Archive for the ‘Websites’ Category

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

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.

 

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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

 

Does your LinkedIn profile and Facebook page help Your Ministry Credibility?

In most ministries, trust and credibility are important, but easily overlooked in webpages and social media sites.  The following ideas are mostly common sense, but here are a few tips for applying them to social media.

Ministry Focus – What is your ministry focus?  What is your ministry expertise?  If you say “lots of things” or “everything”, you probably don’t have enough focus, and may not have the credibility that others will be looking for. 

In using social media, we must establish our credibility in order to build trust with potential clients that don’t know us.  In today’s internet based world there will always be someone with greater experience or expertise than most of us.  When prospective clients search for us, they will be looking to see if we have the expertise to meet their needs.  A LinkedIn profile certainly has enough space to say a lot, but prospective clients will only spend 20-30 seconds glancing at it before they move on.  If our focus is too broad, we’ll just look like a “jack of all trades, master of none”.  If we pick a few specific things to focus on, we can quickly explain why we should be considered.  First, determine the Key Words our prospects will likely search for, then include those key words in the first paragraph of your LinkedIn Summary, and repeat them in your Specialties and Skills.

Experience and Referrals – Establishing what you’ve accomplished in past tells prospects why they should contact you.  The more descriptive you are the better.  Just saying you were responsible for counseling doesn’t say what kind of counseling you have experience in, or how well you did.  If we were establishing a sales expertise, we’d include what percentage increase we had.  Saying how much a person received in ministry is a bit different, but you can describe what issues you’ve helped address.  In addition, you really should consider adding referrals to your profile.  I understand the reluctance of ministers to ask for praises, but consider what effect a personal testimony adds to evangelism.  A referral tells prospects that don’t know you yet, what they can expect if they contact you.  Referrals can be equally as valuable in promoting churches, they can tell visitors what they might expect when they visit you.

Blogs – Blogs can be a great way of building followers and establishing your trust and credibility.  A blog lets the readers connect with you and feel as if they personally know you.  Including a blog in your website, your LinkedIn profile, your facebook page, and your Twitter account can multiply your exposure, and will hopefully encourage your followers to share your blog with their friends.

Promotion – Just setting up a webpage, a facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, a blog, or a Twitter account will only help you get so far.  Those things are good, but only your current connections and those that specifically search for you will see them.  When you write value added articles (things that others will truly appreciate) to your blog and webpage, post links on other social media sites and in LinkedIn groups that will increase your exposure.  Don’t forget to post your Events in the LinkedIn events application.  Every event you host, sponsor, or involved in should be posted in as many places as you can get them.  Improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your websites, blogs, and social media sites by including links to other websites, blogs, and social media sites in yours, and asking them to reciprocate.

Fulfill Promises – When you promise something, make sure it gets done, and on time.  If you post a comment in your blog that you will add new content every Friday, make sure it always happens (you can pre-post many blogs if you are away).  Always go the extra mile to give others more than they expect, and only promise what you believe is the worst case scenario.  When you exceed their expectations, they will remember, not fulfilling them can destroy your credibility and trust.

Personal Contact – With our online relationships, emails, voice mails, text messages, etc., many of us have forgotten the value of a personal contact.  We can let our connections know what we are up to with a LinkedIn Status change, a facebook post, or a Tweet to be sure we are not forgotten.  An occasional personal email can strengthen an online relationship.

Pay it Ahead and Be Yourself – Our contacts can sense when we are just looking for a return.  If we focus on paying it ahead (doing things that others don’t expect, didn’t ask for, and not expecting a return) we will build followers that will help us when the opportunity presents itself without our having to ask.  This might be the best way to build trust and credibility with those that will never meet us personally.  If we don’t represent someone we are not or cannot be, then we will never disappoint and most likely will never receive anything but good publicity. 

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

Have You Published a Book? Here’s a new way to list it on your LinkedIn Profile!

IRex iLiad ebook reader outdoors in sunlight. ...

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Have you published an article, a research paper, or a book(s)?  Do you have Certifications, Languages, Patents, Publications, or other Skills that you don’t know how to highlight on your LinkedIn profile? 

LinkedIn has just added a new, more visual way, of highlighting these activities and letting your LinkedIn connections and profile viewers know what you’ve done.

I first noticed the new Publications category on the well known business and leadership author, John C. Maxwell’s LinkedIn profile.  The clip on the right is partial of what John’s included on his LinkedIn profile.

Why add your Publications to your LinkedIn Profile?

It could help you sell more publications.  If you are active on LinkedIn, as people view your profile, they will see what you’ve written.  The more your publications are advertised, the more potential sales you will have.  If you are actively increasing your LinkedIn connections, and “extending your reach into the kingdom”, the more potential new customers you will reach.  This involves sending quality invitations, joining and participating in appropriate group discussions, asking and answering questions, and sending and receiving recommendations.

The better your LinkedIn profile exhibits your expertise, the more attractive and interesting your publications will be to those that don’t already know you.  This means your LinkedIn profile must be great.  If your profile includes just the basic information, you should consider adding additional information and applications in every category.  I’ve made some suggestions in my “LinkedIn Quick Start Guide for Ministries” that you can find in the box files of my LinkedIn profile at http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/billbender.

Having publications adds to your credibility.  It certainly matters if the publication is credible, but assuming it is, those familiar with it will gain additional respect for you and your work, possibly recommending it to others.  LinkedIn, facebook, and twitter are great places to talk about your publications, allowing your connections can “Like” or “Share” them with their connections.

It’s all about exposure, and asking your connections to “Like” or “Share” your posts with their connections multiplies your exposure exponentially.

How to begin:

Let your mouse hover over the “Profiles” tab at teh top of your LinkedIn page, then click on “Edit Profiles”.

Just under your “Information Table”, before your Summary, you will see the following line “Are you published? Own a patent? Display it on your profile”

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Click on the   “+ Add sections” button on the right.

This allows you to add multiple sections including; Certifications, Languages, Patents, Publications, Skills, as well as new applications.

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Click on Publications to add the following:

  • Publication Title
  • Publication/Publisher (if appropriate)
  • Publication Date
  • Publication URL – if it’s an e-book, on-line publication, or a web address to order
  • Author –  you will automatically be listed as the Author, and you can add another author
  • Summary: – You can add a summary description to help others know more about the book.

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If you want to add additional publications, just click on the “+ Add a publication” button.

Your Publications will appear on your profile between your Experience listing and Education.

Don’t forget to consider adding appropriate Certifications, Languages, Patents, Publications, & Skills.

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
Anothen Life Ministries

Top 5 Points from “How to Avoid the Great Social Media Crash of 2011”

The bottom line is Social Media is here to stay.  It will surely undergo many changes as technology and users change, and our challenge is to keep up with what’s available, and understand how to utilize the tools made available to us so we can “extend our reach into the kingdom”!

Here are 2 excerpts from a blog (link below) that I found interesting and valuable to us all:

1.  A realistic Social Media “time vs productivity” chart.  This chart shows how our initial excitement can lead us to unrealistic expectations, not only in social media but many things in life.  It also warns us not to get discouraged, that productivity will increase as we learn how to better utilize them:

 

  

 

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2.  Analogies for the Big Five Social Media platforms:
Facebook = Social Event (casual)
LinkedIn = Trade Show (formal)
Twitter = Cocktail Party (energetic; many conversations)
YouTube = Times Square on New Years Eve
MySpace = Woodstock

Here’s the link to read the entire blog: http://linkd.in/9raRYF 

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
Anothen Life Ministries

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