I have had a LinkedIn account for several years, but once I set it up I neglected it for the most part. About a year ago I went in and updated my information. Within a week I was contacted by two galleries out of the blue who asked to see my work and I got a consulting project.
While I don't always use LinkedIn to its full potential, recently I have signed up to participate in several LinkedIn groups, mini-networks within LinkedIn, organized around common interests. I get weekly emails that give a digest of the discussion threads for each group. I have actively participated in two of these threads that have been of great interest to me- one about artists who work with charities in fundraising, and one about how blogging can benefit artists.
Both discussions have provided practical, technical and creative advice as well as collaboration with other artists/business people to trade web links, share tips and even guest-blog on each other's sites. I have been blown away about how friendly the people in the groups are and how open they are to both asking for and giving advice. Through these groups I have access to hundreds of arts professionals that are more than willing to answer my questions about business, techniques, legal issues, and creativity.
So… if you are already on LinkedIn:
- Update your information regularly.
- Add your website url, blog, Facebook page, Twitter name, etc. to your LinkedIn profile.
- Join some groups! It's easy: log into LinkedIn. Click on the "Groups" tab. In the search window, type in some keywords to locate groups you may be interested in. Scroll through the results and click on groups you want to join. That's all there is to it!
Some groups I belong to are:
American Ceramic Society, Art Business, Blogger's Network, Green Design Pros, MuseumLink, NJ Association of Women Business Owners, Visual Artists and their advocates, Sculptors, and Metal Clay Artists.
If you are not on LinkedIn… it is a professional networking site, similar to Facebook but it's all work and no play! Seriously, there are great tools to help you expand your contacts and build professional relationships. It is free and easy to sign up. Give it a try: