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May 3, 2012

Tips on Thursday: LinkedIn

Nederlands: Linked In icon
Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As bloggers, we are always looking for ways to increase our influence and make new contacts. While I've mentioned Facebook and Twitter as great tools for connecting with professionals and readers alike, LinkedIn can be a wonderful networking tool as well.

If you are not familiar LinkedIn, it is a professional networking site. Profiles are based largely on one's resume. Even, if you have a LinkedIn profile, you may not have thought about using it to promote your blog. Why would a hobby appear on a resume? While many of us may never pursue our blogging as a full-time career (or even one that pays in more than books), I think we treat it as more than a passing fancy. If you are reading my tips, you are probably pretty serious about this pursuit. So why not include it on your LinkedIn profile?

You may not want to list your blog on your official resume (unless you are apply for a job that requires strong writing or social media skills), including in on LinkedIn can help build your credibility amongst authors and publishers and well as promote your blog to possibly a different set of readers - those not actively seeking out book blogs.

Please note - as your profile can be viewed by others, including current and potential employers please consider any negative impact a personal blog may have on your career before including it on your LinkedIn profile.

I've seen different ways of listing your blog. Some people list themselves as Owner (I do) of their blog or as Reviewer. For those who are part of multi-author blogs, you may list yourself as contributing writer or if you have more responsibilities, you may consider yourself as an editor or administrator. You can write a description of your blog, including "services" you provide - guest posts, interviews, giveaways, etc. It can be a great (and FREE) way to advertise your blog to authors and publicists looking for blogs.

Features of LinkedIn:

In addition to providing a description of your blog on your profile, there are a couple of other features I find useful in promoting my blog and building my reputation in the publishing industry.

Status updates: You can provide status updates, much like you do on Facebook or Twitter (you can choose whether your updates are posted to Twitter). Remember LinkedIn is more of a professional network than social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Make your updates relevant to your connections. If your connections are from a variety of fields (they are not in publishing, your career field, etc.) they are probably following you because they are readers. A majority of my connections are other bloggers and publishing industry professionals. I do not update my LinkedIn status every time I post to my blog. I will update when I post a Tips on Thursday or a really great review/guest post.

Groups: The real benefit of LinkedIn for your blog are the groups. There are several groups dedicated to books, publishing, reviews, writing, marketing, and authors. It is in the groups where you can really make a name for yourself. Most of my referral traffic from LinkedIn is a result of participating in a group. I recommend checking in weekly to see what is being discussed and add comments when you have quality content to contribute. Also asking good questions and spurring discussion will increase your profile within the group. If you are looking for content to blog about besides book reviews, I find the topics discussed in the groups helpful in formulating new blog posts.

While there are many more groups for you to join, here are the ones I'm a member of to get you started:
Book Marketing
Book Publicity and Marketing
Book Publishing Professionals
Book Reviewers
BookExpo of America
Books and Writers
Independent Book Publishers Association
New Authors Need Marketing Ideas

Do you use LinkedIn to promote your blog? What have you found that works best? What groups do you participate in?

Disclaimer - This is not a career advice blog. Anyone wishing to use LinkedIn to promote their blog, should first check with your human resources department, other company policy setting group, or professional organization in your field to determine the appropriateness of including your personal blog on a professional networking profile. The above suggestions are intended to help promote your blog and Girl Who Reads cannot be held liable for any negative outcomes that may result in implementing said suggestions.

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