Tuesday, April 8, 2014

LinkedIn for Writers: Tips, Recent Changes

LinkedIn can help you promote your writing two ways: By letting you connect with potential readers in Groups and allowing you to email all or some of your Connections. This post will discuss using Groups for promotion and recent changes that can render them useless.

What's New on LinkedIn

- When you post an Update, only a fraction of your Connections will see it.
- LinkedIn is releasing a blog-like feature that lets some users post updates that reach a much broader audience on the site. At present, this is a very exclusive club.
- Piss off the moderator of one Group and he can ban you from posting in his Group -- and any other group you belong to. (Yes, you read that correctly. More on this below.)

Though I have about 2,000 Connections, only about 50 see my Updatess.

Posting in Groups

Posting links to articles you've written in appropriate Groups can entice readers to your blog or Web site. Here's how to do it without pissing off Group moderators.

1) Find Appropriate Groups
If you're writing non-fiction, search LinkedIn for Groups interested in your topic. I write about marketing for writers, so I've found Groups created for writers looking for tips on how to promote their work.

For fiction writers, the process is trickier. LinkedIn is a business-to-business site. In writing your novel, did you learn anything that may be of interest to business or non-fiction types? If you wrote an historical novel, maybe you learned about a particular historical period. If you write about science fiction, maybe you learned about about astronomy or physics or technology. Search LinkedIn for groups on these topics.

My novel involves travel. I found some travel groups, but they were mainly travel agents and knew more than I did, so this didn't work for me. Hence, I do not use LinkedIn to promote my fiction.

2) Evaluate the Groups
- Is the Group active with different people posting and commenting? (If a group has only posts from one person, say, the Group moderator, skip it.
- What are the rules? Does the Group allow people to post links to their blogs?
- What are other members posting? If they're posting just a headline and an article link, then you can, too. If others post a description of the article -- or even most of the article -- in the "Add more details" box then should do as they do. Often, a Group's rules will specify what you can post and whether it can go in the Discussion section. If blog posts must go in the Promotion section, the Group may not be useful.
- If you post a link to your blog, check back the following week to see if it went live. In the Group, click on your picture or the "Your Activity" link. Then look under "Discussions You've Started." Nothing there? Look in "Pending Submissions."

Note: Posting to writing groups and asking people to buy your book is not a good way to sell books! But it is a good way to be labeled a spammer.

3) Pending Submissions: When You've Pissed Off Someone
If week after week your posts are sitting in "Pending Submissions," you may have been black-balled by a moderator who didn't like your post or considers you a spammer. If people are "Liking" your posts and commenting, you're in the right place.

Unfortunately,  if a moderator doesn't like your posts and black-balls you, any posts to her Group -- or any other Group -- will sit in "Pending." The moderator of each Group will have approve your post for it to go live in their Group. In some Groups, however, moderators never check "Pending Submissions" and you're screwed. 

What can you do?
- E-mail each moderator, mention that your posts are "Pending" in their Group, and ask if you've you done anything wrong. In my experience, you will never hear either way.
- You will likely Not be subjected to Pending in all Groups. If you're stuff isn't posting in one Group, you may want to leave that Group.

More than you want to know on this topic. 
The technical term for being black-balled is that you're a victim of Site-Wide Moderation or SWAM.

- Another expert weighs in (LinkedIn Insights article)

- A LinkedIn Group devoted to this topic (note the Moderators warning about posting blog links in his Group!)

Are LinkedIn Groups Working for You?

As with any promotion tactic, the proof is in the Web traffic.

LinkedIn is working for me -- for now.


Art attribution: Top image by Koreshky at en.wikibooks [Public domain]

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