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LinkedIn smarts for writers

Today is the last day of Social Media Week Toronto, but the ideas shared and lessons learned—about everything from storytelling on Twitter to tracking visual data to developing a content marketing strategy—have no doubt left a lasting impression on many participants. Some of those insights emerged from Social Media for Freelance Writers and Communicators, a panel discussion yesterday afternoon organized by PWAC Toronto Chapter and Professional Independent Communicators of IABC/Toronto in which I had the pleasure to participate.

Sponsored by The Chang School at Ryerson University, the event featured speakers Boyd Neil, a senior vice president and senior digital strategist at H+K Strategies, who provided a high-view perspective on unfolding social media trends; Donna Papacosta of Trafalgar Communications, who discussed how blogging works as the centre of a social media strategy; and Karen Luttrell of Luttrell Communications, who shared her best practices for using Facebook and Twitter for business.

My talk looked at how I use LinkedIn to sustain and build my communications business, Cocoa Media. Here’s a summary of my core tips:
• Make sure your profile is complete, since, according to LinkedIn, that will make you 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through the site.
• Your profile headline should be a like a mini elevator speech that reflects how you help your target clients achieve their objectives.
• Include in your profile every activity and accomplishment that reflects your communications qualifications—projects, articles, speaking, training, volunteering, jobs, education, awards, professional memberships, etc.
• When it comes to the people with whom you connect, go for quality, not quantity. Make sure your network includes complimentary service providers, such as graphic designers, web designers, marketers and project managers. Create a plan to nurture those contacts through regular interactions.
• Ask for recommendations from new clients right after the completion of successful projects. Reuse recommendations in your marketing materials—website, news release, email signature.
• Participate actively in groups for communicators and those related to your beat to build connections, follow trends and raise your profile.
• Use the Advanced People Search function to find the right sources or experts to interview.
• Follow companies that are current clients or that you want as clients to stay on top of their activities.
• What gets measured, gets managed: track your progress on LinkedIn by identifying the tasks that are most useful, assigning frequencies for performing each task, and monitoring how well you meet those targets.

Have any additions to make to this list? I’d love to hear how you use LinkedIn to support your freelance writing business.

PWAC Toronto Chapter blog editor Sharon Aschaiek writes about education and business for media publications and websites, and provides communication consulting and copywriting services to schools and educational organizations.
 

- Sharon Aschaiek

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