18 LinkedIn Best Practices for Writers

5-26-14 Frances CaballoEveryone gravitates to Facebook because it’s warm and fuzzy. Your friends are on it; family members use it, and your book club or writing group might even have an active Facebook group. People share heartwarming stories, funny anecdotes, and pictures they’ve taken.

Like the books of Nicholas Sparks, Facebook is a breezy read.

LinkedIn is the most valued social media network among professionals. This network is a platform that requires precision, thought, and detail. Some people inaccurately refer to it as an online resume service; LinkedIn is far more than that. Here’s you can join in professional discussions, share your knowledge, and learn from other members’ expertise. It’s also a great venue for finding readers, workshop and conference attendees, and editing clients.

LinkedIn User Statistics

First, let’s take a look at some impressive statistics about LinkedIn (Source: Digital Marketing Ramblings):

LinkedIn had 300 million users as of 5/1/14. This platform doesn’t begin to match Facebook’s over 1 billion users, but the purpose of LinkedIn is more strategic in one’s career. (And 2 people join this site every second.)

  • In the U.S., there are 100 million LinkedIn users.
  • The geographical range of LinkedIn is 200 countries and territories.
  • LinkedIn is available in 20 different languages.
  • 40% of LinkedIn users check in every day.
  • Every week, 8000 new groups are created.
  • 41% of LinkedIn users access the network via a mobile device and there were 15 million daily LinkedIn mobile profile views.

IMG_1266LinkedIn Character Limits

When completing your profile, you’ll want to watch out for these character limitations. (Additional character limits are noted under best practices.)

  • Specialties: 500 characters
  • Website anchor text: 30 characters
  • Website URL: 256 characters
  • Position title: 100 characters
  • Position description: 2000 maximum characters
  • Although you have 700 characters you could use in status update, shorter updates are better.

18 LinkedIn Best Practices for Writers

Writers new to LinkedIn often don’t know where to start. Here are some of my favorite LinkedIn best practices that should help you to get started.

  1. If you use Twitter, include your Twitter handle in your contact information.
  2. List the books you have published, stories that are included in anthologies, and workshops you have taught.
  3. Adjust your settings so that you receive emails whenever someone requests a connection or sends you an Inmail, LinkedIn’s term for internal email.
  4. Join a few groups and become an active participant by sharing your views and expertise, answering questions, and asking others for help. LinkedIn users tend to be active group participants.
  5. The search bar on LinkedIn has a drop-down menu that allows users to search for people, groups, or companies. Use this feature to find other writers, agents, publishers, and groups.
  6. To expand your network, search for first-degree connections (people you know or have met in one of your LinkedIn groups. Then you can take it a step further and ask your connections to introduce you to their first-degree connections.
  7. Invite writers you meet on LinkedIn to write a guest blog for you, or interview them on your blog.
  8. Twice a day (between 7 and 7:30 am and again between 5 and 5:30 pm) post an update that includes a link to some great content that others will want to read.
  9. Stick to the 700 character limit on your status updates. Remember that spaces count too.
  10. If you’ve written a how-to, editing, craft, or grammar book, become an expert in LinkedIn Answers. Users use this feature to post questions and then wait for an expert like you to provide the answers they need.
  11. If you meet someone through a LinkedIn group who helps you, offer to write a recommendation for that person.
  12. Don’t cross-post your tweets to LinkedIn. Each network has its own language, and it’s best to write distinctive messages for each social media channel.
  13. Think about keywords when you write your professional headline. You are limited to 120 characters to make every word count.
  14. You are limited to 200 words in your professional summary. Again, use keywords strategically here. Use this space to explain to people why they need your books, training, editing services, or assistance. A succinct synopsis that explains who you are, what you do, and the benefits LinkedIn users would gain by reading your books or attending your workshops receives great visibility here. For example, if you write for the Young Adult demographic, explain the benefits to high schools for including your book in their English classes. If, in addition to writing, you teach memoir workshops, include the benefits of attending your sessions.
  15. Recommendations are nice to receive and display on LinkedIn. Ask colleagues or clients you’ve worked with to write a recommendation and then write one for them, too.
  16. Join a few LinkedIn groups. Some people join 40 or more, but I recommend only joining a few in the beginning. Become active in those groups on a daily or weekly basis and then if you think you can handle more groups, add them one at a time.
  17. Add skills to your profile and periodically check them to see whether they still fit. You can rearrange your list of skills, add new ones, and delete those that no longer apply to you.Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 1.14.24 PM
  18. Take advantage of the new option to add your blog posts to LinkedIn. Simply click the shaded pencil in your update box and you will automatically navigate to LinkedIn’s blogging platform.
Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.09.12 PM

Notice the shaded pencil on the right of the status box.

           Links to your blog posts published on LinkedIn will appear above your Summary.

 Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.13.05 PM


LinkedIn is a valuable resource for writers, but it will take perseverance to master and finesse the finer points of this social media channel. For writers, it is a must-have platform for marketing your books and enriching your search engine optimization strategies.


photo credit: ideagirlmedia via photopin cc

Social Media Time Suck by Frances Caballo of Social Media Just for WritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web