Morgan Says: Recently, Therese and I were chatting about social media platforms. (Yes, believe it or not, we often chat about such things.) As a rule, we purposely avoid advocating one software package or social media platform over another. Especially since the technology changes so quickly and platform owners can kill a favorite feature at anytime. (See our post on Google Reader and read the comments.) During our conversation, we realized that there are some benefits to using specific platforms for specific purposes and goals. So, today, I'd like to spend some time discussing Linked In.
Never heard of Linked In?Linked In is a professional networking site where people in different industries gather to share information. The key word in that last sentence is professional. On our newly minted Social Media Content Spectrum, Linked In content should be closer to the "Pious Grandmother" end of the spectrum. In other words, if you wouldn't want your average grandmother to read it, don't post it on Linked In. (Though your pious grandmother may actually enjoy fluffy pink kittens, don't post kittens either - leave them for Twitter and Facebook.)
Corporate professionals are the super users of this site and I am one of them. I use Linked In all the time in my day job to research companies and utilize my network of contacts to find new customers and learn about new markets / industries. It also helps me to reconnect with former co-workers; find long lost undergraduate and graduate school classmates for networking; and learn about organizational changes at some of my key client accounts.
Because I use Linked In for my day job, rarely do I accept links from my author friends. Why? Well, I don't necessarily want my contact who is the vice president at a major electrical equipment company seeing a post on "Five Tips for Writing Erotic Love Scenes" in my Linked In feed. Now, if writing is your 'day job', post away, but don't get upset when your friends who have different day jobs don't link to you.
In addition, many agents, editors, and service providers <think - website designers, graphic artists, costume makers, etc.> utilize Linked In to find like minded professionals. (There's that word, again, 'professional.') There are groups for writers, self-published authors, etc. that allow members to freely exchange industry information.
In our current economy, Linked In has also become one of the few 'go to' places for recruiters. I've lost count of how many recruiters have contacted me about jobs across the country and around the globe because of my resume content posted on Linked In. I've also had members see my title and ask if I have any job openings.
In short, Linked In should be used for the business side of your writing career to make professional connections and exchange industry information. It is NOT the site to use to connect with readers or promote your book (unless you write non-fiction business strategy books - but even then, advertisements and promotions are frowned upon).
Put your professionalism on display on Linked In.
Don’t undercut or bypass the store. Want to piss off a bookstore owner? Hand out bookmarks that say “available at Amazon.” Tell people they can get your other books at the store down the street. Tell customers to call you direct for more copies instead of coming back to the store. Even worse, sell books out of your trunk right after the signing. The store has worked hard to put this event together, spent money on promotion, and showed their faith in you by providing space in the store. Return the favor and send them business.