Why writers should love LinkedIn

iStock-891627874.jpg

We remember when we first created our LinkedIn account several years ago. It felt so strange—isn’t this just for people who are job-hunting? Why are they making me network with more people in my industry? Who has time for this?

But somewhere along the line, LinkedIn started growing on us. And now, it’s official: it gets our first-ever Brodie Media Triple-Heart Rating. (OK, we just made that up. But it sounds nice, doesn’t it?)

What we’re trying to say is that we’ve gone from a lukewarm “meh” feeling to a real appreciation for what LinkedIn has to offer, especially for those of us on the Brodie Media team who are writers.

Why, you ask? Let us explain:

It’s for grownups

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great, but sometimes it’s hard to filter through who’s a bona fide professional and who’s some weirdo stalker posing as an “author” or a  (don’t even get us started about Snapchat). But most of the people on LinkedIn are real professionals who take their work seriously. That can be refreshing.

Legit conversations

If you’re anything like us, we tend to get all suspicious when we get a private message on other social media accounts, especially when it’s from someone we’ve just connected with. Often, they’re trying to sell us something (editing services! cover design!), or it’s one of those generic auto-messages urging us to buy their book right now pretty-please. But with LinkedIn, you get the sense that the messages are from real people making genuine connections. Again—refreshing. 

Interesting content

Most people who use LinkedIn are rather selective about what they post, perhaps because they know their audience consists of real professionals who don’t appreciate drivel. So (for the most part) your feed isn’t overly clogged and you can really take the time to appreciate what your peers take the time to share, whether that’s about writing or a host of other interests.

Jobs

While we have little to no experience with the job-search aspect of LinkedIn, many people we greatly respect have excellent things to say about the “Jobs” section of this platform. The layout and search functions make it easy to hunt for positions and locations, and usually it’s easy to tell if something is a good fit or not. Writer jobs are plentiful, too, which is not always the case on other platforms.

What do you think of LinkedIn? What are some of your favorite things about it, or why haven’t you tried it?

The fellowship of Twitter—yes, really

iStock-497298361.jpg

Twitter can get a bad rap—idea bashing, name calling, heckling—but it’s a surprisingly good place for writers to engage with other writers.

We at Brodie Media weren’t so sure about this when we entered the Twitterverse all those years ago. Why would people who love writing possibly want to limit ourselves to 10 characters, let alone navigate (what was to us then) the confusing randomness of the general news feed.

But now it’s one of our favorite platforms, and we think it’s a great place for writers to engage with each other—and with their readers. Here’s what we’ve learned:

Do your thing

Just like with your blog, you don’t want to tweet about everything under the sun (parenting and fitness and books and writing and tomato gardening and global warming!). Take the time to figure out your main topic. For instance, if you write about faith, tweet about faith. Also, make sure your topic is identified in your profile—don’t just list your name, or something esoteric and vague. Say who you are: e.g. Jane Doe, parenting blogger and author. And make sure to have a photo so people know you are an actual person!

Determine your hashtags

In Twitter, everything is categorized by hashtags to make finding content and likeminded Twitter friends easy. Use them! Take a look at some Twitter accounts that get lots of response. What tags are they using? Then follow suit.

Birds of a feather…

Once you find a few likeminded pals, take a look at their followers. Chances are, they’ll have quite a few that you’ll want to engage with, too. Follow them. Usually, they’ll follow you back.

Sharing is caring

Twitter is a place to engage. Don’t make it just your soapbox—write up an interesting thought, post it and be done. If someone comments on your post, engage with the. If someone likes or retweets your post, check out their feed, and chances are they’ll have a post you’ll want or retweet yourself. Train yourself to retweet at least four or five posts for every one tweet you make. If you scratch someone else’s back, they’ll scratch yours, and everybody wins. (Bonus: Now you have some real fellowship going!)

 

Your turn: What are some of your tips to engage on Twitter and make the fellowship of the “Tweet” stronger?

How the creative visual playground of Instagram helps your writing and reach

 Photo by Matt Brodie - Follow him on Instagram at  @TheBrodieMan803  You can also follow author Jessica Brodie  @JessicaJBrodie

Photo by Matt Brodie - Follow him on Instagram at @TheBrodieMan803
You can also follow author Jessica Brodie @JessicaJBrodie

We get your hesitation—writers on Instagram? It’s about photos, not words. Why would any self-respecting writer spend much time on a picture-based platform?

Because Instagram can do a lot for your creativity, your writing, and your reach.

Instagram is a visual masterpiece. Many creative types love Instagram because of its simplicity. It’s often a place of great beauty and honesty. Follow the right people, and your feed can be filled with landscapes, gorgeous gardens, eclectic smatterings of light, and brilliant artistry (or, if you prefer, adorable puppies and babies). If you need a mood-boost or just a place to generate some creative thoughts while brainstorming your next chapter, Instagram’s got you covered. The swirl of colors alone invites expression. Plus, the fact that liking all this lovely photography involves tapping a photo, thereby causing an uplifting little heart to flash in front of you, doesn’t hurt either. 

Not just that, but Instagram can also be a great place to get to know other writers, who’ll let you vent, share writing tips, or just laugh with you when you need a silliness break. Hashtags like #writerslife, #writersblock, and #writersofinstagram are just a few of the happiness hubs on this platform. Connect! It’s fun—and chances are, you’ll learn what makes other writerly souls tick and how they work through a problem you’re having yourself.

If you don't think you're "good enough" as a photographer to make it on Instragram, don't worry. Try simply posting images that speak to you about your writing or inspire you. One great idea is to take a photo with your phone and challenge yourself to write a short Instagram-only story with it (about 2,200 characters long). Do this for a month, and you'll be well on your way to figuring out your voice on the platform.

Instagram can also grow your reach, helping you sell books simply by getting the word out there that your books exist—and how they can get them. Be careful not to come across as just trying to sell your stuff, though. You want to be authentic and engaging, not a cliche used-car salesperson. That said, a captivating photo that teases a book draws the eye and heart… and makes them want to learn more. 

So if you’ve been holding off on trying Instagram because you don’t understand how you might relate to a photo-based platform, we say give it a shot. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

You can always follow us on Instagram, as well. @brodiemedia

Platform as a mission field

Platform as a mission field

We work with a number of Christian authors and artists who felt uncomfortable at first about putting so much emphasis on “growing their platform,” which is a fancy way of saying expanding their reach on social media, their website, and in other influence areas.

At first, many of these creative Christians didn’t seem to understand why their agents and publishers were requiring them to have so many followers and friends, why they couldn’t just focus on producing their work and let the publishing houses do the rest.