LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform with a business-focused audience. It’s a great place for authors to connect with potential readers, people who can book you to speak, potential corporate sponsors and industry influencers.
Whether or not you spend much time on LinkedIn (and I suggest you spend MORE time there), following are some key strategies to put in place immediately.
- Take Full Advantage of the Headline
The headline is the short field found below your name on your LinkedIn profile. It’s displayed all over LinkedIn—next to your name in groups, in lists when people use the search feature, and in the “People You May Know” list. Think of your headline as your personal billboard—an opportunity to get your message in front of all kinds of people.
The problem is that some people treat their headline as a title field, simply listing “CEO” or “Author.” But the headline field is actually a place where you should expand to a bigger description that describes a benefit you offer. There is room for 120 characters and you should use as many of them as possible.
Keep in mind that keywords matter on LinkedIn since users often search for speakers and industry experts here. Because of this, you should incorporate as many relevant keywords as possible into your headline, and also repeat them in the rest of your bio information.
As an author, your book title(s) may not fit, especially if you are also promoting a business. So do your best to capture the essence of what you’re all about in 120 characters or less.
- Author of Fitness Fun at Forty| Blogging about health and fitness after 40 at myawesomewebsite.com.
- Author, Speaker and CEO of HRBizzzGrow – Helping entrepreneurs overcome staffing challenges.
- Author and Tech Consultant at ABCD Consulting, Inc. | Showing tech startups how to raise massive amounts of capital.
- Invite Key Contacts to Connect
Once you have a great headline, start reaching out and sending connection invites to the people you want to reach. You can search for people using LinkedIn’s awesome Advanced Search feature.
For example, if you’ve authored a book about skincare you could connect with salon and spa owners.
If you’re a speaker with a niche in nonprofits, you can find them on LinkedIn.
If you’re a consultant in the healthcare field, start connecting with staff at medical offices.
With advanced search, you can also locate people by job title and company name. So if your goal is to reach the heads of HR at software companies, you can search and find them here.
Once a connection request is accepted, you will have access to that person’s contact information. You can use that to reach out directly, or better yet, take time to build a relationship online by interacting with their LinkedIn posts.
- Share Content that Showcases Your Expertise
LinkedIn provides a news feed, similar to Facebook. And though it may not be as active as the feed on Facebook, it is a great way to showcase your content. Here you can share links to your blog posts, industry news, events, photos and anything else of interest to your target audience.
You can also participate in LinkedIn Pulse, which is LinkedIn’s version of a blogging platform. An easy way to share content here is to re-post your past blog posts. Once a post on your site is over 30 days old, copy and paste it into the LinkedIn Pulse platform, and include a brief bio at the end of the post. This can help you showcase your expertise and reach an even bigger audience on LinkedIn.
- Import Your Contacts
LinkedIn allows you to send up to 3,000 invitations, which means that you can import your business contact list (export it from your mail provider). You could also export contacts from your commercial email list (like Constant Contact).
The benefit of connecting with people you already know—or who already know you—is that you’re adding yet another way to stay in touch and keep your name in front of key contacts.
- Participate in Groups
LinkedIn features many active group discussions on all kinds of topics. Find groups that reach your target audience and get involved, or better yet, start your own group. Being an active member or leader of a group is another wonderful way to reach your audience and build alliances.