By Thomas Mankowski, Editor, SAGE US
In the last few years, LinkedIn has developed from what was essentially a job board into something truly useful in the academic world: an active community of practitioners, students and professors all either searching for and sharing content or promoting themselves and their work.
About LinkedIn: For those of you new to LinkedIn, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 175 million members. LinkedIn connects users through invited contacts, allowing for the sharing of knowledge, ideas, research within a network other academics and professionals. The mission of LinkedIn is “to help you be more effective in your daily work and open doors to opportunities using the professional relationships you already have.”
There are five major benefits to LinkedIn aside from job searches, according to the guide to using LinkedIn for business, I’m On LinkedIn: Now What:
- The ability to be known and enhance your personal brand
- The ability to find others and make important connections
- The opportunity to learn and share
- The ability to connect with group members
- The opportunity to show you are plugged in to current technology
As an editor, I try to take an active role in both engaging and driving these conversations. Examples of post-worthy material include information about upcoming conferences; discipline-related news stories; recently published journal articles; highly cited articles; your own research; society updates; your presence at a meeting; awards; podcasts; recently read books/texts; open positions, etc. For my own use as an editor, the majority of my posts are a mix of links to SAGE podcasts, SAGE article abstracts, SAGE Open articles, new SAGE books, industry news and shared posts from sites like the SAGE Author Gateway and Management Ink.
As an as author, I would suggest posting links to all of your work. A simple and effective post can be done by visiting the journal homepage of your published work, copying the abstract URL, and posting it in the LinkedIn ‘Update Box.’ This works better than linking to the article because the abstracts are coded in a way that allows LinkedIn to auto populate your post with the relevant information. Your followers are likely to be invested in the content and will click on those links, which will increase the usage of the articles, and potentially their citations. You can also re-post these links to your twitter account, which is another great way to share your message outside of LinkedIn.
From a networking standpoint, LinkedIn allows you the opportunity to connect with people on a professional level. It provides you with a direct channel to your intended audience – in my case the librarians, criminologists and sociologists who are following me, and the groups I’d like to connect with. Users are able to click on my profile, see my credentials, and view the updates I have made. Relationships can be formed by answering other users’ questions, providing relevant leads, and helping them make connections to further their own goals.
Groups: A LinkedIn Group introduces the opportunity to strengthen connections with like-minded individuals in a member driven forum. The Groups function is to provide a separate space to interact with LinkedIn members who share common interests, industry affiliations, and goals. The more you are able to connect like-minded people together, the more we will be viewed as someone with valuable information to give.
As an author, I would suggest joining several groups around my research or interests. Take part in the discussions with valuable feedback and then try posting discussions of your own. You want to show the members in that group that you are providing valuable content which can lead to further relationship building and connections. Podcasts from articles make for great conversation starters as users can comment on what they’ve heard, or ask for more information about what was said. You could also post a link to the article abstract in the comments as a way to follow up. Email the editor of your journal and ask if you would be able to record a podcast. If it’s a SAGE journal, you will be.
Using Social Media shouldn’t take your entire day, it is just one outlet to use to promote your work. Set aside 10-15 minutes a day to spend on LinkedIn. My daily LinkedIn routine is usually the same. As an editor, I’m checking to see the connections I’ve made, posting an update into my own feed with a news link or journal abstract, and then posting something into one of the group pages I follow, such as podcast or topical abstract into a someone else’s comment or post. As a moderator for an association’s group, I update with association news, an abstract from a recently published article, upcoming conference news, or I simply share a member’s post. It doesn’t take much time once you know what and where you want to post, and the benefit to your work is worth it.
Tips for a successful profile:
- Upload your resume onto LinkedIn to create your profile quickly. Be sure that it’s complete, compelling, and includes a professional headshot; it confirms to your contacts that you are indeed yourself, and adds personality to your details. Don’t overlook the skills section, as this will tag you in searches for others looking to make connections.
- Adding Connections on LinkedIn is a crucial part of the process. LinkedIn will check your e-mail addresses to suggest friends, or “connections,” to you. LinkedIn will also suggest that you invite contacts to join the site, which can be a great resource as you begin to build your network of connections.
- Write your own invitation: LinkedIn has its own standard invitation letter; however, members want to know why you wish to connect with them or if you are members of the same group, university, association or are responding to one of their posts.
- Getting recommendations from current or former employers and/or colleagues is a great way to validate your work history and personalize your profile. You can also vouch for others by making your own recommendations. Don’t forget to ask for an introduction. It’s possible that someone you are connected to already is networked to the person you are interested in (you’ll see a “2″ or “3″ next to their name.) Click the “get introduced through a connection” link and ask your current connection to introduce you.
What are your top tips for promoting your work on LinkedIn? Please leave a comment to let us know!