There are some people you bump into in cyberspace that you just feel instantly at ease with. The Urban Muse Susan Johnston is one such person. I don’t remember how we “met” but I’ve enjoyed watching Susan go from new freelancer to successful veteran in what feels like just a few short years. If you want to know how to do it right, follow Susan.
I was pleased to get a note from Susan a few weeks ago about her latest book, LinkedIn and Lovin’ It Unleash Your Business Potential with LinkedIn (from Rockable Press), offering me a review copy. I took her up on it.
I’m glad I did. In 84 content-rich pages, Susan opens up a world of possiblities via LinkedIn. Every page has something valuable, a new-to-you tip that instantly brings your profile and your presence more impact. I was halfway through and already writing Susan a fan letter. Even if you think you know LinkedIn, you don’t until you read this book. My favorite parts include how to use LinkedIn to find jobs and how to research using LinkedIn.
I asked Susan to share her thoughts about the book, her findings, and her insights with us. Welcome, Susan!
How long have you been using LinkedIn?
What prompted the book? How did the idea come about?
I’ve written a few blog posts on LinkedIn, and readers seemed very interested in learning more it. There’s a ton of information out there on Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, video marketing, etc., but not nearly as much on LinkedIn. And there didn’t seem to be a resource specifically geared to freelance professionals rather than job-seekers or recruiters, so I decided to create that resource myself!
What, in your opinion, is the biggest mistake people make when using any social media tool?
I’m guilty of this sometimes myself, but thinking about themselves instead of their followers or readers. It’s best if you focus on being a resource instead of trying to constantly self-promote.
The book is a comprehensive guide to using LinkedIn to its fullest advantage. When did it occur to you that LinkedIn was such a gold mine, and why do you think more people aren’t taking advantage of all those features?
As I wrote those blog posts and explored LinkedIn’s features myself, I discovered what a powerful tool it is. Even as I was writing the book, I discovered some very handy tools I didn’t know about. Some recruiters and job-seekers are getting incredibly savvy about LinkedIn, but (with a few exceptions) it seems like freelance professionals are more focused on other tools.
You mention both how to find jobs and how to research using LinkedIn. How much of your own job searching and research come from LinkedIn?
Mostly I use LinkedIn for research, like when I need an expert with a specific area of expertise in a specific geographic area I can do an advanced search to find just the right person. I have a number of steady projects so I’m not actively looking for more. However, I mention the jobs tools for freelancers who might be more proactively searching for clients.
How can writers capitalize on the tools LinkedIn provides?
By keeping your profile current and interacting with other users through, for example, LinkedIn answers or groups, it’s much more likely that you’ll get contacted about new opportunities and be seen as an expert, so I think that’s really key. You get even more functionality out of a premium account, but most of us do quite well with the basic (read: free) one.
What do you think is the book’s most important takeaway?
I interviewed several freelancers and recruiters about how they use LinkedIn, so I hope that readers understand there isn’t one single right way to use LinkedIn. There are lots of different strategies, but almost all of them include being active on LinkedIn, just in ways that make sense for each individual.
Feel free to pick up Susan’s book here. It’s a super resource.
Any questions or comments for Susan?
How do you use LinkedIn or social media tools?
Which social media outlet works best for you?