Getting more out of LinkedIn, or any social media, is just a matter of knowing what’s available, what’s important, and scheduling time to do it. If you signed up for LinkedIn and nothing is happening, it’s probably time to take a look at (1) what you want out of LinkedIn, and (2) what you are doing to achieve it. Comparing it to going to a networking meeting and just standing in the corner, you won’t get very good results.
There’s no doubt that LinkedIn is “the place to be”. Their recent IPO surprised everyone with the results, and their number of members continues to grow at an outstanding pace, just passing 120 Million. LinkedIn is still a “Must” for job seekers, but LinkedIn’s true power is in networking professionals (including ministers).
Facebook is a great tool for strengthening existing ministry followers and promoting a ministry that already has a large number of friends that will share your page with their friends. LinkedIn is about connecting you to people you know, people you’ve ministered to, ministered with, and trained with, as well as giving you opportunities to connect to “target contacts” (those that could be beneficial to your ministry).
Here’s a list of some of the things LinkedIn could do for a ministry:
- Help you be found – LinkedIn allows you to be found by searching for “Key Words” that describe your ministry or expertise. Your key words should be in your summary, your specialties, your skills, and possibly your ministry name, your headline and your title if it is appropriate.
- Establish Trust and Credibility – LinkedIn can help you establish trust and credibility with new contacts from your recommendations, your achievements, your connections, your groups, your honors and awards, your publications, your blog, your presentation, your reading list, and anything else you include in your profile.
- Free Advertising – By creating a LinkedIn “Company” (Ministry) Profile, you can describe your company/ministry, as well as the products and services you provide. This can serve as a temporary web presence if you don’t have a dedicated web page yet.
- Connecting Group Members – LinkedIn groups are unique and powerful in joining members of a like minded focus like a church congregation, denomination leadership, an ordination fellowship, a seminary, or a ministry focus (healing, deliverance, social media, prison, women’s, etc). A LinkedIn group allows sharing discussions, questions, ideas, events, as well as sending free newsletters and messages to your members. LinkedIn Group members also update their own email address, keeping you from having to maintain your own list.
- Reaching Out – Joining larger groups that compliment your focus will allow you to be connected to an almost unlimited number of others with a common focus, background, or interest. Joining groups is a great way to get connected to “target contacts” that you wouldn’t otherwise have a way to connect.
- Soliciting input and help – When you share what you are working on in your “status” update, all your connections will see it and can give you input, support, and share it with others in their network.
- Promoting Books & Products – The Reading List by Amazon allows you to highlight your own publications and recommend other’s works.
- Advertise Events – LinkedIn Events allows you to post event details that your contacts will see in their network updates and share with their contacts. Other LinkedIn members can also search for events of interest. LinkedIn allows users to indicate if they will attend or be a presenter, increasing the event visibility among other members.
- Promoting Your Blog – LinkedIn allows you to automatically include the title, the first few sentences, and a link to your most recent blogs. A Blog is important to your ministry because it allows you to show your expertise in your area of ministry, it brings people to your website and keeps them coming back, and having a blog gives your ministry more visibility in internet searches.
- Linking your Ministry Associates – Your ministry associates can have their own profile with all the above features, as well as being linked to your ministry through your Ministry Profile. This allows visitors to see all your associates and recognize the strength and expertise of your ministry.
Begin by determining what you want to accomplish with LinkedIn, then write down the steps you will need to reach your goals. Don’t forget to include who will take action, and a target date for each needed action. It’s best to set up some kind of follow up system to reduce the chance of missing an important step in the process. A weekly review of needed actions and a completion check list will keep you and your team on track. When you have completed all the necessary steps, it’s probably time to set new goals and the actions needed. If you ever stop the process, your future success can be limited.
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Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries