I completely underestimated the power of LinkedIn before now if I’m honest.
I’d previously found it too corporate-like and dry over there, and I wasn’t sure how it could serve me, or my creative business in any way…Until recently that is. An influx of former colleagues had steadily been requesting to connect with me lately, which in turn led me to looking at their own connections and latest work, and connecting with their contacts in a web of creative connectivity. It also felt nourishing over there as my timeline was filled with art, multi media projects, blog posts and news articles which gave me fresh perspectives to content I was consuming elsewhere.
More bloggers, journalists, TV producers and PRs too had also been steadily adding me too, and reading their profiles and seeing their own connections brought it home to me, quite how much I’d been missing out on the opportunity to network with others in the arts and business. I was losing out on networking with people I wouldn’t ordinarily feel comfortably adding on say, FB or messaging on Instagram for example but whom felt accessible on this professional platform.
LinkedIn offers you a living CV or a working MySpace style interfce, if you like (remember MySpace?) which features your work history, education, achievements, list of connections (which helps you connect with others too) as well as providing you with a timeline where you can share your latest blog posts/ news pieces etc (in full like Medium, or as short statuses like FB).
I admittedly wasn’t proactive on LinkedIn before now, bar sharing the odd blog post and rarely added anyone myself, I simply accepted those I liked the look of who added me but then failed to engage with them afterwards.
I naively felt that while being a business to business platform, LinkedIn wouldn’t support my creative business, and I’m not sure why I’d come to that conclusion in the first place.
Perhaps it was because I had mostly used the platform when I was a TV Director and Filmmaker, and now as a digital creative would lean on other social handles like Twitter (where a lot of press message me) to connect with fellow creatives/ gatekeepers and as a means to offer clickthroughs to my work.
I already have long standing relationships with PRs and brands alike thanks to blogging for almost 9 years now, so I wasn’t sure how useful Linkedin would be but it’s already proved to be a great place to network, connect with founders and CEOs of brands, not just PRs who represent them, and also showcase my work and upcoming events and interviews in their timeline.
It reminds people of who I am, what my work is about and how I might benefit others’ business/ campaigns.
It also feels empowering to cut through the noise and connect with original founders, newspaper and magazine editors, Executive Producers and MDs: those people who decide and approve who makes the cut for telly or should feature in their paper etc.
LinkedIn with its 500 million plus users (REALLY) has helped me connect with people I would never ordinarily have access to in any other online space.
Furthermore, it enables you to suss out someone before accepting their request or contacting them to begin with so you can establish if connecting would be fruitful or not, and it also provides you with a space to remind others of your work so they can hopefully hire you/ offer you press exposure/ a new job/ campaign or put you in touch with someone who can. I do also have connections bounce off LinkedIn to read my blog posts when I promote them there too. I’m selective about which I share there based on what I think might be of most interest to my audience there…
It does become a bit addictive (as with all social media) particularly as feels pretty exciting when you has requested to connect or has accepted you and how you might be able to collaborate.
I’ve set up meetings, had job offers and made connections with some of the most brilliant minds in the biz thanks to LinkedIn and in the space of just a few weeks of becoming proactive over there.
A great way to start is go through some of your key connections’ own list of contacts and start requesting you connect, sending bespoke, never auto messages one you do.
Don’t pester but anticipate to connect in a meaningful way.
Once you’ve started adding, LinkedIn will make suggestions based on mutual connections and too so work through those and start adding.
Everyone wants their lives made easier, they want to be able to hire or write/ feature fellow creatives as quickly as possible, and this helps them do just that. Update your profile, make it look as slick as possible (include a professional looking photo) and approach it as you do your blog. It reflects you and quite possibly to some of the most integral people in your career: potential employers, investors and the press.
If you want to connect with me there, I’m at Vicki Psarias.
I’d love to read about your experiences of LinkedIn too.