Archive for June, 2010

What is LinkedIn, and Why Should I Be Interested?

With over 65 million profiles it seems like everyone must know about LinkedIn, but that’s not necessarily true.

  • Only half of those 65 million are in the United States, so there’s lots of people that aren’t involved, yet!
  • Many people have been invited by a friend, and simply filled out a basic profile so they don’t hurt their friends feelings.  If you really want to help your friends, build your LinkedIn network so you can be an even bigger help to them.
  • Many people don’t know how to utilize the LinkedIn benefits so they just stop with their basic profile and a few connections that invited them.  It’s time to start finding out what the benefits are, and begin using them.  That’s exactly what Linked4Ministry was designed  to do, Keep reading!
  • Many people believe LinkedIn is only for Job Seekers, and because they are currently employed, they don’t want it to seem like they might be looking for another job.  The sad reality is, if those people find themselves unemployed they will struggle to catch up with those who have already developed their LinkedIn network and profile.
  • Some people just don’t want to get involved with any Social Media as it might make them appear less than professional.  Actually, this is probably not provable until you sign up for LinkedIn, build your network, and realize how professional the tool and the other 65,999,999 users really are, and how much they can help you and benefit your goals.

Here’s just a few of the benefits of LinkedIn:

  1. You can manage the information that’s publically available about you as a professional.
  2. You can find new clients, customers, partners, investors, mentors, advisors, subject experts,  and prospective members, and help those searching for new resources find you.
  3. You can learn about your competition, and even join forces with those that might help you.
  4. You can get market, company, and industry intelligence to help you develop your business plans, as well as get help from experts that can guide you into new markets and opportunities.
  5. You can connect with peers and strengthen your relationships and brands.
  6. You can promote your business, ministry or your brand to new markets.
  7. In this non-personal world, LinkedIn helps you build and maintain your network.
  8. You can expand your personal or professional reach into new markets and opportunities.
  9. You can establish your credibility and expertise in existing or new markets
  10. You can establish your credibility and expertise with prospective partners, clients, and employers.
  11. You can quickly learn about new customers, partners, and businesses.
  12. You can create and collaborate on projects, gather data, share files, and solve problems.
  13. You can give and receive references from colleagues and friends, as well as check references from potential customers, suppliers, partners, and ministries.
  14. You can join groups that give you access to experts in almost any field to discuss new ideas or ask questions, and get new insights from like-minded professionals in a private setting.
  15. You can start groups that can be community bulletin boards or specific interest networking groups.
  16. You can search people, companies, and groups that can provide new resources for personal, ministry, or professional growth opportunities.

In short, LinkedIn provides immense value to any professional in business, ministry, those looking for new partnerships, and those looking for new employment opportunities.  With all these benefits, LinkedIn is free for most users, and derives most of their income from a few unobtrusive ads and professional memberships for recruiters that need expanded search resources.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  I trust it is truly helping you expand your reach into the kingdom, and appreciate your referrals to others that it might benefit.

Be Blessed,
Bill Bender – Anothen Life Ministries

Advertisements

Have You Tried Google Alerts? Find out how they can help you!

Have you tried Google Alerts?  Here’s some ideas how they might help you “expand your reach into the kingdom”!

Google Alerts is a free service by Google that provides email updates on the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

You can use Google Alerts to:

  • Keep track of a ministry, a competitor, or an industry
  • Monitor a developing news story
  • Get the latest on topics, companies, or people
  • Keep up with your favorite sports team
  • When you write an article, keep track of who links to it and what they are saying
  • Know who is linking to your blog
  • See what others are saying about your domain name
  • Keep track of what others say about your name, company, ministry, or brand
  • Know who else is using similar brand, ministry, domain, or company names

The alerts can be as specific or diverse as you want them to be.

You can choose to track any of the following:

  • Everything
  • News
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Discussions
  • Rumors are tweets and facebook will be added soon

You can choose to be notified by e-mail as often as you’d like:

  • As it happens
  • Once a day
  • Once a week

If you select once a day or once a week, you can select up to 20 or 50 results included in your e-mail update.  If you search for something popular, you might want to select once a day or week or you will find your inbox filling up fast.

Now, what can you do with your new Google Alerts?  If you issue a press release about your ministry, or an upcoming event you are sponsoring, go to the site and capture the URL (the website address), and send a tweet announcing you’ve been mentioned.  Submit the URL to Digg, Redd It, StumbleUpon, facebook, LinkedIn, and every other social media site you participate in.  Go to a couple of forums and write “Hey, my ministry was just mentioned in a press release at (insert URL)”, and don’t forget to include your LinkedIn Groups.

If you are looking for a job, you will want to set up a Google Alert for your desired job title(s) or target companies.  The alerts will comb through Monster, Careerbuilder, Elance, GoBig, and other sites and condense it down for you in a daily digest of potential jobs.  Don’t forget to include your name in a Google Alert search so you will know when prospective employers do a Google search on your name.  When you search for target companies, you might see a change in who heads up the department you want to work in.  New execs make new hires, that spells opportunity.  You can use the results to put a list of questions you will ask the interviewer, being aware of, and asking about industry or even company issues gives them the impression you are serious about working for them.

Search tips you will want to consider:

  • Quotation Marks “xx” – allows you to search for multiple words.  “Vice President” will only give you results that include both words, without it you can get results for either word alone.
  • Parenthesis – allows you to search for multiple things.  (“Vice President” OR Director) will give you either title.
  • AND / OR – allows you to ‘include’ or ‘exclude’ words or word strings in your search.  Just remember to use all caps.
  • Plus Marks ‘+’ – allows you to include multiple criteria in your search.  “Acme Paper” + (“Vice President” OR Director) + Marketing  will give you the VP or Director of Marketing for Acme Paper.
  • Asterisk ‘*’ – is a wild card.  Use an * if you don’t know the whole name.
  • E-mail address Formats – to get a company’s e-mail address format you could search for *@acmepaper.com and get a list of employees e-mail addresses.  If you target is not in the list, at least you will know the format to try.
  • Page cannot be found – this message usually means someone has deleted the page.  You can click on the small blue word “Cached” next to the URL in the last line of the Google search results.  Google actually records old pages and they are cached in their archives for you to retrieve.
  • Google Show Options – Click on the “More” drop down box in the left hand column to limit your searches to Images, Videos, Maps, News, Shopping, Books, Blogs, Updates, and Discussions.  You can also select specific times and sites with images by clicking on “More Search Tools” at the bottom of the left column.

Get Started by going to http://www.Google.com/alerts

It’s time to try Google Alerts and Google Searches to “expand your reach into the kingdom”.  There’s nothing to lose, and the kingdom to gain!

What Exactly is a Social Media Strategy?

Why start anything without knowing what you want to do, or where you want to go?  That sounds obvious, yet many of us begin our online presence without knowing those things.  That’s OK for a while, but for growth or success to happen you really need to know those things and have a strategy that will get you there.  It’s like having (and using) a map to find your desired driving destination.

So, just what exactly is a social media strategy, and how do you get one?

Begin with knowing what you are after.  That will help you determine what your ‘brand’ should look like.  If you are looking for a job, your brand will be what you can do for a target employer.  What kind of job do you want, where should it be located, and what kind of benefits are required.  If you are promoting a business or a ministry, your ‘brand’ is your ‘unique offering’, or what makes you different or better than the competition.  That will help you determine your target market.  Who do want to attract, or who do you want to notice you?  A church, a business, or even a job seeker might answer with anyone, but that might not be the most efficient or productive strategy.  You want loyal followers, ones that share your interest or need your products.  For a business to have a thousand followers that don’t need your product doesn’t accomplish much, unless of course they would refer their friends to your business.  If a church was noticed by a thousand people of a different belief or denomination, it probably wouldn’t help much.  If a job seeker was known by a thousand people who weren’t ambitious enough to get out and look for a job or even network, they wouldn’t help much.  I use the three analogies of a business, a ministry, and a job seeker to help you understand exactly what a target market might look like to you, and what your ‘brand’ might be. 

Find Your Target Market by Considering:

  • who would be interested in your skills, your product, your services,
  • how often would they would visit, potential objections they might have,
  • where they go to find information (internet, friends, magazines, media, etc.),
  • what influences them (their friends, heroes and idols, websites they enjoy, magazines they read, and TV shows they watch),
  • and finally where they live (can/would they actually take advantage of your services and products?).

Even if your “brand” appeals to almost everyone, the old 80/20 rule still applies.  20% of your followers will generate 80% of your activity or revenue.  So, it’s critical to figure out who that 20% is, and what is your target market!

Now, you need to determine Where to find your target market.  Since this article is about social media, you need to know where your target market might hang out online.  Determine which sites they use frequently and you will have a better chance of being noticed by them. Look for:

  • blogs they read
  • LinkedIn groups they are members of
  • other social media sites like facebook or twitter they use
  • entertainment, or non-work related sites they frequent

If your target market is using your competition, determine why the competition has their attention.  Don’t be a me-too; determine what they are not currently receiving, and what you might offer to meet those needs.  If you are missing some things the competition has, what can you do to add them, or even provide more value?  You want to position your ‘brand’ to stand out from the competition.  If the competition has a better website, how can you improve yours?  See past posts on Linked4Ministry:  https://linked4ministry.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/is-a-website-or-social-media-really-important-to-ministries/ , and https://linked4ministry.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/how-backlinks-help-your-website-traffic-increase/ to understand what makes a good website, and how to use backlinks to draw more interest or find out where your completion gets their backlinks.

Whether you are putting a resume together, building a website, putting a LinkedIn group together, or doing an e-mail newsletter, you need to consider how it looks and what it includes:

  • Is it professional looking, and easy to read? 
  • Does it include key words and magnetic headlines that will attract your target audience?
  • Is the content valuable to your target audience?
  • Does it make your target audience feel like “this is for me”?
  • Is it easy to navigate, and quick to find or retrieve information?

Retention – Will what you are doing cause your target audience to remember your name, qualifications, business, or ministry benefits?  Just getting your social media outlet in the hands of your target audience doesn’t mean they will bite; you must make an offer “they can’t refuse”!  Offer something so great that it’s almost unfair to the competition.  Just make sure the offer is really that good, and you can back up what you tell them.

Existing vs. New – Most businesses and ministries know it’s easier to keep current contacts than to find new ones, so don’t forget the value of your existing friends, clients, and partners.  Send them information you believe they will find interesting and useful.  Tell them about upcoming events (yours and others) they can take advantage of.  In other words, remind them frequently why they like you and find value in your relationship.

Find a Partner – There’s a reason that Jesus sent His disciples out ‘two by two’.  Having a friend or partner to help you on the journey not only can give you encouragement when you need it, they can give you perspective you might not otherwise see, they can give you referrals that can bring in additional help, they can listen and think when you are busy speaking so you don’t miss opportunities.

Could a Web Meeting help you “extend your reach into the kingdom”?

If you have attended a web meeting, you’ve probably already recognized the value.  No travel expenses, no lost travel time, no meeting room arrangements, no room setup, etc.  Could it help you “extend your reach into the kingdom”?  Without knowing the specifics of your ministry, I’m pretty sure the answer is yes.  The drawbacks might include the cost of the service provider and the challenge of learning how to do it effectively, efficiently, and professionally.

Face-to-face meetings used to be the only way to get things done. Now the best way to save money, time and travel is to collaborate over the Web with Dimdim. Push button simplicity lets everyone host or attend live meetings, demos and webinars using just a web browser instantly increasing your productivity. Give presentations, share web pages, whiteboards, voice, video, even record your events – with no software to purchase or install, and with no hassles.

Dimdim is free for small meetings of 20 users or less, and is only $25 per month for unlimited use with many more participants.

Get started by visiting http://www.dimdim.com , or read the product descriptions at http://www.dimdim.com/products/what_is_dimdim.html

%d bloggers like this: