Archive for the ‘facebook’ Category

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

How to Get More Out Of LinkedIn

 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).

 

What do you want?

 

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.

 

In Conclusion

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.

 

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

12 Ways to Promote Your Ministry or Business with a Web Presence

In today’s world, a business or ministry must have a “Web Presence”.  Not necessarily a web site, but a web presence.  A web presence simply means you, your ministry, or business can be found by an online search.  You don’t have to be active on the internet to have a web presence, you might just be listed in an online membership directory, or you might have a website, and a full array of social media profiles.  The best way to be found is to be listed in as many things as possible, and include key words that you want to be identified with.  See What Gets You Found for additional details on key words.

Your web presence certainly includes a website, a LinkedIn profile, a facebook page, and a twitter account.  Those might currently be the “big four”, but there are many other ways you should consider.  Here are a few suggestions:

Website – A website doesn’t have to be expensive, I’ve used Network Solutions and 1&1 for under $150 a year.  Although they can take a while to set up, it’s not much more complicated than using a word processor if you use their templates and backgrounds.  Keep in mind, the most important thing is to make them appealing and compelling (both visually and content) so visitors will stay there to read a bit, before moving on.  If the home page isn’t captivating, I move on in 5-20 seconds.

Blog – A blog can give you great exposure, and keep readers tuned in for more.  A blog can build your online trust, credibility, and reputation, as well as build your brand.  Several to consider are WordPress, BlogSpot, or Blogger.com.  They are free and offer ready to use templates, or you can build your own.  You can have a free standing blog, or incorporate it into your web page as a link or a tab.

Email newsletters – If you already have a big following you might consider an email newsletter.  There are several services that automate them like constant contact for a small fee.  The fee includes maintaining your mailing list and allowing readers to subscribe and unsubscribe without you having to maintain the list.

Video newsletters – With today’s society that loves to ‘watch’ rather than ‘read’, a video newsletter can be very powerful if it’s consistent and professional.  It doesn’t have to be expensive with flip type camcorders that make it easy to post a YouTube video.

LinkedIn profile – I’ve written lots about LinkedIn, but having a detailed profile not only gives you a great reference site, and search ability, it can be used as an additional resource on business cards, emails, and correspondence, by including your LinkedIn Public Profile (your LinkedIn profile’s URL).  Be sure to customize it first, so it will look professional, and be easy for readers to enter.

Business Cards – Everyone needs a professional looking business card with your contact information.  You should give two to everyone you meet (one for them to keep, and one to share).  Check out VistaPrint.com for low cost or free cards if you pay the shipping, or search for “free business cards” to find other options.

Facebook – Facebook isn’t only for reporting what you ate for breakfast, you can build a fan page or business page.  There’s lots written about facebook, and I’ve included several great guides in the “Linked4Ministry” LinkedIn group.  You can also see LinkedIn vs. Facebook Business Pages for additional details.  Just remember to keep your facebook page totally professional, or remember to keep your personal page and contacts separate.

Twitter – A Twitter account can help followers keep up with you, your blog, newsletters, etc.  Twitter doesn’t have to take much time, with one click you can have your LinkedIn Status changes automatically post in your Twitter account.  Twitter done right can greatly add to your exposure.  You need followers, so you will need to invite them to get started, then add a suggestion to “re-tweet” at the end of your posting. 

Referrals – Having your clients and ministry receivers recommend you is huge, but sadly widely ignored in ministry.  Consider it akin to witnessing to someone with your testimony; it adds believability and reliability to your witness and your ministry.

Liking & Sharing – To increase your exposure, you will need help.  Today’s term is ‘going viral’, or spreading your message like a virus spreads.  The easy way is to get your friends and readers to “Like” or “Share” your content with their friends.  See The Reality of Liking and Sharing for additional details.

Business (Ministry) Plan – Have a clear (written) business plan including your target market (watch for future articles on this).

Other Ministries – Look at other websites and social media pages to see what they are doing.  Don’t forget to check out what your competition and companion ministries are doing for additional ideas.  Check out How BackLinks Help for more info.

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

 

What Gets You Noticed (found) in LinkedIn and the Internet?

The answer to this question is easy, it’s “key words”.  A key word is a word that the people you want to be found by might use when searching for you.  It might be your name, but more likely it will be a product or service you can provide.  The key words you choose will be part of your ‘brand’, or what you are trying to be recognized by.  Your business/ministry plan should include those key words, as well as everything you do on the internet, in print, or video.

I’ll use my deliverance and inner healing ministry as an example.  My key words will obviously be deliverance and inner healing, but also might include spiritual warfare, spiritual healing, demonic warfare, demonic oppression, deliverance training, as well as any specific ministries I’m involved in (Restoring the Foundations, Ellel, Elijah House, Cleansing Stream, Freedom in Christ, Theophostic, Sozo, etc).  My key words would also include my own ministry names, including Anothen Life Ministries and Linked4Ministry.

In LinkedIn, there are two places those key words should go.  You will want to include them in your “Summary”, preferably in sentence form so they look nice and make sense, and under your “Specialties” section, listed as a series of words separated by commas, dots, or symbols.  The Specialties section is found at the end of your Summary.  The same key words should be included on your facebook page, the homepage of your website, and any other social media you are using to be found.

Other key words you might consider are the words that your competitors (or complimentary ministries) use, words used in your marketing materials, seminars, and schools, words that describe your personality (Compassion, Kind, etc.), words that describe your ministry (types of counseling like sexual healing, temperament counseling, abuse, etc.,), certifications, skills, languages, courses, honors and awards should also be considered.

The key words you use, and where you place them will determine where you will fall in search results when people search for you.  Having the right key words is critical and something that you should continue to build.  Looking at competitive or complimentary ministries will give you some ideas.  Searching for each of your own key words will give you more ideas.  Looking up your key words in dictionaries and online references will also help.  If your ministry needs to be found, this is something that you simply cannot take lightly.

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

The Reality of “Connections”, “Liking”, and “Sharing” in Social Media . . .

What do we need to consider when we make or accept connections, how we build value for our network, and what should be expected in liking and sharing posts on social media?  The way we handle these things can help assure our success in what we desire to accomplish using social media, so it’s important that we spend a little time in planning how we will handle them.

Your Connections

Most of us understand connection quality vs. quantity.  We should each have a connection strategy, something that outlines who we will invite, and who we will accept invitations from (see my strategy below).  This strategy will be based on who your “target connections” are (the people you want to connect to).  You might want to identify your strategy on your profile to limit unwanted invitations.  If you want to maximize the value of LinkedIn, you will want to have a way of allowing or encouraging desirable invitations, so be sure you allow invitations in your security settings (In LinkedIn, go to “Settings” “Email Preferences” & “Select who can send you Invitations”).  You might also want to include an email address in your Contact Settings or in your Summary (I still recommend a dedicated email address for LinkedIn or even social media in general).  Of course there will be a few exceptions, but hundreds of unknown or unrelated connections don’t help much, and might even discourage people from connecting to you because they can presume you won’t be able to help them as you can’t possibly know all your connections.

My Connection Strategy

My personal LinkedIn connection strategy is to: (1) personally know my connections including family and friends, (2) worked with them in previous jobs, (3) have common ministry goals including deliverance, inner healing, and career coaching, (4) they are members of my LinkedIn groups.  If I receive an invitation, and it includes a personal message of why someone wants to connect, I almost always accept.  If the invitation is not personalized, I take the following steps; (1) look at their profile to see if common values or goals are indicated, (2) look at their groups to see if they indicate common (or conflicting) values, (3) look at their websites and links to see what they tell me about the person, and finally, (4) check out their work, education, recommendations, and the apps they use for additional input.  My connections either contribute or detract from my personal brand, and the value of my network.  I respect and value my connections as valuable resources, and generally will go out of my way to help them if I can.  My connections move from valuable to questionable if I get a message from them days after connecting, asking me to engage in some type of business with them.  Take time to build trust first, and make sure you only offer things that they have indicated they want or need.

Group Connections

Joining Groups is one of LinkedIn’s important benefits if you want to connect to people you do not currently know.  You will want to join groups that have common values and goals, and groups where your “target contacts” will be members.  If you join a group and immediately try t sell them something you will lose any credibility before you begin.  By participating in group discussions with valuable input, you can create your personal value and credibility to those that you want to connect to.  If you started a group, it’s a good idea to let potential members know what any membership qualifications might be.  Be aware joining a LinkedIn group can contribute to your personal brand, so always be cautious that the group profile is consistent with your values and goals, as well as the group’s rules are what you want to accept.

The Value of Your Connections and You

Your network is only as valuable as you make it.  It takes work to build that value.  One of the best ways to add value is by adopting the “pay it ahead” philosophy.  You can do this by sharing valuable and interesting information that you believe they will benefit from, and help them solve problems they might have.  As I mentioned above, that does not include selling your services to a new connections before you get to know them.  To my connections, I do recommend my two groups to those that I feel might benefit, but the groups are strictly voluntary and have no expected monetary return.  I fully intend both groups to be a “pay it ahead” gift, but I do occasionally sense reluctance that there is a catch coming.  There is not a catch, and there never will be in my groups.  Recommend books (keep these to other authors unless directly asked for your publications) and recommend groups that will help them succeed in their business and ministry.  We all have unique experiences, knowledge, and wisdom that can help others.  As a trainer recently told my son, you are a truly unique creation that will never happen again, not sharing your talent and gifts will keep others from ever having the opportunity to receive them and grow in the path that God desires for them.  Those more active on the internet will frequently find valuable articles and web pages that our connections could miss.  Finding a way to share those things should be a continuing goal to build our relationships and the value of our network.  A great way to add value is starting a LinkedIn group that has a focus to help your connections (preferably one that doesn’t already exist), and frequently start and contribute to the discussions.  That was exactly the goal for both my “Linked4Ministry” and “Anothen Life Deliverance and Inner Healing Network” LinkedIn groups.

Expectations of your Connections

What do you expect your friends to do when you write an awesome blog article, update your LinkedIn status, post a photo or story on facebook, or share a link on Twitter?  Should your friends read it, or comment on it?  If they are really friends, do you expect them to “Like”, “Share”, or “Re-Tweet” it?  Living in today’s Entitlement Society certainly gives us some expectations of our social media connections, but are our expectations realistic?  Actually, our connections don’t owe us anything just because they accepted our invitation, or we accepted theirs.  We must earn their respect and trust before we can expect them to help us.  When we consistently “pay it ahead” by contributing things that add real value, we build our credibility, trust, and respect.  Is that enough to get them to “Like” or “Share” our ‘stuff’ to help us reach a larger audience?  If you are connecting on social media to help people without worrying that it will have an ROI (return on investment) then you will most likely be successful.  If your goal is to monetize everything you do, then you won’t garner much support.  Expecting reciprocity on social media is just like life, it doesn’t happen without relationship, and happens frequently for those who ‘pay it ahead’ without regard for personal gain.

Liking and Sharing

When you “Like” an article or posting by a friend or connection, it is generally noted on your home page or status, and it raises the awareness of the posting, giving it additional exposure to your connections.  When you “Share” an article or posting, you can add your own comments (which is actually a recommendation or critique), and your comments will be seen by your connections giving them the added incentive or warning to click on the link or support the cause.  If the posting adds value to your connections, consider liking or sharing it with your connections, but always consider what type social media you are using.  I believe too much liking or sharing by a single individual too close together on LinkedIn degrades the value of my network updates, causing me to be frustrated with having to scroll through too many updates that don’t interest me, and possibly causing delays when I have to click on “more” to see the rest of my network updates that moved off the screen.  Facebook has some of the same issues but is sometimes less offensive because of the ‘social’ slant.  Twitter, on the other hand is all about lots of liking, sharing, and re-tweeting to help the postings gain large amounts of additional exposure.

In LinkedIn, the two extremes of not liking or sharing anything on social media, or liking or sharing so much that it looks like a Twitter stream does not provide value to you or your network.  A proper balance of liking or sharing to highlight things that others will benefit from, or will enjoy, adds value to your network.  When it’s done without expecting anything in return, increases your value, trust, and credibility to your network.  We still shouldn’t expect others to like and share our material just because they are connections.  If we ‘pay it ahead’ and ‘do it without expecting reciprocity’ as a way of life, we work toward gaining other’s support in a natural and easy way.  When and if our connections do reciprocate, and like or share our material, we know we are working in the right direction to building a valuable network that everyone benefits from.

Reciprocity in social media games

A final (and perhaps extreme) lesson in reciprocity on social media, and a good lesson in marketing, comes from the use of social media games like Farmville.  A lot of action in these games is all about reciprocity.  People give you things in these games, and they expect you to return the favor.  Ernst Fehr, an economist, did a study where players are asked to choose between keeping $10, or giving $40 to another player.  The expectation was that if the second player chose to accept the $40, they would split it with the first player, but knowing the second player could just keep the $40, might cause the first player to just keep the $10.  In the study, people were found to be generally trusting, and usually willing to take the chance of giving the second player the $40.  This strategy in marketing Farmville has made it extremely successful, and many players spend a great deal of time playing it.  I’m not sure how we apply the Farmville marketing strategy to ministry, but the strategy of providing value, and providing more than others expect, is always a good marketing plan.

 

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

 

Preventing Someone from Tagging You in Photos and Videos on Facebook

Of course if it’s good, you want everyone to see a photo or video with you in it, especially if it might be a good advertisement for your ministry, business, or service.  How about something that you’d rather not be seen by some people, or even anyone?  Maybe the photo doesn’t flatter you, perhaps it could cast a poor image on what you are trying to present on facebook, or maybe it’s even offensive.

If you would rather not be tagged in a photo or video on Facebook, here’s how to prevent it:

  1. Click on “Account” at the right side of the Facebook menu bar.
  2. Click on “Privacy Settings”
  3. Click on “Customize Settings” at the bottom left of the “Sharing on Facebook” section.
  4. Click on:”Edit Settings” for “Photos and Videos You’re Tagged In” in the “Things Others Share” section
  5. Select who (if any) can see “Photos and Videos I’m Tagged In” from the dropdown choices of: Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends Only, or Customize, where you can further chose “Specific People”, or the “Only Me” which maybe the Best Choice!

The above steps will apply to “all future” photos and videos that you might be tagged in. 

Another approach is to wait to see what you are tagged in, and if you find something that you want to eliminate, you can un-tag yourself from that specific photo or video and remove the specific posting.  The danger there is what you don’t know or quickly see might be seen by others before you can take action.

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 !

LinkedIn vs. Facebook Business (and Ministry) Applications

LinkedIn and Facebook might seem very different, but both are seeking to build their business followings with new applications.

Facebook has over 500 Million users and an estimated value of $50 Billion dollars compared to LinkedIn’s 85 Million users and a value of only $3 billion, but is that all that matters?  Let’s compare some features and benefits of each.  This is not meant to be an all inclusive comparison, just my opinion of how I believe they stack up to our needs today.

Focus, Following & Purpose:

LinkedIn is known for being a professional network, a closed platform, and a trusted place for professionals to network.  Facebook has been more of a social open network that began with college students, and includes a huge base that uses it for everything from sharing photos and messages with friends, following companies and ministries, subscribing to religious and political movements, to playing games for entertainment.  Neither LinkedIn nor facebook have an overt focus on ministries, but that doesn’t mean ministries cannot take advantage of this media to help them ‘extend their reach into the kingdom’.

LinkedIn certainly has a dominant presence with professionals, job seekers, and recruiters that focus on the member’s experience, education, and recommendations.  Facebook has been successful at attracting many corporations, businesses, and ministries, largely because of their tremendous personal/consumer following and has recently launched a career networking site called “BranchOut” http://branchout.com/#st for sharing career data only.  This social media growth opportunity hasn’t gone unnoticed by the news media or LinkedIn.  Both companies are seeking to capture what they believe will be a shift in corporate advertising from traditional media to social media.  Both facebook and LinkedIn offer their own version of advertising that appears on users pages.

Business & Ministry Pages:

To combat facebook’s dominance in business pages, LinkedIn recently announced enhanced company pages that include a business (ministry) overview, employee listing, services available, analytics, and career listings.  The services can be “shared” (similar to “liked” on facebook); users can comment and post recommendations for specific services, as well as see what their connections said.  The analytics give the company an idea of how they compare to similar companies, and for larger companies (i.e. Target http://www.linkedin.com/company/target/statistics , Best Buy, etc.) can show lots of details about employee experience, education, and universities attended, as well as who you might know and how you are connected.  LinkedIn also has a new widget that can be added to a web page allowing a company’s products and services to be recommended without going into LinkedIn.  This is in addition to LinkedIn allowing companies to be “followed” last year, similar to facebook allowing users to see their connections who “like” a page.

With LinkedIn’s base less than 20% of facebook, it’s interesting to compare various companies that have pages on both sites;

  • Proctor & Gamble (P&G) has 13,000 followers on facebook and over 50,000 on LinkedIn,
  • Hewlett Packard (HP) has a little under 200,000 followers on facebook and 180,000 on LinkedIn,
  • Coca-Cola has 18,000 on LinkedIn and almost 21,000,000 on facebook,
  • Apple has less than 100 on facebook and over 75,000 on LinkedIn. 

While Ministries don’t overwhelm either network, facebook seems to be the leader; Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church has 1,100 followers on facebook and 300 on LinkedIn, T. D. Jakes, The Potter’s House has 5 LinkedIn followers and over 150,000 in facebook.  It’s clear that facebook holds the consumer lead, but LinkedIn still dominates the professional numbers.

Personal Profiles:

LinkedIn’s personal profiles still appear more like a professional profile or resume by including experience, education, personal recommendations, connections, websites, twitter, your public profile URL, a summary, interests, groups & affiliations, honors & awards, and contact information.  LinkedIn just added new categories to highlight skills, certifications, and publications raising the bar just a little higher.  The applications on LinkedIn’s personal profile allow you to post your reading lists with recommendations, SlideShare and Google presentations, box files for document sharing, events, blogs, portfolios, and travel planning.  Facebook isn’t letting LinkedIn profiles have the upper hand; they recently have added profile additions that allow you to share your classes & education, work, projects you’ve worked on, interests, activities, your philosophy, religion, and political affiliation.  LinkedIn allows one profile photo and a corporate logo, while facebook allows profile pictures and multiple albums of photos.

LinkedIn’s Groups:

Facebook has 300,000 Business Pages.  As stated earlier, that leads LinkedIn’s Company Pages by a good margin, but LinkedIn’s real strength is in its 800,000 Groups, and they constantly add new options to their already powerful groups.  Until now, LinkedIn groups have been private, allowing only members to participate.  LinkedIn recently announced that groups can become public.  Making the group public or ‘open’ to the web, would allow web search engine to find them, and allows the new LinkedIn widget to share on your profile and the LinkedIn group too from anywhere.  LinkedIn added new moderation tools last year that allow the group managers to screen submissions before they are posted.  That gives the group moderators the ability to eliminate inappropriate material before it’s posted to a group discussion.  One facebook equivalent to a group discussion is under their ‘notes’ tab.  There lots of differences but two of the major ones are LinkedIn group discussions allow more room than the facebook status update boxes, and subscribers can choose between a daily or weekly notifications to new discussions or comments, more overtly encouraging participation.  LinkedIn also allows group leaders to send announcements to all group members at once, and group members can communicate with other members if the members choose that option. 

Companies and ministries that have a facebook page should certainly consider expanding their reach into the kingdom by starting a Public LinkedIn Group, and depending on the strategy, might want a private group too.  In the case of my “Anothen Life Deliverance and Inner Healing Network” LinkedIn Group, the purpose was to allow deliverance ministers of all backgrounds to share articles, teachings, questions, discussions, experiences, and events with each other.  Some of those discussions might not benefit from being open to the public, so it will remain private, but a group to allow the public to ask questions and receive input might also be a good idea.  In the case of my “Linked4Ministry” LinkedIn group, its mission, along with the blog at http://Linked4Ministry.WordPress.com , is to help other Christian ministries use LinkedIn and other social media to “extend their reach into the kingdom”.  Since the blog is public, making the LinkedIn group public wouldn’t add any value so I’ve chosen to keep the LinkedIn group private, at least for now.

Conclusion:

It’s clear these two social media giants have historically had different strategies, features and strengths, but how you can use them to best benefit your company and ministry is a challenge that we all must consider to succeed in the 21st century social media advertising phenomenon.  I clearly don’t have all the answers, in fact I’m not sure I have all the questions, but waiting until you have all the answers will probably mean you will never get started!  The best way to learn is by diving in.  We learn best by making mistakes and correcting them.  When you do everything right you really don’t learn, in fact if no one says anything, can you really be sure it’s right?

As with most things you do, the first step is to develop a strategy (what you want to accomplish), then determine the steps you’ll need to do to accomplish your strategy.  Beginning without a strategy will likely help you learn a lot along the way, but will probably take additional time and effort, and may not help you end up where you want to go.  Linked4Ministry’s goal is to help you plan, give you tips and alternatives, and teach you what we’ve learned to hopefully shorten your learning curve and help you reach your goals in less time, as well as reducing your frustration and effort along the way.

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 !

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