Writer's Pro Tip: If you're networking online, skip Facebook

You might be surprised to read this, but it’s time you learned the truth: Facebook isn’t the answer to a struggling writer's unemployment woes.

Sure, Facebook has nearly a billion users. It’s the biggest social media network in the world, connecting people across continents, helping businesses reach new customers, and reminding you that those friends from grade school still exist. For the casual blogger, Facebook works as an indispensable tool in spreading the word about your content to your friends, family members, and coworkers. The social network can certainly help your blog get off its feet and establish a small readership. But for unemployed writer, the social network doesn’t have much to offer in the way of real help.

At the beginning, Facebook can be helpful for networking or for a job search—but there are many more social media tools at a writer's disposal to feel out potential employment opportunities. Facebook is too vast and unorganized to fit the needs of professional writers who want to find a specific employer with specific job requirements.

So what social media tools get results for the unemployed copywriters, journalists, technical writers, and aspiring novelists out there looking to get noticed?

Twitter: The classic and dependable social media tool

Let’s talk about Twitter for starters. It’s the social media tool on the go, built for connecting people with passions in any subject that you can think of. It’s the ideal venue for finding fellow writers, readers, and industry contacts. The audience on Twitter is much more receptive to writing professionals in the web industry who want to share their knowledge with the world. Add a cleverly placed hashtag to your tweet, and you might just get noticed by thousands of users instantly. There might even be a publication out there looking for new hires!

Facebook is loaded with people who use the service solely for keeping up with their social lives; far fewer people use it for advancing their business or for selling their blog to the masses. On Twitter, you have a real chance at sharing your work with people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. All you need to do is follow the right people in your industry to get an idea for how to sell your skills to fellow tweeters.

LinkedIn: The golden standard of professional networking

And then of course there's LinkedIn, the online service that was specifically built to bring together professionals in every field you could imagine. PR reps, technical writers, advertising executives, restaurateurs, and entrepreneurs from every conceivable background are just a few of the types of people you'll find on LinkedIn. What’s more, the people on this service are here for one reason, one that will surely benefit a job seeker: they're looking to make connections with the right people.

LinkedIn differs from Facebook in its tone. While many businesses have their own Facebook pages, they usually don't conduct actual business on those pages, nor do they make attempts to hire or network through them. Facebook is first and foremost a place for socializing. LinkedIn is strictly business.

LinkedIn will help you get in with the right people in the writing industry, but it will take considerable effort on the writer's part to get the connections need to start a career. Writers have to market themselves aggressively, proving their talent as ambitious young professionals with shameless self-marketing backed up by outstanding clips of their own work. On LinkedIn, a writer has to be forward thinking and unafraid of risks and new ideas in their field if they want to get noticed. In other words, they must present themselves as valuable assets to any company looking for new hires.

Which social media services do you think help bolster employment opportunities for writers?

Guest post by Maria Rainier. Maria is a freelance blogger who writes about higher education, student lifestyle, and general industry writing advice for an online degrees blog. Maria also writes about the web’s increasing influence on education and what it means for the students of tomorrow. Feel free to send a comment her way!


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