While Facebook is probably the most widely known social network on the Web, it’s not the only one of use to writers. Facebook takes in everybody, not just one group. Sure you can create a professional page, but it’s main purpose is to connect people. As a writer, you may want to socialize on a more professional level, targeting those who can help advance your career. For this, you need to join LinkedIn, a social network of business professionals.
Unlike Facebook, the people that use this network come from all sorts of professional careers. You’re more likely to find
editors, publishers, and public relations consultants here. But it takes
time to build a useful network of contacts, so be patient.
Look at LinkedIn as a tool in your marketing arsenal, not as a fast way to get to an editor or agent.
As with other social networking sites, you have a profile page and a network of connections. You can also join groups, pose questions to your network/groups, post events and add widgets, such as your blog feed, to your profile.
LinkedIn creates visibility for what you do and offer. Your profile will appear in search engines and can be accessed by the public if you allow it to. The site also allows people to publicly recommend your professional work. Used wisely, it’s an effective and dynamic way to network and spur new ideas for promoting your writing.
As with Facebook, you’ll be able to create a profile on LinkedIn. But instead of posting your resume, show what you’ve achieved—examples of your work and excerpts from your books.
LinkedIn has a feature that other social networks don’t have. It allows its members to recommend other members to confirm the type and quality of their work. In getting work as a freelance writer, recommendations from editors, publishers, and publicists are important.
Like Facebook, you can post helpful articles, tips, and share links to sites that you think your followers may be interested in. And don’t forget to periodically link to your own Web sites and blogs and other places online where your work can be found.
Twitter is a mini-blogging network that is probably the least useful for you as a writer. First, you’re limited to 140 characters, plus a photo, which doesn’t give you much space to leave a detailed message like Facebook or LinkedIn. v
If you choose to use Twitter, follow people or companies that can offer you entertainment, information, promotion advice, inspiration, or news. Agents, editors, publishers, other authors, publicists are tweeting.
When you follow someone on Twitter, they generally respond in kind. This is true whether you’re following your cousin or the Washington Post. In order to send a message to a fellow tweeter, you must be following him or her.
With Twitter, it’s important for you to know why you’re tweeting. Are you doing it for fun, to engage potential readership, to drive people to your website, or to spread the word about a giveaway or an upcoming book?
Use Tinyurl.com to add links to your tweets. This site turns unwieldy URLs into more manageable ones, helping you fit links into Twitter’s 140-character limit.
Above all, figure out how posting to Twitter will fit into your overall promotional strategy. You’ll find you won’t have the time to post to a group of social media sites, so choose which ones you use wisely.