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For the Catholic Writers Guild:
The social media learning curve is steep! I’m realizing that most people are making less-than-stellar use of it, because each SM channel could be a one-semester course in itself! Here are a few cut-your-time tips for making better use of Linked In:
Improve Your Profile
Add your publications, with purchase links. You can add sample chapters in pdfs. It’s possible to drag sections of the profile around to emphasize your most important points first, in case anyone looks.
Self-employed writers may lack the kind of emphasis on particular job skills that is Linked In’s specialty, but in your profile, you can include various groups you are a part of, or non-profit projects you spearheaded, too. Someone looking for a specifically Catholic writer would be interested to know of your affiliation with a third order, or lay association.
You may not have been looking for a job when you organized a food drive, but that work still says a lot about your heart and your leadership skill. Perhaps you’ll be more interesting as an author to-be-interviewed if your profile gives potential hosts a more well-rounded view of who you are. You can add video (your book trailers, for instance, or clips of you as a speaker) and other kinds of content to the LI profile, making it a more interesting read, even if you aren’t using LI to look for work.
Improve Your Networking
Have you joined groups that are pertinent to your interests? You can search for groups and connect with various Catholic groups, pro-life groups, interest groups, and groups of people in your local area. You can click on the information button (lower case ‘i’ in circle) for more info about any group that interests you.
Join discussions, start discussions or polls, and send occasional messages to individual contacts now and then as authentic reasons come up. I’d hate for you to do any of this manipulatively, in sort of a notch-in-your-belt, acquisitional way. But we really should be looking for opportunities to connect with others who share our faith and interests, right?
I don’t think I’d have enough hanging on all this networking to ever pay for LI-Pro, but it does allow you more access to message other members, if you need that. If you start a group, you may email members free up to once a week. Notice whether any of your contacts has a ring of dots next to their name, which indicates they have chosen to be Open Linked to others, and may be messaged freely. You can use ‘@Name’ now, as on Facebook, to link to anyone you mention in a post, status update, or discussion comment. That’s a fun way to draw the attention of specific people you think may be interested in a discussion or news item, without paying for extra messaging capabilities.
On Linked In, you can create an LI Badge to place in the sidebars of your other sites to shoot people right over to your glorious new LI profile. You can add an LI bookmarklet to your email signature, too.
Improve Your Content
After you beef up your profile with some writing samples, video clips, website links and such, you might want to add Linked In blogging to your list of things to do! It’s a new option, so I mention it, knowing most of us can hardly keep up with our regular blogging. Publish and edit posts from your LI Home Page.
Customize your Pulse by picking and choosing what channels you’re following. The more this LI magazine-style news feed reflects your actual interests, the more natural and easy it will be to share these items with contacts, comment on what others are saying, and get involved in discussion threads. Speaking of discussion threads, I love the way I can leave LI after entering a few discussions, and then keep up with them all via email notifications (if anyone else comments after me).
What kind of content are you sharing, by the way, within your discussion comments and status updates? I get tired of people just reposting their blog posts and selling stuff here, but it’s easy to do. My favorites are shares of links to interesting content, helpful resources, and people who are doing interesting things. My pet peeve is when people use 5 or 12 words to weigh in on a “Tell what you do in exactly 7 words” thread!
For me, LI must be an every-other-week indulgence, but a little time spent there on a regular basis can’t hurt, and might help. I’d like to hear whether you’re into LI, and how that’s working for you. Please comment!