Most of you know I am a big fan of social media. In fact, most of the people who guest post on this blog are people I met through social media. I met my fantastic book publicist Dindy Yokel in a group on LinkedIn. A few weeks ago, Dindy introduced me to Wayne Breitbarth, an expert on how to use LinkedIn. I invited Wayne to write an article on how authors can use LinkedIn. Enjoy!
I didn’t know LinkedIn could do THAT! You would not believe how many times in a week I hear that statement in reference to a specific feature on the world’s largest business social networking site—LinkedIn. It doesn’t seem to matter what profession or industry the individual who uttered those words is involved in. The statement is the same. Most people still don’t really get just how powerful LinkedIn can be for expanding and growing their business. This applies to the business of being an author as well.
I have personally used all of the information I will be sharing to help sell copies of my book, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand and Job Search, and to grow my speaking/training/consulting revenues. My book is a nonfiction business book, but most of these ideas will be equally helpful for fiction authors.
Before discussing specific LinkedIn features and techniques, let me give you a 35,000 foot view of LinkedIn’s capabilities.
First, LinkedIn is the world’s largest searchable database of business professionals, allowing you to keyword search more than 135 million individuals’ profiles (I like to call them resumes on steroids) and find the specific person you desire to contact. Once you find the person, LinkedIn shows you how you are connected to him or her—either through a friend or a friend’s friend—similar to the Kevin Bacon six degrees concept.
Secondly, you can maximize your exposure to the entire database by strategically completing your individual profile. This will help you be found more easily by others and allow your personal story to come through loud and clear to your audience.
Once you complete your profile and begin connecting with your friends and business associates, you will be ready to use the many powerful features on the LinkedIn site to gain exposure, grow your business and brand, and promote your book.
Searching for People. Using the Advanced People Searching function (Click “Advanced” on the top right of any screen), you can search through the entire database by using detailed profile criteria, including title, company, school, geographic region of the world, and the all-important keywords that describe the individual(s) you are attempting to find.
Finding agents, editors, proofreaders, book buyers, bloggers, and media contacts is a breeze. Simply think of the words an individual would use to describe him- or herself, and then search through the LinkedIn database. As a business book author, I periodically search for business radio shows. This has resulted in dozens of guest appearances on shows across the country.
Joining and Being Active in Groups. Being social virtually is fast becoming the most popular way to find new relationships that could lead to growing your network and ultimately your revenues. The days of going to live book signings, networking events, and other time-consuming endeavors is quickly being replaced with spending time reaching out to people in spaces like LinkedIn groups that revolve around your profession or the topical space of your book.
For example, if you have authored a fiction book set in the Civil War period, joining a large LinkedIn group that focuses its content and discussions on the Civil War will be particularly advantageous. LinkedIn currently has 66 Civil War-related groups from which to choose. As a group member, you can listen, share, help, and connect with people who may ultimately become your customers, clients or friends.
To find the best LinkedIn groups for you, simply click “Groups” on the top toolbar, and then select “Groups Directory.” Search using keywords that describe the topic the group might include in its profile. With more than 1.1 million LinkedIn groups, I’m sure there are several groups that would welcome your input, expertise, experience, and maybe even the opportunity to read your book.
Marketing Yourself and Your Book. A word of caution: As you may have learned from using other social media platforms, in-your-face marketing is definitely frowned upon. However, when used strategically, LinkedIn can increase your exposure with your intended audience in what I will refer to as a social media friendly way.
The two most important and underutilized marketing weapons for authors on LinkedIn are the profile and status updates. Obviously, you can search engine optimize your profile by including your most important keywords. But you can also optimize your profile as it relates to your branding, experience, and your personal story. This is done by using profile applications. These applications are free but need to be downloaded to your profile. Access them by clicking “More” on the top toolbar and scrolling down to “Get More Applications.” I highly recommend downloading Box.net files, SlideShare, Google Presentations, and Amazon Book List. Be creative. Post Word and pdf documents, slide presentations, and videos that will get your audience in the mood to buy your book, interview you on their radio shows, hire you as a speaker, or call on you for a guest blog post.
Status updates are your voice to your audience (connections), and these individuals have agreed to listen to you by virtue of their agreement to connect with you. Don’t waste this opportunity! On a daily basis, share a status update about your area of expertise, interests, or what is going on in your author world—speaking engagements, reviews of your book, guest blog posts, ideas for your next book, and so forth.
If any of these suggestions caused you to say, “I didn’t know LinkedIn could do THAT,” you now have a head start on developing a LinkedIn strategy that will increase your exposure, build new relationships, and help you sell more books in 2012.
Your turn: How has LinkedIn helped you sell books?
About the Author. Wayne Breitbarth is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search. Wayne is a sought-after convention and workshop speaker. He has trained over 10,000 businesspeople—from entry level to CEO—on how to effectively use LinkedIn. Wayne works with corporate clients to develop a comprehensive strategy for using LinkedIn to grow their business and build their brand. For more LinkedIn tips, visit the Resources/Free section of his website and download this free checklist: “Authors: Make LinkedIn Work for You.” Visit his website and blog at powerformula.net. Follow him on Twitter for daily LinkedIn tips.