Social media for journalists: Part two – using LinkedIn, Facebook and forums to get work

 

social media for journalistsFollowing on from the post about how journalists can start using Twitter for work, this is part two of my presentation to the Guild of Health Writers – here we’re looking at other forms of social media including LinkedIn and Facebook.

(It was at this point in the presentation that I realised I had far too much to say.)

Using LinkedIn to get work as a journalist

  • Fill in your profile to get your name at the top in Google searches
    LinkedIn ranks incredibly highly in search engines, so if somebody Googles your name (and editors will), your profile will pop up at the top. Particularly useful if you don’t have a website for your journalism work (though frankly, you should). 
  • Ask for recommendations
    Get people you’ve worked with to fill in a LinkedIn recommendation to add to your credibility.
  • Include keywords in your profile relating to services you can offer
    Recruiters are searching, so make it easier for them to find you. Nobody can offer you work if they don’t know what you’ve got to offer.
  • Join groups relevant to your specialism
    There’re thousands of professional groups on LinkedIn, so there’s bound to be a special little haven for you.
  • Check out potential clients
    If you’ve got a meeting coming up with an editor, check out their LinkedIn profile to get the cut of their gib. *stalker alert*. LinkedIn normally tells users who has looked at their profile, but you can turn off this facility if you want to be more discreet. This means that you in turn won’t be told who’s looking at your profile, so turn it back on if you want to know that.

 

 

Facebook fan pages for journalists
I must admit that I nearly had the dry boak when I heard about these. Why on earth would a journalist want a fan page? But they do seem to be on the rise, with one New York Times writer amassing nearly a quarter of a million ‘fans’ to his page. I don’t think we’ll all be rushing out to create a Facebook fan page, but keep an eye on them. In particular, if you’re an author you may find it useful to create a Facebook page for your book as an additional resource for your readers. These are the benefits:

  • Separates your personal and professional life
    If your Facebook network has grown to include people you’ve never actually met, and you want to group those more distant contacts away from your mother in law and teenage children, a separate page focusing on your work only could be the way to do it.
  • Showcase your work and build an audience
    These days, publishers and editors like to hire writers who can bring a guaranteed audience with them. So things like the number of Twitter followers you have, or Facebook ‘likes’ will become an asset to help you get more work.
  • Make unlimited connections
    You are limited to 5,000 friends in the traditional Facebook network, but a stand alone page can have unlimited people liking it. Useful if you’re that guy from the New York Times.
  • Stay in contact with interviewees and other professional contacts
    You might not want them to see your every status update, but maybe you’ll work together again in the future?
  • A testing ground for ideas you’re thinking of pitching
    You can throw out a question and see if your network bites, and get a sense of how easy case studies will be to find before you pitch rather than after.

 

Using forums as a journalist

  • Lurk a little, but not too much
    It’s easy to fall into the habit of only ever lurking, especially if a forum seems to be dominated by a long-standing gang of regulars. Hang back to get a sense of the place, but you will get much more out of any forum once you start to contribute and participate.
  • Give before you take
    Don’t just leap in and ask for everybody’s best contacts at once. People notice if you only ever take and don’t give, and will less inclined to help you as a result.
  • Journobiz; MediaWomenUK
    Both useful forums for journalists. There’s also a forum at journalism.co.uk which is better for newbies.
  • Starting your own group is easier than you think
    If you have a specialism and there’s no dedicated forum, start your own and you’ll instantly be the Head Enchilada.

In the final part of these posts, I’ll be outlining the kind of jobs you can get in social media, and how to make sure all this stuff doesn’t take up so much time that you never get any actual work done.

 

 Click here for more information about hiring Joanne Mallon as your media career coach

 

image credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

UPDATE – April 2015

Since I wrote this post, I went on to write a book about using Twitter (and other social media) for journalists and writers. Social Media for Writers has now been published and is attracting some great reviews – click on the image to see them for yourself. 

 

  • Emily Carlisle (@MTJAM)

    Great tips, although I’m a bit iffy (technical term) about the advice to link a Twitter feed with a LinkedIn account. To my mind they’re totally different networks playing to different audiences, demanding different styles of communication. LinkedIn suggests a suit and tie approach, whereas I can get away with dressing down on Twitter. When I log on to LinkedIn and read inane banter which is perfectly acceptable on Twitter, it takes the edge of the professionalism which should be inherent in one’s LinkedIn profile.

  • Thanks so much for your comment Emily, it’s a really interesting point. Personally I have had really good results from Twitter requests which have been seen by people on LinkedIn. It saves me time because it connects with two networks at once.

    Whilst LinkedIn did start off as being very ‘suit and tie’, I think it has grown beyond that now and your network is what you you make it. So my network is a combination of media and business people and not especially straightlaced. Whilst they may be different arenas, you take yourself with you wherever you go, and the point about social media marketing is that your authentic personality is very much to the forefront. Hopefully people will respond to that, and if they don’t then you probably wouldn’t have worked well together anyway.

  • Emily Carlisle (@MTJAM)

    I take your point, and agree (largely) with it. Showing your true personality is important to fit clients who ‘fit’ well with your services. And I definitely agree that it’s a real time-saver to issue #journorequests via two networks at the same time. I do object, though, to dozens of LinkedIn updates about X Factor…

  • See, I don’t think I would go near LinkedIn during X Factor. I can barely face Twitter as it is…

  • Thanks very much Paul, glad you found it useful

  • Great tips Joanne. I’m just dipping my toe into the world of social media as a way of getting freelance work to boost my (at the moment non-existant) day job – so these were really useful.

    For those worried about filling their Linkedin page with X-Factor references, I run two accounts through Hootsuite. One which is my professional one, where I’m a bit more careful with what I say, & an extra-curricular one under a nickname where I put the world to rights, play truant and generally talk nonsense.