Archive for March, 2010

What Should Your LinkedIn Profile include?

It’s time to look at exactly what to enter in your LinkedIn profile.  See the illustration at the bottom for additional details.

Name – LinkedIn wants you to only put your first and last name, with the exception of a title (Dr., Pastor, etc.), and any certifications that are important to your target audience (who you want to notice you).  Do not include your e-mail address or any other information, LinkedIn has actually suspended some listings that severely violated this.

Photo – Be sure to include a picture, it helps others relate to you, and makes your profile warmer.  Having a photo clarifies who you are and says you are a real person.  That’s important in today’s internet environment.  Use a professional looking picture that portrays you well for your occupation, and the way you want to be seen, i.e. don’t include friends or other items like animals or cars unless you’re a Vet or a Car Salesman.  If your age might be a disadvantage, select a photograph wouldn’t disqualify you prematurely.

Headline – The phrases that appear just below your name are more than just your title, it’s your Headline.  It’s the difference between telling people who you are, and what you can do for them.  Use an attention-getting and easily understandable key phrase that will highlight who you are, including your areas of expertise.  Use common or generic job titles and key words that describe you and your expertise so search engines will easily find you.  Use only abbreviations that are commonly understood by everyone.  Abbreviations specific to those in your specific field will limit who will understand what you have listed.  The number of words is limited, so leave out words like “qualified”.  If you are qualified, your profile will show it.

Keep in mind that your Headline is what others will see first on your profile.  They see it when they accept your invitation, they read your discussions and responses, answer your questions and polls, and read your answers to their questions.  Make it so compelling that people will want to read your entire profile.  Give your Headline your full attention, until it does everything you want it to.

Status (what you’re working on) – LinkedIn allows you to include a short status of what you are currently working on.  Use this to keep your network connected to you, and show new events and projects you are involved in.  This statement shows on your profile.  When you update it, it is listed on your 1st level connections homepage.  Updating this at least once a week keeps your network interested in you, and up to date with what you are involved in.  If you have a Twitter account, you can tie the two together.

Current Experience – This section lists your current employment (and volunteer positions), based on the dates of employment.  i.e. an end date of “to present” will be included in current positions.  The most recent three positions show, clicking on “see all” allows all current positions to be displayed.  When you enter the employer, if one is pre-listed use it so you will show up in searches, otherwise you may type in your company/church/ministry name.

Past Experience – This sections lists your past employment (and volunteer positions), based on the dates of employment.  i.e. positions with an “end date” will be included in past positions.  The most recent three positions show, clicking on “see all” allows all past positions to be displayed.  When you enter the employer, if one is pre-listed use it so you will show up in searches, otherwise you may type in your company/church/ministry name.

Education – this section lists your education.  When you enter a state, some schools will appear.  Use the listed schools first so you will show up in a search for those schools, if your school is not listed, you can type in whatever you desire.  Be sure to list all training and certifications if they are important to your target contacts or your ministry.

Recommendations – This item lists the number of Recommendations you received, and have chosen to display on your profile.  More about Recommendations in a future blog.

Connections – This item lists the number of Connections you have in your direct, or 1st level network.  We’ll discuss how to invite additional contacts in a future blog, but be sure to customize any invitations and let your contacts know how they will know you.

Websites – LinkedIn allows you to include 3 websites.  Include all three websites if possible.  Begin with Your Primary Website and include a description that tells users where they will be directed (the website name, etc.).  Personalize the names of the other two websites with descriptive names so searchers will know what they will see, i.e. “my blog”, or even better specifically “my healing blog”, etc.  Click on [Edit] to modify your Websites.

LinkedIn URL / Public Profile – This is your LinkedIn Address (also called URL or WEB Address).  You should begin by personalizing your public profile name instead of using the default URL.  The default is impersonal, looks odd, and is too hard to remember.  Try to use your Name as it appears on your profile, i.e. my profile name is Bill Bender, so I used “www.linkedin.com/in/billbender”.  This is not only easier to remember, it appears more professional, and tells others you know your way around LinkedIn.  Your LinkedIn address should be used on your business/ministry cards, your profiles, and your correspondence, so anyone that receives your card, etc., will have quick access to your profile, including recommendations, groups, etc.  You should always include your LinkedIn public profile name in your Email signatures and other correspondence, and wherever you want people to know more about you.  Click on [Edit} to modify your Public Profile address.

Summary – LinkedIn gives you 2000 characters.  Make the first two paragraphs attention-getting, concise, and compelling.  Include how you can help others, and how others can help you (keep that updated).  Include exactly what kind of ministry you are in, what you will do for others, and why they should contact you.  Include key words you want searches to find you with, i.e. I use LinkedIn, deliverance, inner healing, etc.  You should use as many of the 2000 characters as possible.  Tell a story about yourself that describes your abilities, strengths, and results you’ve reached on various projects.  Just like a resume, descriptive results are more powerful.  Click on [Edit] to enter or modify your Summary.

Your “Specialties” are included under your Summary.  Include key words that you want others to see.  Click on [Edit] Summary to edit or modify your Specialties.

Lead with what you do most frequently and the ministry you are involved in.  Include why others might want to contact you, or why prospects would want to do business with you.

Your Summary should include what your target audience is looking for, so that when they read it, they are left with the feeling that “I need to contact this person”.

That’s enough for now.

As always, I sincerely appreciate you’re following my blog, and hope it is helping you become more familiar with LinkedIn and social media.  If you know others that this would help, please consider sharing it with them.

Blessings,
Bill

LinkedIn Profile Components

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Setting up a LinkedIn Profile

The first step to working with LinkedIn is to build your personal profile.  A simple profile will allow you to get started, but the more you develop your profile with your professional history and education, the better you will appear to prospective contacts, and those who might recommend you.  LinkedIn recommends a minimum of 65 network connections, but the larger you build your network; the more LinkedIn will be of value to you.  There are several strategies in building your network, and who you should seek, or accept, in your network.  For now you should build your network connections from everyone you are personally acquainted, and those that share a common ministry and goals.

The goal in using LinkedIn is to “attract” the right people to see you, and you want to be connected with.  To begin working on that goal, find out what opportunities you or your ministry might help with, and then focus on telling a story that will attract your target audience to you.  The most important thing as you fill out your LinkedIn profile is to determine the questions your target contacts will be asking, and answer those questions clearly in your “Headline”, what you are “Working On”, in the first several paragraphs of your “Summary”, in your “Employment history”, and your “Education”.

First Steps:

Go to:  www.linkedin.com

On the right side, under “Join LinkedIn Today”, fill in the following information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email – You can use your personal e-mail address or a dedicated address, and can add additional addresses later.  Whatever e-mail address you choose, set it up to go to your normal e-mail inbox so you can respond right away.
  • Password

Then Click the “Join Now” button.  (You can change these items later if desired).

The next screen is for your professional profile, and asks you to complete the following:

  • I am currently: a drop down box will let you choose from the following:
    • Employed
    • A Business Owner
    • Looking for Work
    • Working Independently
    • A Student
    • Company: If you are “Employed” or a “Business Owner”, start typing the name and LinkedIn will give you pre-registered company choices, or you can complete typing the name if it’s not on the list.  Use the pre-registered company if possible to improve your search results.  If you are “Looking for Work” or “Working independently”, a drop down box for “industry” will give you choices.  If you are a “Student”, drop down boxes for both Industry and Education give you selections to choose from.
    • Job Title: Use something easily recognized and understood
    • Country:  United States is the default
    • Zip Code: LinkedIn only lists your region like Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida Area

Click the “Continue” button.

When you have completed these sections, LinkedIn sends an e-mail to the e-mail address you used so you can confirm that everything is legitimate.  This avoids people setting up false profiles.

Once you confirm your e-mail address, LinkedIn takes you to a sign in screen where you can search for people you already know on LinkedIn through Yahoo, Windows Live Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, or other.  If anyone is found, LinkedIn gives you the ability to send them an invitation to join your network by clicking on the “Add Connections” button.  Caution, when you invite people, (especially if you don’t know them well), make sure you customize the invitation and tell them how they know you.  You don’t want them to reply with an “I don’t know this person”.  In fact, I even add “If you are not open to connections, please just Archive this invitation” as a safeguard.

Did you know that 80-85% of new jobs are found through networking?  It’s no different in ministry, most ministry and business opportunities are brought to us through our contacts and network so don’t stop with people you know well today.  Invite everyone you know or have ever known, including; current and past co-workers, school mates, fellow church members, pastors, ministry leaders and ministry contacts, etc.  At the very bottom of the LinkedIn profile, under Contact Settings, it gives you an opportunity to tell people what you are interested in.  Under “What advice would you like to give users considering contacting you?” you can tell people specifically who you’d like to be connected with.  You can also add your e-mail address to make it easier for them to connect.  From now on, you’ll want to invite everyone you meet to connect with you on LinkedIn.

In the next posting I’ll give you my suggestions on how to add Experience (jobs & positions), Education, and what to put in your Summary. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff now, just get your profile started, and if you are not already connected with me, send me an invitation, just mention you read my blog and I’ll accept!

Thank you for reading my Linked4Ministry blog, and please share it with others who it might benefit.  Remember, readership and networks are built one person at a time.

Blessings, Bill

How Backlinks help your website traffic increase

Links to your website from other sites are called backlinks. Backlinks are a major way to increase your websites ranking in search engines, (how early Google will list you in search results). Increasing your search engine ranking is called “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO. There are many ways to increase SEO, and it can sometimes be challenging to keep track of your links to know how successful you have been.

The way to find out how many backlinks your website has is to go to Yahoo.com and enter “linkdomain:www.xxx.xxx”, without the quotation marks, and where xxx.xxx is your websites URL or address. An example might be linkdomain:www.AnothenLife.org to find out how many backlinks my deliverance ministry has.

Here’s how you might use it. If you have similar ministries or businesses that have been successful, you might look at their backlinks to see where they are listed. You don’t need to be on every site, just focus on the best known, larger, or more popular sites that have a similar focus to yours. That will cause your ranking to be higher in your specific areas of focus. Your ranking is also increased when the site with the backlink and your site have similar key words. An example of my focus would be sites with “deliverance”, “inner healing”, or “social media for ministry” on the home page of their site. Some sites/directories will add a backlink if you request it, some might charge a fee, or require you to reciprocate by listing their URL on your site.

Give it a try and see how much your website’s hits increase.

Please continue to share this blog with others that it might help.

Blessings,
Bill

What will LinkedIn and Social Media do for Your Ministry?

I admit I used to feel I had no need for social media, and based on my research, I’m pretty sure many ministries feel the same way.  At least they don’t know “WHY” they need social media, or what it will do for them.

The Why Not’s

Let me start by addressing the why not’s.  Some think social media is for the younger crowd, some heard your personal information will be exposed to everyone, some think it’s just a fad, and many don’t have time to learn. 

  • Corporations are flocking to social media so most of the why not’s don’t hold water.  In fact we actually want our information to be exposed to everyone, . . . as long as we expose the right stuff.  That’s probably the number one power of social media, it gets your stuff out there, and lots of people see it.  That’s called advertising! 
  • Social media is evolving into something so big and powerful, that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. 
  • If you have no time to learn, stay tuned, that’s EXACTLY why I began this blog.  Let me share my many hours of learning and experience so you can get results quickly.

Free Advertising!

We all agree we need to advertise, but believe it’s expensive, and hard to get it to the right audience.  Almost all social media is free, or at least very low-cost, and it can help us reach the right people, we just need to identify our target audience.  To get advertising to work, we’ve got to get their interest, and add something of value, something that will keep them coming back.  If we’ve got that, social media can help us expand our reach into many different target markets.

Why LinkedIn?

Let’s look at why LinkedIn is the primary site for promoting a ‘business’, . . . which is what your ‘ministry’ actually is, right?  First of all, it was designed from the ground up as a business networking site.  The first thing we need to address is why network.  It’s no secret that almost all new jobs are found by networking, so we know networking has power.  The most successful pastors and ministers I know are great at networking.  LinkedIn allows you to expand and maintain your network far beyond the reach of most individuals.  LinkedIn has over 60 million users and is reported to be growing by 1 new member every minute. 

What are Groups?

The secret power of LinkedIn is in the groups.  There are groups for almost every interest, and if you don’t find one in your interest, you can start one.  Some groups have thousands of members all over the country, and world.  Christians Professionals has almost 20,000 members and several local groups in major cities.  There are many other Christian groups focused on churches, pastors, and specific ministries, as well as thousands of local groups focused on all kinds of interests in most metropolitan areas in the US. 

No More Maintaining Mailing lists & e-mail lists!

One of the most challenging tasks is for a church or ministry to maintain their mailing list or e-mail list.  By starting your own LinkedIn group, and asking followers to join, they each become responsible for maintaining their own e-mail address changes. 

Benefits of Your Own Ministry Group

Starting your own ministry group allows news and discussions to be sent out to all members at their choice of daily or weekly broadcasts.  Discussions can be open to all members to participate, jobs can be advertised, and events announced.  It’s all free to everyone, and can be as private as you’d like it to be by choosing to allow everyone to join, or keeping it to members only.

What’s Next?

There will be lots more on all these topics later.  Next we’ll talk about the basics of setting up a LinkedIn profile, so stay tuned, and please share this with everyone you think could benefit.

Website Addresses (URLs)

Well, it seems several of my notices announcing my new blog Linked4Ministry contained an error in the blog address.  Sometimes my fingers move too fast, and many times my eyes aren’t sharp enough to catch the extra letters.  Maybe this is a good time to talk about Internet Addresses, called URLs and pronounced “Earls”.  There’s too many varieties to describe them all, and even the suffixes that used to be limited to just .com, now include all kinds of variations and combinations, but what happens when they don’t work?

Because of all the variations, if a URL doesn’t work, looking at the complete address might not tell you why.  My error was easy; I added an extra character after the .com.  When I get an address that doesn’t work, I try to get to the ‘root’ address to see what that gives me.  For instance, one of my social media pages is on a page in my ministry website:  http://www.anothenlife.org/socialmedialinkedin.html .  If that didn’t work, you could delete everything after the .org and see if you can find what you looking for from the navigation or search tools on the home page.

What about when you find something in a Google search and the message comes back “Page not found”?  That usually means someone has removed the page from the internet.  You can usually click the ‘back’ button on your internet explorer and under the Google listing click on “Cached”.  Google actually archives (Caches) older and deleted pages so you can still view them.

Clicking on Similar gives you other search results that have similar key words.  Sometimes helpful, sometimes not so much.  While we’re on the subject, try clicking on “+Web Show Options” button at the top of the search results and you can narrow your search to Images, Videos, News, Blogs, and can narrow the time to Latest, Past 24 hours, Past week, etc.

You can also click on “Advanced Search at the end of the Google search box to search for combinations of All words, Exact wording, One or more words, and even Not words.

I hope these search suggestions help you find the information you are looking for.  Be sure to click on e-mail subscriptions so you know when I’ve added new information, and do please share this blog with others that you believe might benefit.

Here’s the screen shots of the above tips:

Linked4Ministry

A ministry to Christian ministries to help them expand their reach into God’s kingdom by taking advantage of social media and LinkedIn benefits.

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