LinkedIn – group strategy

Originally published in PWAC Contact, the newsletter for the Professional Writers Association of Canada

While contemplating how to market my writing services in 2009, I toyed with my long-dormant LinkedIn profile, then the site itself. Suddenly, it hit me – why not create a LinkedIn group for PWAC?

LinkedIn.com differs from other social networking sites in that it is blatantly designed for business – no fun photo sharing, free-drink sending or general kvetching here. Its reach is broader, too, since LinkedIn lets other organizations, like BusinessWeek and Martindale-Hubbell, use LinkedIn data in their own websites. Also, LinkedIn pages rank highly in Google.

Putting PWAC in this potent networking mix can raise PWAC’s profile (and, by extension, that of its members and writers.ca) among online business networkers. This is particularly true if more of us log in 2-3 times per week and make LinkedIn work for us.

What should we do when we log in? Here are some ideas:

  1. Are you interested but unsure where to start? Check out “Seven Ways To Generate Business With LinkedIn” by Zale Tabakman. Once you view his presentation, the following activities will make more sense.
  2. Create your LinkedIn profile (Study How to Change the World: LinkedIn Profile Extreme Makeover by Guy Kawasaki for tips.)
  3. Join groups frequented by editors, prospective clients and other people you want to “meet.” While you’re at it, join the PWAC LinkedIn group.
  4. Can’t find a group for your specific area of interest? Create it!
  5. Post articles to groups and participate in their discussions.
  6. Add connections. Get started by connecting to fellow PWACkies – we’re a welcoming bunch.
  7. Request recommendations from LinkedIn connections. Ask if you can copy LinkedIn testimonials and paste them on your own web site.
  8. Answer LinkedIn questions. Where appropriate, point people to pwac.ca, writers.ca or your own website.
  9. Ask questions to achieve objectives like finding interview subjects, doing market research on book topics, marketing your services and so forth.
  10. The “What are you working on” feature can augment questions you ask. Use it to find interview subjects, spread the word about your projects, kvetch about computer troubles (oops – wrong word, but you know what I mean).
  11. Research companies, like periodicals and prospective copywriting clients.
  12. To make it easier to use, you can access LinkedIn using tools like the add-on for FireFox, the widget for the Mac, apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry…

One caveat: PWAC listers do not want the LinkedIn group to replace the listservs, so please make sure you discuss PWAC “business” on the lists and keep LinkedIn for more “promotional” efforts. For instance, we might use LinkedIn to foster discussions that show our expertise to the broader business community that frequents LinkedIn (as well as crawlers from search engines that can’t see our list discussions). These guidelines are admittedly vague, and we can debate them when we need to – on the listserv, of course!

We can also discuss any ideas you have regarding how we can use LinkedIn, or other social networking sites. Let’s chat on PWAC-Biz (remember, NOT on LinkedIn) to see if we can’t bring your ideas to fruition and enjoy a more prosperous 2009 – and beyond.

Happy New Year!

Learning about LinkedIn

Here are a number of resources that I’ve either found or had sent to me that demystify LinkedIn. Enjoy.

  1. Zale Tabakman’s presentation – great for beginners!
  2. Learn.linkedin.com
  3. Blog.linkedin.com
  4. How Freelancers Utilize LinkedIn to Successfully Network Online
  5. LinkedIn’s Companies directory best tool yet for freelancers
  6. 5 Ways To Use LinkedIn Networking Groups Effectively
  7. (August 22, 2016 edit – this link no longer works)
  8. Guy Kawasaki’s Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn
  9. 7 LinkedIn Tactics for Lifelong Learning
  10. 8 Things You Can Do to Get Work Through Linked In
  11. 20 Ways to Use LinkedIn Productively
  12. Etiquette for LinkedIn and the Professional Networking World
  13. Making Your LinkedIn Business Network Pay Dividends

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