Using LinkedIn to Find Readers

Wednesday, August 08, 2012
LinkedIn seems to still be a mystery to many writers on how to use it effectively. In one of WOW!'s issues, we had a LinkedIn expert write an article for us about the best way for freelance writers and published authors to use LinkedIn for marketing and networking purposes. If you missed that article, you can check it out by clicking here. 

If you are a published author--traditional or self, print or e-book--you are looking for readers. So, how do you find readers and connect with them on LinkedIn? It's not as hard as you may think. It will be easier for some authors more than others--depending on the type of book and the subject matter. But all in all, authors can take these few strategies below to help find an audience on LinkedIn when their book comes out.

  1. Who is your perfect audience? For example, if you are writing a memoir about being "an army brat" and traveling the world with a father as a colonel, you have a lot of different possible reader-types. Make a list: memoir writers, army brats, military wives and moms, and military enthusiasts. Now go to LinkedIn and go to the "Groups" choice in your tool bar across the top. Click on groups directory and start doing searches for the different perfect audience members. Some of the groups are open to everyone; some are closed. Decide which ones will accept you and what you have to offer and join. One word of warning: Don't join a group and start a hard sell. NO ONE wants to be pitched to. Build relationships in this group. Mention your book if it comes up casually. Make connections with others in this group. Writers tend to join groups of other writers on LinkedIn. How many writers groups are really going to help you sell your book? You need some for networking purposes; but other than that, you need to find readers! 
  2. If you have a nonfiction book, you should be in the ANSWERS section of LinkedIn often to become an expert and meet people who have questions about your subject matter. To find this section, go to the tool bar and click MORE. You will see ANSWERS appear underneath it, click on this. Next, you will see several categories listed on the right-hand sidebar such as finance, human resources, and management. Click on one of these fields to read questions other LinkedIn users asked under this category. If you know the answer, you can comment. You can then connect with the person who asked the question. You can answer several questions in one category several different times to get to know more people in this section. Again, this is not a place where you are going to make a hard sell. If your book comes up naturally, great! If not, then you need to connect with others, mention your book in passing, and so on. 
  3. You can do a general search for a type of job or skills on LinkedIn. I have a middle-grade historical fiction novel coming out soon. To look for readers to connect with on LinkedIn, I can do a search for elementary school teachers. There are tens of thousands of teachers on this site, so I might want to narrow it down. Plus, LinkedIn does not allow me to spam and contact all the people on this list. But if they are a 2nd or 3rd connection to me or in the same group as me, but I haven't "met them yet," then I can contact them as a friend and/or ask another one of my connections to introduce me. (There is a limit to how often you can get an introduction or send an "INMAIL" to someone you don't know with a free account. All of those details you can find on the site.) Anyway, if I wanted to connect with some of these teachers, who I want to read my book, I can start with this search. Then I can narrow it down by looking at the left sidebar, and clicking one of the choices, such as: GROUP MEMBERS or 2ND CONNECTIONS, and start sending connection requests. Then when I get more teachers linked to me, I can update my status or e-mail about my book.
Two of the worst things you can do is hard sell your book to your connections every time you communicate with them and/or only join and connect with other writers. Writers are supportive. Writers know a lot of people, but they also know a lot of people who already have books. Find people interested and needing your subject matter on LinkedIn.  And always, always get involved in your alumni groups if you have some on LinkedIn (or Facebook, too). A lot of these people will support you because you went to their high school/college!

For more tips like these for using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, (and possibly Goodreads and Pinterest, too, depending on the students' needs and desires), consider taking Margo's ADVANCED SOCIAL NETWORKING CLASS (online). It starts 8/13 and goes for 6 weeks. For more information, a syllabus, the fee, and to sign up, please go here. 


LuAnn Schindler said...

I agree, Margo. Many writers haven't mastered LinkedIn yet. Joining various groups helps though.

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