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Addicted to Comedy by Wayne Manigo: A Comedian’s Guide To Using LinkedIn
Back in the day when I began using social media tools, I signed up for everything that was available. MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, and anything else where I thought would be possible to earn myself additional comedy fans. When I initially created my LinkedIn account, my goal was to build additional contacts and network with others in the field of Information Technology (aka ‘IT’). After I used it a few times, I considered the application a useless phone book that stored the names of ex-coworkers I never wanted to see again.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate to meet Jennifer Abernathy during the release of her book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Social Media Marketing. We discussed the various ways of using social media, and I explained my issues with the ‘uselessness’ of Linkedin. She reminded to me that it’s slightly different from other online communities. I would need to invest time in understanding the purpose of the groups, their members, and how they communicate with each other.
Meet the LinkedIn comedy community:
Here are two suggestions I recommend four using LinkedIn:
- Create a profile to introduce who you are, and your purpose of using LinkedIn.
- Discover which comedy groups fit your style.
There are dozens of comedy based groups on LinkedIn. When I decided to to become an active member, I joined 10 comedy related groups. I read the posts and comments for approximately a week before making my first reply to any of them. That provided me with the time to discover which groups were worth my time. As with any online group, there will be the occasional spam messages…but the LinkedIn community is pretty decent at self policing itself. Since that time, I dwindled my involvement to 5 groups that I found very addictive.
Learn from your existing contacts:
The difference between LinkedIn comedy groups vs. other internet based comedy forums is the level of professionalism. There were several comedians I was familiar with that were using LinkedIn. I reviewed their accounts to see which groups they were included in. Most of them used it passively due to their schedules, but confirmed with me how they were fans of the groups with active conversations. By the way…all groups have lurkers (in a good way). Some are interested in humor and comedy, but don’t want to become too involved until they’re ready.
In my opinion, nothing can give a group more creditability than including well known members of the comedy community. For example, if Judy Carter (Author of The Comedy Bible is a member of a particular comedy based group – I’m likely to read the posts from those members. This rule also applies to my favorite comedy writers, podcasts, websites, and other comedy media. If they mention their LinkedIn contact information, as a fan I will follow them.
Network, network, network!
One of the primary reasons for using LinkedIn is to build relationships and business contacts. Comedy is definitely a business where you can never have too many contacts. Building those relationships involves reading and responding to various topics of discussion that interest you. My favorite personal example is when I interviewed Tom Dreesen. Tom mentioned his book Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White was being created into a movie on a discussion thread. Group members discussed their excitement about the movie, and after the thread was complete I emailed Tom with an interview request. Sometimes…all you have to do is ask!
You can also cross promote your comedy via networking opportunities. There are dozens of people with podcasts who use LinkedIn to recruit comedians and other talent for interviews. If you’re writing comedy, there are several blogs looking for guest blog writers. There is nothing wrong with promoting your new book, blog, or whatever when you post that information in moderation. But if that is all you’re discussing, the LinkedIn community will ignore you in no time.
In closing, This is by no means a complete tutorial on the benefits of using LinkedIn. Hopefully, I provided a basic road map on why this application should be included in building your comedy career. If you can’t network with people in person, meeting them online is the next best thing. Remember: LinkedIn is a “Give & Take” community…What you put in is what you’ll get out of it.
© 2012 Wayne Manigo
Wayne Manigo is a comedian and co-founder of DC Comedy Writers Group. He is the creator of “Addicted to Comedy,” and the ‘brainchild’ behind the annual comedy conference, Starting Stand Up: A Comic Beginning. He also produces the show, Bellylaughs in Bethesda at Caddies at Cordell.