Posts Tagged ‘restoring the foundations’

How Active Must/Should I Be When Using LinkedIn?

AvoidanceObviously, to use LinkedIn effectively, you’ve got to be somewhat active.  The real question is how much is too much, and how little is too little?

The easy answer is it depends on what you are doing.  If you are searching for connections you know, you probably can’t use it too much but if you are posting status updates 8-10 times a day you run the risk of being viewed as a scammer or nuisance to your followers.

 

recommended sealThe Minimum Recommended LinkedIn Daily Dose:

At a minimum, you need to respond to messages and invites every day or two.

LinkedIn messages are much like an email, but sent through the LinkedIn interface to your LinkedIn “inbox for messages”, and LinkedIn invitations are sent to your LinkedIn “inbox for invitations” so you must be logged in to LinkedIn to see them and respond.  LinkedIn helps by sending you an email every time someone sends you a LinkedIn message or an invitation.  The LinkedIn emails have a link to take you to LinkedIn but you must log in to LinkedIn to reply or accept.

A word of caution about accepting ‘any’ LinkedIn invitation – You need a strategy that describes who you want as connections.  If you don’t recognize the person, look at their profile to see who they are by reading their summary, experience, and what groups they have joined.  If their goals and vision doesn’t match yours, you can ignore or reply without accepting and ask them things like what drew them to your profile and why they want to be connected.  Making an informed decision will help keep your network relevant to your own mission in life.

Networking graphic

The Suggested LinkedIn Daily Dose:

In addition to a timely reply to messages and invitations, scanning through your network “Updates” (on your home page) keeps you informed what your connections are up to, and who their new connections are.  You can find new ‘target’ connections from your network’s new connections.  If you don’t know them, or share a group with them, you can ask your connection to ‘introduce’ you.  If you share a group, follow their discussions.  Adding valuable input to discussions will get you noticed (beware, poor input will too).

See what new groups your connections have joined to see if they fit your strategy.  Review the discussions in your own groups (daily for the strategic ones, weekly for others) and comment on at least one or two a week.

See who has viewed your profile.  Not only does it tell you how much of a draw your profile and headline have, you can find people that would be great contacts.

Scan the “People You May Know” at the top right of your LinkedIn home page every time you log in or go back to the home page.  LinkedIn suggests people from similar employers, backgrounds and those that have common connections.  Clicking on the “See more>>” at the bottom of the People You May Know section will help you find people that you can connect with.

 

lots of turns - good luck sign

The Discouraged LinkedIn activities:

What activities would turn you off if your connections participated in them?  Here’s a list of mine:

 

  • Sending LinkedIn ‘canned’ invitations.  Add a personal note to every invitation telling the person how they will know you or why you want to be connected.  It adds credibility to your invitations and increases your chance of acceptance.
  • Posting the exact same discussion in multiple groups on the same day.  If I have my group email update set to daily, it can quickly fill up my inbox.  It tells me the poster might only be looking for attention and does not intend to add value to the group.
  • Posting 8-10 updates in a row.  It’s good to be busy, but if you post lots of updates (including likes, comments, and shares) you will fill up my update screen and all I’ll see is your activity.  While I may like you, I want to see updates from my entire network without waiting for more updates to load.  Posting lots of updates at one time might also tell me you don’t have much to do today.
  • Asking for recommendations from people who don’t really know you.  A valuable LinkedIn recommendation will come from someone that knows you personally or has experienced your ministry or used your services.  If you ask for recommendations from everyone you know in one day, all your recommendations will show dates very close to each other revealing a mass request.  The best way is to send recommendations to 2-3 of your contacts every week, when they receive them, they will be pleasantly surprised and LinkedIn asks them if they would like to recommend you.
  • Posting aggressive, abusive, or insensitive comments in discussions.  Realize that anything you post can be seen and shared with anyone else at any time.  Inappropriate comments have a way of coming back at wrong times.

 

Be kind, be personable, and pay it ahead is a great LinkedIn strategy for success.

 

Does Your LinkedIn Profile Look Legitimate or Fake?

Of course you want your LinkedIn profile to look legitimate, here’s some things you might want to consider:

 

● Name – Don’t use all Capital or all Lower Case letters.  It sounds obvious, but I’m surprised how many people don’t pay attention to how their name looks (click on “view profile” under Profile in the top menu bar to see how yours looks).  Also, be sure your first name is in the first name block, and your last name is in the last name block.  Reversing them not only looks unprofessional, it keeps people from easily finding you in a search.  Including a title with your name also can make searches harder.  Only include prefixes or suffixes if they are widely known and they are part of who you are trying to represent.  Don’t use your company or ministry name as your name, or a part of your name.  It makes searches harder, and is against LinkedIn rules.  See Company or Ministry name below for suggestions.

 

● Photo – A professional head shot with a neutral background is best.  If you want to be recognized as serious, a beach shot might not be desirable.  Save your photos that include a car, a pet, or a mountain for facebook, unless of course you are a car dealer or a veterinarian and the photo represents your professional image.  Don’t use a logo, it might represent who you want others to see, but it can keep friends and clients from recognizing you, and it’s against LinkedIn rules.  Not including a photo might sound like it prevents possible predigest or harassment, but it keeps you from looking personable and professional.

 

● Company or Ministry Name – This sounds obvious, but many fake profiles use generic names and link to websites that hide their identity.  Using your real company or ministry name and including a website address to support that will make you look professional.  Also, if possible, be sure the website link you use includes some reference to your being involved with them.  A list of staff members with photos and descriptions is great, and you can include a link to your LinkedIn Public Profile to make it look even more professional.  If your company or ministry has a website domain, be sure you create a Company or Ministry Page.  Click on Companies in the top LinkedIn menu bar, then on “Add a Company” at the top right.  Once you have a company or ministry page, you can add details including services offered, and clients can recommend those specific services.  You can find more advantages to company pages and additional information at:  http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/06/19/targeted-status-updates/

 

● Summary – This one is really important because readers can quickly find out who you are and why they should contact you from a good summary, and LinkedIn uses key words in your summary to find you in searches.  The first paragraph should include the key words that people searching for you might use, and a good description of what you do and why people might want to contact you.  LinkedIn gives you 2000 words but you need to get your message across in the first several sentences.  It’s a missed opportunity to not have a great summary!

 

● Headline – Your LinkedIn headline is just below your name, and should not be your title.  A good headline will be something that makes people “want” to click on your name to read your profile.  It should tell people why they should contact you.  They can see your title in the Current and Past Experience listings below so leaving your headline as your title is another missed opportunity to grab the reader’s attention.  Every time you add a new position, LinkedIn will change your headline to your new job title, but you can uncheck the box to keep it from changing.

 

● Connections and Groups – Your connections and groups can also represent who you are.  If you only have a few connections, viewers could question if you are new or a real person.  It’s very important to Check Out who you accept invitations from!  Go to their profile and read their summary, their recommendations, and what groups they belong to.  Inappropriate Groups can be a clue to the person’s character, beliefs, lifestyle, or professionalism.  Before joining a group, check out who else is a member, and who the group owner is, the name might not tell the whole story!

 

● Inappropriate Profiles and Comments:  If you discover a fake or inappropriate profile, you can flag it by clicking on “Flag” on the bottom right of their information box.  If you read an inappropriate discussion in a group, you can flag it by clicking on “Flag as a Promotion”, or “Flag as Inappropriate” under “More” just below the discussion.  When profiles or comments get several flags they are reviewed and can be deleted.  Keeping LinkedIn profession is in everyone’s interest!

Are You Ready to Have Your Own LinkedIn Group?

LinkedIn groups are one of the most powerful features of LinkedIn and almost totally unique in the social media world, so it’s certainly something you will want to learn more about!

What are LinkedIn Groups?

LinkedIn allows anyone with a LinkedIn profile to create a private or public group that members can join to share discussions, articles, questions, events, etc. in a semi-contained environment.  If the group is private, only members can see, start, and contribute to the discussions.  If the group is public, it’s visible on the web for anyone to see.  For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on private groups.

LinkedIn groups allow members to find and network with others with the same interest.  LinkedIn groups allow members to establish trust and credibility with others in the same field, and can build strong connections and partnerships.  LinkedIn groups allow members to learn from others and ask questions and seek advice from experts in any given field.  LinkedIn groups allow members to tell others in the group about events and products they have produced.

What LinkedIn Groups are Not

LinkedIn groups are not a good place to post self serving messages, spam with many messages that don’t offer other members anything, or overtly push products and solicit donations.

My philosophy is to “pay ahead”.  If you post interesting articles, links, and discussions, others will appreciate you and follow you.  If you offer something of ‘value’ for free, and include a link to a website with additional information as well as products to sell, others are more likely to purchase from you.

How to Create a LinkedIn Group

Like any project, it’s best to start with a plan and goals in mind.  Here are some questions you might want to answer before creating a group:

  • What will the group’s focus be?
  • What value will the group provide its members?
  • Who are the target members?
  • Do you need to restrict membership, or leave it open to anyone?
  • How will you get your first members to join?
  • Do you have enough contacts that you can invite to get the group started?
  • Do similar groups already exist?  If so, what works and what doesn’t?
  • Are you a member of other groups (LinkedIn and outside groups) that you might draw members from?

If you can answer those questions with some amount of certainty, you are ready to start a LinkedIn group.

Before You Create a LinkedIn Group:

  • Choose an inviting or interesting name.  A name describes something about the group will help folks find you in a search.
  • Choose a logo.  A unique logo will help members quickly recognize you if they are already members of lots of groups.
  • Prepare your Group Profile or Summary – a paragraph that describes the group, the group’s goals, who might be interested, and what members will gain by joining.  Group Rules are found under “More” in the group menu bar.
  • Prepare your Group Rules – a paragraph that states what you will allow and not allow in the group.  Group Rules are found in the upper right corner of the group page.

Steps to Creating your LinkedIn Group:

  1. Let your mouse hover over “Groups” in the LinkedIn top menu bar.
  2. Click on “Create a Group”
  3. Enter your Logo file in the top Logo box, or click on the “Browse” button to locate your logo file on your computer for entry.  You will also need to check the box to acknowledge that your logo is owned by you or does not infringe on other copyrights, trademarks, etc.
  4. Click in the “Group Name” box to enter your group’s name
  5. Click on the “Group Type” drop down box to select your group’s type
  6. Click in the “Summary” box to enter a ‘brief description’ of your group
  7. Click in the “Description” box to enter your group profile
  8. Click in the “Website” box if your group has its own website
  9. If you are the group owner, your primary LinkedIn email address will already be in the “Group Owner Email” box, if you are not the owner, enter the owner’s email address.
  10. Click the “Auto-Join” if you want anyone to be able to join, or the “Request to Join” button if you want to review the requests and either allow or deny membership.
  11. Click the boxes that allow members to display group names and logos, and allow members to invite others to join.  You probably want to allow all these.  You can also enter pre-approved members with specific email domains (like from a company or ministry).
  12. Choose the Language for the group.
  13. Select the “Location” box if the group is based on a single location
  14. Select the “Twitter Announcement” box if you desire
  15. Select the “Agreement” box to confirm you agree to LinkedIn’s Terms of Service.
  16. Click on the “Create an Open Group” or “Create a Members-Only Group” button to complete the group’s creation.

A Word of Caution – LinkedIn only allows several changes of the group name and logo after the initial entry, so plan your changes carefully.

Inviting your first members

You can invite anyone that you think will be interested, but be sure the core group members are social folks that will contribute and interact well to set a good example.

Inviting Your Current Connections:

  1. When you are in a group, you can invite members by clicking on “Manage” in the group’s menu bar, then “Send Invitations” on the right side.
  2. Click the blue “in” logo at the right of the “Connections” box to select people to invite from your current list of connections.

LinkedIn used to allow a personal note, but it’s currently a canned message so you might want to let your connections know “ahead of time” you are creating a group, what the group is about, and that you will invite them.

Inviting Non-LinkedIn Connections:

Follow the  #1 & #2 steps under inviting current connections above but type or upload your email addresses in.

Asking Other People to Join Your LinkedIn Group

If you send an “invitation” the receiver only has to click on the invitation to join.  You can also “request” others join your group by sending the LinkedIn Group’s URL (web address) to them and ask them to join.  You can find the LinkedIn groups URL by entering the group and looking in the web address bar at the top.

The LinkedIn Group’s address will be something like the following URL for Linked4Ministry: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2820303&trk=hb_side_g

You can shorten it by eliminating everything after the long number so it looks like this:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2820303

You can also shorten it by using URL a shortener like:  https://bitly.com   http://tinyurl.com   or http://3.ly

Note, sending an invitation works best, as this method requires the person you invite to take a few extra steps, and thus reduces the chance they will actually join.  However, this method does allow you to post the LinkedIn group’s address on a website, a blog, or even on your LinkedIn profile under ‘websites’ to let others know about the group.

Next – Stay Tuned, in the next post we’ll discuss how to run your LinkedIn group. 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners, or those that it might benefit. 

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile More than Just a Resume

As you work through completing your LinkedIn profile, it’s important to remember your ministry business plan.  Your ministry business plan should include several objectives that will help you meet your ministry goals, your vision, and your mission.  Just knowing why you are participating in social media and how it will benefit your ministry is a great start.  Keeping those things in mind as you complete (or remake) your LinkedIn profile will help you stay on track and build your ministry brand that will help you accomplish your goals.  Here are a few things you might want to consider:

Photos – A photo on your LinkedIn profile helps you appear more ‘real’ to people viewing your profile.  Does your photo represent who you want to be?  Is it too casual?  Do your clothes and the background appropriately represent your ministry?  If you want to present yourself as approachable, are you smiling?  Do things in your photo belong in your ministry (cars, pets, etc.)?  Logos are nice, but the LinkedIn rules say they can be used on your company page, but not your LinkedIn personal profile.  The best photo is a professional head shot that flatters but does not mislead.

Key Words – Key words help people find you on LinkedIn, as well as the web search engines like Google.  Key words should describe what your ministry focus is (i.e. evangelism, counseling, deliverance, etc.).  You can use the Google AdWords key word tool, you can see who other similar ministries use, but the best method is to use words that have significant meaning to your ministry function.  Use key words that will attract the broadest audience, as well as very specific people.  For instance, in my deliverance ministry I might use “spiritual warfare”, “freedom”, as well as “demonic oppression”.  Your most important key words should be used in your headline (see below) and the first sentence of your summary.  Other key words can be used to replace vague words in the rest of your summary, as well as your specialties, skills & expertise, experience, education, and interests.

LinkedIn Headline – Your LinkedIn “Headline” is found directly under your name and to the right of your photo.  Your headline is commonly mistaken as your job title, and if you don’t enter one, or add a new position, LinkedIn will use your most recent position title as your headline.  Since this is the first, and sometimes only thing LinkedIn users will see, it should describe your job, indicate why others will want to contact you, and cause others to view your profile to learn more about you.  This might take some thought, and probably several revisions until you find the best headline.  After several revisions, I settled on “Anothen Life helps you eliminate things you thought you had to live with – Linked4Ministry extends your ministries reach” to represent my two ministry focuses. 

Websites – LinkedIn allows you to include direct links to three websites.  If you don’t have three websites, you might include a blog or even your LinkedIn groups like I do.  Remember to keep your business plan in mind when you select which websites to include, and be cautious about including overly personal websites, facebook pages, twitter accounts, etc.  You can rely on your LinkedIn profile as your web presence, but an actual website is much better.  There are several free websites that have limited features and functionality, or consider web hosting sites like Network Solutions or 1&1 that cost under $150 a year for hosting and an editing package that is almost as easy as a word processor.  To maintain your “ministry” image and brand you should avoid web hosting services with names or advertising that might detract from who you are.

Experience – Your professional experience should include your most recent positions, as well as a description of what you accomplished at each position.  If you include other jobs that don’t relate to your current position and goals, keep your job title and description brief so they don’t distract from your current brand.  Eliminate brief positions and experiences that detract from your current brand.

Recommendations – Recommendations are often overlooked by ministries, but they can be as valuable as a personal testimony when witnessing to someone.  Recommendations should be from a variety of people and dates.  Don’t seek gushing recommendations, but focus on those that tell others what to expect when they use your ministry.  The best way to receive recommendations is to send 2-3 a week to your current contacts.  They will love receiving unsolicited recommendations, and LinkedIn suggests they will want to send you one.

Keep Your Personality Visible – In most ministries your personality will matter to potential clients, partners, and contacts, so be sure you still represent yourself as warm, caring, confident, and personal.  Include how people benefit from working with you, what you want to accomplish, why you love what you do, and what keeps you energized in your ministry.

Misspellings and Grammatical Errors – Misspellings and grammatical errors in your LinkedIn profile can present a negative image to viewers that don’t know you.  Misspellings and grammatical errors can lead people to think you are either careless or may not have the intelligence, education, or qualifications they believe they need.  Since LinkedIn doesn’t include a spell check, and it’s not one of my strong points, I type everything in my word processor and then cut and paste it in LinkedIn.

 As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Would Being Recognized as an Expert Bring Success to Your Ministry?

It is usually a tremendous advantage to be recognized as an expert, especially in some fields of ministry.  Being an expert can bring clients and ministry receivers directly to you; and can encourage friends and other ministers to refer their contacts to you for your expertise in a specific field.  Of course the first step is to make sure you are an expert, that step is up to you.

Once you have the expertise, how do you tell people without sounding arrogant or elite?  With today’s online resources you can build trust and exhibit expertise in your field in many ways.  A little planning will help you put your time and resources where they will help you the most.  Skipping the planning can likely cost you extra time and delayed success.

First begin by identifying your ideal business or ministry “target audience”.  That target audience might be customers, counseling clients, ministry receivers, students, pastors and church leaders, or even publishers and distributors for your products.  Then identify where your target will likely spend time, such as reading the newspaper, trade journals, brochures, websites, blogs, social networks like LinkedIn and facebook, etc.  You can begin by asking your current friends and associates what they recommend.  Finally, identify the media outlet that is likely to get you the best or largest return and find resources that will help you take advantage of that outlet.

Since Linked4Ministry started out primarily about LinkedIn, I’ll start with that.

Your LinkedIn Profile – Since LinkedIn was designed to be a professional network, a good profile can exhibit a real level of trust and expertise with the right elements.  You can find additional information about the LinkedIn elements in past blogs and articles from Linked4Ministry but here are the minimum recommended elements:

  • A professional head shot photograph.
  • A good “headline” that tells people what you can do for them.
  • A summary that tells what you’ve done for others.
  • References that exhibit trust, reliability, and success.
  • Educational references that add expertise to your field (can be seminars etc.)
  • Apps that show Books & articles that you’ve written or read in your field.

LinkedIn Groups – Identify what groups your target audience might join.  If you have identified targets in LinkedIn, you can view their profile to see what groups they are in that might benefit you, and might help establish your expertise, and join them.  You can search for people with key words (i.e. pastors, authors, publishers, etc.) to see what groups they are in.  Once you identify the groups that will help you, and you join the groups, read through the discussions to see what the ‘tone’ of the comments and articles are.  Identify existing discussions or start new discussions that you have real expertise in and contribute things that will add true value to the discussion.  Look for things that might have been overlooked in the discussion that will shed new light on the conversation or provide solutions not yet mentioned.  Make sure all your posts are well thought out, spelled correctly, and supportable if you are asked.  When you see a target contact that you’d like to be connected to, you can search their contributions in the group and either add to that discussion, or communicate directly with them.  Start with things that add value or ask their advice or input.  Once a relationship has built value, you can invite them to be directly connected.

Other Media to consider

Blogs – It’s amazing how many blogs there are today, and sites like WordPress.com and WordPress, Blogger.com, Tumblr, Textpattern, and Posterous are all free and about as easy to use as a word processor.  Once you have a blog, you’ll need to promote it until it takes off.  Post new blogs in your LinkedIn status updates, in LinkedIn groups (that allow blog links), on your facebook page, on Twitter, in Google+, and everywhere else you can find to get the word out.  Make sure your blog has a place to allow readers to subscribe to future additions, and include icons for sharing on LinkedIn groups, Facebook, twitter, WordPress, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, and any other link your blog host has available.  If you have a website, you should either imbed your blog or make it a very visible link on your home page.  Finally, ask your blog readers to share your blog with friends and associates they believe might be interested.  A good blog with valuable or helpful information can establish your expertise in your field.  Keep a list of your blog topics handy with the URL (internet address) that you can refer others to for answers.

Answer or Ask Questions – You can scan LinkedIn questions to find ones in your field of expertise, or start new ones that will attract attention.  Follow the same guidelines as group discussions to build value before asking for return.  The same goes for other sites like Yahoo Answers or Answers.com.  LinkedIn allows readers to vote on the most influential answers, Yahoo gives you points if your answer is selected as best., and Answers.com identifies the most answers with a ‘top contributor’ title.

Polls – You can start LinkedIn Polls (in the general LinkedIn polls or in specific groups) that will ask intriguing questions that will challenge people to stretch their thinking or beliefs around your expertise.  Use the group discussion guidelines.

Conclusion – If you take time to provide true value without an expected return your expertise will be noted and shared, but obvious self promotion or blatant bragging or selling will backfire.  Include links to your own resources and to other resources in comments and answers that give readers additional value.  Give away free advice that demonstrates your expertise, but never give a half answer with a “buy this” for the rest of the information.  My suggestion for the key to success in God’s Kingdom is “pay it ahead” and you will receive God’s blessings, which includes the monetary success you need to live.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Are You Receiving the Full Benefit from LinkedIn?

It’s easy to sign up for social media sites and only use them for a messaging service, checking out your friends latest photos, and keeping up with what friends are doing.  LinkedIn is different; it was designed for “professional networking”, and can be a great tool for building your trust, credibility, and publicity for your ministry and your career. 

If you aren’t using all LinkedIn’s features and receiving all their benefits, 2012 is a great time to ramp up your results by looking at some other uses that might help you ‘extend your reach into the kingdom’.  Here’s a few to consider:

Complete your LinkedIn profile – Of course your LinkedIn profile will always need frequent updates, but be sure you’ve posted a professional head shot (photos say you are real), your LinkedIn headline is not just your title (this should be a reason others will look at your profile to see who you are), your LinkedIn public profile (URL) has been customized to just your name (so it’s easy to use and looks professional), your summary is both informative and interesting (this might be all others see and will know about you), your current and past experience is included with quantifiable results (what have you done), your education and credentials are included (are you qualified), and you’ve included at least an app or two (Reading list by Amazon, etc.) to show a bit more about yourself.  The bottom line is if someone looks at your profile, will they see all they need to know who you are and why they will want to contact you?

Be an active, professional networker – Your network is important to you, but do you make them feel that way?  It’s easy to get overwhelmed as your network grows so maintaining communications is critical.  Let your contacts know what you’re doing, but don’t just push your services and products, share things that offer real value to them.  Change your LinkedIn Status (several times a week is good) with links to articles that your network will find helpful or interesting.  Scan through your Network Updates (on your LinkedIn Home screen) every day or two.  If you see one of your contacts has changed positions, is involved in something interesting, or posted an interesting link, congratulate them or let them know the link was interesting.

Participate in your groups, and search for new ones that might be helpful – LinkedIn groups are one of the most helpful ways to connect with new, influential, and valuable people in LinkedIn.  Search for and join LinkedIn groups that are focused on your interests.  If you have a “target” contact list, you can join groups they are in (as long as those groups would also be helpful for you).  Once in the group, read through the discussions and look for ones you can add value to.  Those valuable comments are frequently noticed by others in the group, giving you a perfect opportunity to communicate directly with them, and even invite them to join your network.

Get a few recommendations – Recommendations tell readers what others know about you and why to contact you.  Don’t just send out requests to everyone you know.  The best strategy is for you to send 2-3 recommendations to your connections each week.  Many will respond with their recommendation for you.  If you do request recommendations, send some examples of what you’d like them to include, it makes it easier for them to write and you’ll get the results you desire.

Create a “Company” or ministry page – A company page is used to share additional details about your company’s products and services, as well as comments made by clients.  It provides an additional internet location for you and other employees and partners to be found by LinkedIn and other internet searches.

Create a LinkedIn Group – If your ministry might benefit from a continual connection to a specific group of clients, partners, etc. you can create a LinkedIn group.  The group options allow you to approve members and even comments members post, or leave it as an open group that anyone can join or post comments.

Be aware of your competition – Have you researched other ‘competitive’ or ‘partner’ ministries to see how they are using LinkedIn?  It’s always helpful to see what others have done to give you ideas on how to present your ministry and yourself on the internet.

Advertise Events – The events app can be especially helpful for ministries located in a small geographic area or advertising web events for a larger audience.  It also gives you an opportunity to see what events others are hosting or attending to see if they might interest you.

This is only a small list of things that LinkedIn participation can help you ‘extend your reach into the kingdom’ with.  The key is making the time (10-15 minutes a day, or an hour or two a week) to make use of LinkedIn’s features and benefits.  If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to send them to me at BillBenderLinkedIn <@> gmailcom.  That way of presenting an email address keeps the ‘web-bots’ from finding an email address to scam, just put a period or ampersand in place of theand <@> and leave out the spaces.

 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

Why You Should Participate in LinkedIn Groups, and How to Do It !

One of the best ways to make new influential connections, and build credibility and trust at the same time is by participating in LinkedIn group discussions.  Starting or participating in interesting or intriguing discussions gets notice by other group members.  If you take the time to sincerely add insight or value to the conversation it will be not only noticed, but will also demonstrate your expertise on the subject, and could even build trust and increase your credibility.  

Of course that means you can’t just make a casual comment.  Unless you are truly gifted, it will probably take some time to compose the right thoughts or words.  You can’t just respond to the first question or comment, you should really read all the previous responses so your comments aren’t out of context or just repeating others words..  Being aware of previous comments can also give you a stronger platform to build your response on, thus adding to your knowledge and credibility.

You must also find the right group and group discussion so you can add value.  That requires a minimum of reading through the new and current discussion topics in the group digest emails.  When you see something that’s in your field of expertise or interest, you can click on it to go directly to the discussion to see if it’s of interest.

 

Maximizing your Group Time

When you join a LinkedIn group, the default is to send you a “Daily” group digest emails that list all the new and current discussions.  If you have joined lots of LinkedIn groups, the number of group digest emails can be overwhelming unless you set your frequency to weekly.  You can do that by clicking on “Settings” in the top right of the LinkedIn screen, then on “Groups, Companies & Applications” at the bottom right, then on “Set the frequency of group digest emails” just to the right under Groups.  You can then scroll through your groups and select how often you want to receive the group digest emails in each drop down box.  You can select Daily, Weekly, or No Emails.  I’m not sure why you would select No Emails if you have a good reason for joining the group, unless you frequently go into the group to read the new discussions, or you’re going on vacation for several weeks and don’t want the emails to build up.  I choose Daily for my groups, and the one’s I am most inclined to participate in frequently, and Weekly for all the rest.

If you initiate or participate in a discussion, you will automatically receive email updates when someone else adds to the discussion.  That allows you to easily see new additions without having to enter the group to check for new comments, and gives you an opportunity to leave a timely response if desired.

 

NEW – Group Polls

LinkedIn has just announced a new way of participating in groups without the time required for lengthy discussions.  Over the next few days, all LinkedIn Groups will have the ability to have their own “Poll”.  Members can then click on Start a “Discussion” or “Poll”.  If you click on Poll, a drop down box will allow you to enter the topic, and up to 5 choices for answers. 

Creating a Poll can take less time than creating an interesting or intriguing discussion, and answering it will be as easy as clicking on “Like”, and allow those that wish to elaborate further on their choice to easily do so.  This will not only make it quicker to start a quick discussion (in the form of a poll), but it will encourage more participating by making it easier for more members to participate.

 

How to Start a New Group Poll

To start a new poll, enter the group and click on “Poll” just past your photo and Start a “Discussion”.

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When this Linked4Ministry tip was posted, Linked4Ministry had not yet received “Polls” but watch for it in the next few days, and give it a try!

 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Not Customizing your LinkedIn Public Profile URL Can Limit Your Effectiveness

Have you customized your LinkedIn Public Profile?  Did you even know that you had one, or what it is?  If you answered no to either question you have limited the effectiveness of your LinkedIn profile and reduced your online exposure to new connections, partners, and clients.  Not customizing and using your LinkedIn Public Profile is like building a website, giving it an obscure hard to remember name, and not telling anyone what the address is.  No one would ever find your website, right?  Well, maybe some would find it in Google searches, but if you had some odd website address that no one could remember, those that did find it might never come back, or tell others about you.  It’s a plan to fail, but can be easily corrected with a few simple actions.  A customized name that’s easy to use and remember, and will inspire others to click through to your profile to learn more about you and your ministry.  Now, let’s get started.

A LinkedIn Public Profile is your LinkedIn Profile’s URL, or web address.  If you don’t customize it, LinkedIn will assign a default address when you set up your profile.  The default address will include your name, usually with dashes between first, middle, and last, and will have a series of seemingly random numbers, letters, and slashes after it.  If you customize it, it will be easy to remember, easy to use, and look a lot more professional, thus encouraging others to go to your LinkedIn profile.

If I did not customize my LinkedIn Public Profile, it might look something like:

                http://www.linkedin.com/pub/Bill-Bender/18/a32/2be  

After customization, it is now:

                http://www.linkedin.com/in/billbender  

The second address is clearly much easier to remember, and therefore use.  I can use it in emails, business cards, brochures, in books, on CDs & DVDs, on Blogs, and even at the end of a Video to direct readers to find out more about me.  Another subtle advantage of a customized LinkedIn URL is it tells other LinkedIn users that you know your way around LinkedIn!

Here’s how to Customize your LinkedIn Public Profile URL:

  1. Let your mouse hover over “Profile” in the LinkedIn tool bar.
  2. Click on “Edit Profile”.
  3. Click on “Edit” just to the right of your current LinkedIn Public Profile  (See  “Step 3″  illustration below)
  4. Click on “Customize your public profile URL” at the bottom of the “Customize your Public Profile” box on the right side of the page.  (See “Step 4″  illustration below)
  5. Enter your name without spaces, symbols, or special characters.  You can use just an initial for your first and/or middle names but remember, the best address is one that is clearly you, and easy to remember.  (See  “Step 5″  illustration below)
  6. Click on the “Set Custom URL” blue button to complete your customization.

 

 Step 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, a customized LinkedIn URL is all for not if your LinkedIn profile is not complete.  Check out other Linked4Ministry articles, and stay tuned for future tips to learn more about building a great LinkedIn profile.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  

If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and . . . it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

Are You Missing Out on LinkedIn Recommendations?

LinkedIn recommendations should be from someone that actually knows you personally, or that you’ve worked with or ministered to.  The goal of a LinkedIn recommendation is to give those that don’t know you an idea of your expertise, your character, your empathy, etc., and the kind of work or ministry they might expect to receive if they contact you.  The more credible the source, the more value the recommendation will have, and the more informative the recommendation, the better the response will be so it’s important that your recommendations portray exactly what you believe will be helpful in meeting your LinkedIn (and ministry) goals.

The best way to receive LinkedIn recommendations is to send 2-3 recommendations a week to your current connections.  When they receive them, they will be asked if they would like to send you one.  Even if they don’t respond on their own, they will be more likely to send you a recommendation when you ask them at a later date.

How Many and How Often?

How many recommendations you receive doesn’t matter because you can post just the ones that will benefit your current needs, and change them as often as needed.  You should have enough recommendations to tell others what you want them to know about you (so they will be encouraged to call you, use your services, engage your ministry, etc.).

It’s important to have enough recommendations that it doesn’t look like they only came from a few close friends, but not so many that they will be ignored.  A good guideline is 10% of your connections.  Remember, you can select the ones you want to show on your profile, and save others for later use.

What if I Don’t Have Enough Recommendations?

If you are not receiving enough recommendations, it’s time to ask for them.  Remember, requests should be sent to those that actually know you and have worked with you. 

Don’t send out bulk requests, it’s best to have your recommendations spread out over a long period of time, and continually coming in.  This keeps your profile alive, allows your contacts to see you are continually being recommended, and a continuous stream of recommendations is more realistic of a thriving ministry.  That’s why I say to send only 2-3 recommendations a week, and the same goes for the requests for recommendations that you send.

Getting the Recommendations You Need

If you receive a recommendation that doesn’t fit what you are trying to present, don’t hesitate to ask the sender to modify their recommendation.  Perhaps they knew you in a past assignment that doesn’t represent what you are involved in now.  Most people that recommend you want to help you, and will be willing to reword their recommendation, especially if you suggest the wording you would prefer.

Sending Recommendation Requests

When you send a recommendation request, make it easy for them to fulfill your request by suggesting some things they might include.

Begin your request with something like:  “I’m sending this request to ask you for a short recommendation of my work for my LinkedIn profile.  I’d especially appreciate your including some examples of my work (ministry) with you.  To make this as easy as possible, I’ve included a draft that you can use or edit to make it your own.  You might also want to view other’s recommendations that I’ve posted on my profile at http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/billbneder

(Include a short draft of the kind of recommendation you’d like to receive).

Bottom Line

Make sure the recommendations you send, and the suggestions you request others to include in their recommendations of you are honest.

Never send a “Canned” LinkedIn request.  If you just click on “Request Recommendations” tab (under Profile / Recommendations on the menu bar) your message will read:

“I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know.
Thanks in advance for helping me out.”

It’s not that the canned request is wrong, but I’m sure you will agree that it’s impersonal.  If you personalize your request, you can expect a more personal (and helpful) recommendation.  If you give them suggestions, you have a better chance of getting a quick response that includes the details that you want to show.  (The same goes for LinkedIn invitations!)

Conclusion

Any recommendation is NOT necessarily better than NO recommendations!  Good recommendations are a key factor in getting your LinkedIn profile to help you accomplish your goals and they deserve some of your time to achieve great results.  Be proactive in sending great recommendations to your connections, and make sure your connections know when you need recommendations and what kind of recommendations will help you!

 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  

If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Are You Taking Advantage of a LinkedIn Company or Ministry Page?

LinkedIn profiles are for individuals, but occasionally I see ministries create a profile and use their company or ministry name instead of their name, or add their ministry name to their personal name on their profile.  It’s just a matter of understanding what works best and what advantages you might gain by seperate profiles/pages.  This article describes Why and How to set up a separate Company / Ministry Page.

Advantages in a Separate Ministry Page

There are several advantages of creating the LinkedIn profile with your own name, and creating another profile (called a company or ministry page) for your ministry.

  • A LinkedIn search, including Google type internet searches, will work much better if your name is the only thing in the LinkedIn profile name box.
  • If someone searches for your company / ministry, all employees will be easier to find if they have their own personal profile, and a ‘position’ in the company.  Think about this as a company directory.
  • A company / ministry page allows additional listings that you can take advantage of to describe your products and services.
  • A company / ministry page helps others learn about your ministry’s job opportunities and work or ministry culture.
  • A company / ministry page allows followers and clients to recommend your products and services to their connections.
  • Setting up a personal profile and a separate company / ministry page gives you greater flexibility in describing your current and past experience, your education, your recommendations, and your groups.
  • A separate personal profile allows a change in employers or even ministry names without totally rebuilding your profile.

How to Set Up a Ministry Page:

Start by clicking on “Companies” in the LinkedIn tool bar, then click on the “Add a Company” at the top right of the Companies page.  Or click on the following link http://www.linkedin.com/company/add/show

Enter your Company / Ministry Name and your email address at the ministry in the space indicated.  Click in the box that ‘verifies you are an official representative of the company / ministry and have the right to act on behalf of the company in the creation of the page’.

Requirements to Add a Company / Ministry Page:

  • You need to be a current employee or owner of the ministry, and your position should be listed on your profile.
  • You need a company / ministry email address, and it should be one of the confirmed email addresses on your personal LinkedIn profile account.
  • You should associate your personal profile with the company / ministry name by selecting your ministry name when you add or edit your position on your profile.
  • Your company / ministry email domain is unique to the company.

To add a Company Page:

  1. Click Companies near the top of your home page.
  2. Click the Add a Company link in the upper right area of the page.
  3. Enter your company’s official name and your work email address.
  4. Click Continue and enter your company information.

If the work email address you provide is an unconfirmed email address on your LinkedIn account, a message will be sent to that address. Follow the instructions in the message to confirm your email address and then use the instructions above to add the Company Page.

A red error message may appear if you have problems adding a Company / Ministry Page.

Currently, companies without their own distinct email domain (e.g. yourcompany.com) can’t create a Company Page. In this case, you might create a group to promote your company instead.

Your new Company / Ministry will now be included under the “Companies” tab on your LinkedIn menu bar.

Adding Services to your Company / Ministry Page:

Once your Company / Ministry page is done, you will want to add Services and describe them.  This gives your followers and clients the ability of recommending or sharing them with their connections.

  • Start by clicking on the “Services” tab, then click on “Add a product or service” in the “Admin Tools” drop down box at the top right.
  • List each product or service separately, and write a description of each.  You can add a photo by clicking on “Add image” under the Image / Photo box.
  • Follow the list of options to list key features, disclaimers, contact names, promotions, YouTube video URLs, and a separate URL for each product or service if desired.
  • You can also promote your products and services under the “Admin tools” drop down box.

 

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

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