Your Professional Identity (The Cliffs Notes)
Time: Friday, February 22nd, 9 pm EST (that’s 6 pm for us on the West Coast)
We’re going to review topics like ”5 Things You Need To Know To Rock LinkedIn.” We’re also going to be looking more closely at LinkedIn profiles, what works well, and what could be improved. If LinkedIn has been making you want to hide under the covers, or if you’d simply like to know more, I hope you’ll join me next Friday night.
Special More Cowbell Offer:
List the URL to your LinkedIn profile, if you have one, down in the comments section. One winner will receive:
a summary of 4-5 profile changes that will yield better LinkedIn results
a 15 minute online Q&A session, one-on-one with yours truly
Do you use LinkedIn now? What questions do you have for Jenny? She’s at your service in the comments section!
About Jenny Hansen
By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.