Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn Settings’

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

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

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

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

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

 

Maximizing your Group Time

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

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

 

NEW – Group Polls

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

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

 

How to Start a New Group Poll

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

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

 

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

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

Not Customizing your LinkedIn Public Profile URL Can Limit Your Effectiveness

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

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

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

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

After customization, it is now:

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

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

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

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

 

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Step 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

Are You Using Your LinkedIn Status to Engage Your Connections?

Did you know LinkedIn currently has two (2) Status Updates available to many people?  One is your “Personal Status” and it’s on your Personal LinkedIn Profile, the second is a “Company Status” for those who have their own company or ministry.  The LinkedIn Status is one of several ways LinkedIn participants can engage their connections and followers.  You could have several purposes for engaging your connections including things like:

1-    Keeping your name in front of your connections

2-    Letting your connections know what you are doing

3-    Adding value to your network by sharing things they may be interested in

4-    Announcing events and new products and services you offer

 

LinkedIn “Personal” Status updates

If you’ve updated your LinkedIn personal profile “Status” recently, it will show up in several places.

When others view your profile, it will be just under your photo/Headline/Location block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you view your Network Updates under “LinkedIn Home”, it will show up as your current update just under the block where you can enter/share a new update, and under the “All Updates” section below.

When your connections view their Network Updates, it will be listed in their “All Updates” section, along with their other connection’s status updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn “Company / Ministry” Status Updates

LinkedIn has recently added Status Updates for Companies (and ministries).  This is a great way to keep your companies followers in touch with what you are doing.  Some ideal purposes might include:

1-    Share company announcements

2-    Advertise new products and services

3-    Announce promotions

4-    Share company news

5-    Announce new employees and their function

6-    Engage directly with your companies followers and possibly their entire network (truly expanding your reach into the kingdom)

Those who follow your company will receive your Company Status Updates directly, as well as showing up in your own status updates

First you will need to set up a Company/Ministry profile.  Begin by letting your mouse hover over “Companies” in the LinkedIn menu bar, and click on “Search Companies”.  Click on “Add a Company” at the top right of that screen and follow the instructions.

Company Status Updates can only be made by company “Administrators” when the Company Page is set to “Designated Admins Only”.  If you are not an “Administrator”, please request access from the relevant person at your company.

Tips to Get You Started

Begin by reading what kinds of things your connections post in their Status Updates by letting your mouse hover over “Home” in the LinkedIn menu bar, and clicking on “LinkedIn Home.  Scroll through your “All Updates” just below the LinkedIn Today news.

For your Personal Status, if you’ve updated it recently, the input box will be at the top of your LinkedIn Home page, or just below your photo on your profile edit page.  Begin by clicking on “Post an Update”.  If you haven’t used it recently (or ever), let your mouse hover over “Profile” in the LinkedIn tool bar, then click on “Edit Profile”.

Your personal and company status updates all begin with your name.  Notice mine in the illustration above begins with “Bill Bender . . . “.  So when you type your update, word it so it will sound right if it begins with your name.

Type your update in the box provided.  It’s always best to spell check anything you are not sure of before you click submit.

If you want to add a link, type or cut and paste it in the space indicated.

You can automatically post an update in your Twitter account by clicking the square beside the blue Twitter bird.  Remember only the first 140 characters of your LinkedIn post will appear in Twitter.

What Else Appears in Status Updates?

Besides the things you type in the update box, other things will show up in your connections “All Updates” on their LinkedIn Home page.  These can include your new connections, when you comment or like someone’s posting, when you post a discussion in a LinkedIn group, articles and links you share, and updates to your profile including employment changes, expertise and skills updates, new groups you join, etc.

What you post depends on what your LinkedIn goals are, but everything you post should properly represent the brand you are trying to build, and add to the trust and credibility you want to have.

How Often to Change Your Status Update

For most goals, depending on what you are doing you will probably want to update your status, and perhaps your company’s status, one or two times a week at a minimum.  As long as the information you share adds value, or is of significant interest, even once a day might be appropriate.  Updating it several times a day every day is usually risky as you will overload your connections with more information than they will want to read and/or scroll through to see their other connection’s updates.  LinkedIn’s status updates are not like Twitter where you might share many things you are doing as you are doing them.  People ‘expect’ Twitter and facebook to have lots of personal info but most users expect LinkedIn to be reserved for ‘professional’ things.

If you haven’t used your Status Update, it’s time to get started.  Done properly, your status updates will engage your connections and followers and you might be pleasantly surprised how many will respond!

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

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

 

Are You Using Your LinkedIn Headline Properly?

Are You Using Your LinkedIn Headline Properly?

Are first impressions important?  Do most people form first impressions for those that they see, meet, or listen to the first time?  Everything I’ve learned indicates that first impressions are important and probably even more important in social media because we can’t see the other person to gauge their reaction to how we look, what we’ve written, or how we write.

We each have our own individual goals that we should have identified and written a plan of what needs to be done to accomplish them.  Regardless of our individual goals, our goal in social media is to get others to pay attention to us, look at our LinkedIn profile, check out our facebook page, or follow us on twitter.  It’s not easy with so much competition for attention on the internet.  Sam Richter just posted some social marketing statistics that began with 3 interesting facts; “20 percent of searches on Google each day have Never been searched for before”, “There are more than 3.5 billion pieces of content shared each week on facebook”, and “53 percent of people on Twitter recommend companies or their products in their tweets”.  If we don’t stand out from the crowd, we cannot achieve our other goals to grow our ministries!

 

LinkedIn headlines are the “First Thing” LinkedIn users see right after your name and photo.

For the most part, LinkedIn headlines are not recognized, not understood, ignored, or not used.  It’s mostly a matter of not being aware of where to input a LinkedIn headline, or what a headline should be.  When you look at a LinkedIn profile, the headline is one of the first things you see, right after the photo and name.

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Your LinkedIn Headline is also seen in other locations like group discussions.  If someone initiates or contributes to a discussion and a viewer wants to see more about the person, letting their mouse hover over the photo will bring up their photo, name and headline.  The goal is for the headline and the posting to encourage viewers to check out your entire profile, including your websites, summary, and recommendations.

 

 

Most Headlines don’t tell the whole story

For most LinkedIn profiles, the headline is the person’s title for their current position.  If you don’t specifically enter your own LinkedIn headline, LinkedIn provides a headline for you based on your most recently entered position.

LinkedIn’s instructions say your own headline will be much more effective than the one they select.

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What should your Headline be?

Your LinkedIn Headline should attract attention, get people to want to know more about you, and tell them what they might expect from you or your ministry.  I’ll use my own ministries as an example.  I’ve tried to highlight two ministries in my headline; (1) Anothen Life, which is a deliverance and inner healing ministry, and (2) Linked4Ministry, which helps other Christian ministries use LinkedIn and other social media. 

Anothen Life – If I used “Creator, Director, etc. of Anothen Life” those that didn’t know what Anothen Life was, would have no idea what I did, and probably not encouraged many to seek out more information.  By using “Anothen Life helps you eliminate things that you thought you had to live with”, I’ve included a hint of what deliverance and inner healing is, what it can do for the viewer, and added in a bit of curiosity to get viewers to investigate more.

Linked4Ministry – Since the name Linked4Ministry doesn’t tell what the ministries are linked for, using “Creator at Linked4Ministry wouldn’t be very informative.  Instead I used part of the Linked4Ministry ‘tagline’ “Linked4Ministry extends your ministries reach”.  I would have preferred to use the full tagline “Linked4Ministry helps Christian Ministries extend their reach into the kingdom”, but the number of characters was limited.

This isn’t an easy choice or a quick decision; it may take some time and trials to get it right.  I changed mine several times before I was satisfied.  Ask others that know your ministry or goals for their input, and give them your thoughts for their feedback.  To get you thinking, consider creating your ministry 20 second “elevator speech” – that is what you might tell someone in an elevator or in a coffee line who asks what your ministry is about.  You want it to be something that describes your ministry, and they will remember after you’ve parted ways.

 

How To Enter, or Change Your LinkedIn Headline

To enter, or change your LinkedIn headline, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Let your mouse hover over “Profile” in the top menu bar.
  2. Click on “Edit Profile”.
  3. Click on the blue word “Edit” just after your name.
  4. Enter your custom headline in the block titled “Professional ‘Headline’”.
  5. Click on “Save Changes” at the bottom.

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Summary:

Don’t waste this important LinkedIn feature by leaving it out or settling for your title.  Using a creative, attention getting, and informative LinkedIn Headline will help you gain attention, get connections, gain trust and credibility, and help you spread the Gospel.

 

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

Who Are You Connected To, and Does It Matter?

Did You View My LinkedIn Profile?

How often do you research who you invite as LinkedIn connections, or accept invitations from?

How often do you research the LinkedIn groups you join, or who you let join your LinkedIn groups?

On-line is all about Credibility, Trust, and Your Brand, and that includes your LinkedIn profile, your photo, your headline, your current and past employment, your status changes, the number of connections you have and who you are connected to, your education, the number of recommendations you have what they say and who made them, your websites, your summary, your specialties, the applications (SlideShare, Reading List, Blogs, Box.net files, Google presentations, etc.), your skills, your publications, your certifications, your interests, your achievements and awards, the groups you have joined, the groups you started, the members of your groups, and your LinkedIn public profile (you should customize it).

The last post was about building your credibility and trust through your facebook page and your LinkedIn profile.  If you have worked (or trying to work) to build your online credibility and trust,  then you need to guard it by being sure “Who” you are connected to, and what Groups you join do not detract from what you’ve built.

Your Brand can be compared to what people remember you by.  When you think of Crest, do you immediately think of toothpaste?  Are your immediate thoughts about Crest good or bad?  How about Tylenol?  Is your immediate thought about a “safe pain reliever”, or about the product recalls they had many years ago.  Tylenol’s parent company immediately reacted to the product tampering years ago, and after recalling their product from store shelves, they proceeded to lead the pharmaceutical and food industry in tamper resistant product packaging.  Their quick actions guarded their brand from what could have been devastating to the brand name.  Now Tylenol is one of the most trusted pain relievers on the market.  Think about the ministries and denominations that have suffered image setbacks, how have they reacted and how did it affect their brand, credibility, and trust.  How about those closely connected to them, have they also lost credibility?  Could who we are connected to hurt our brand?  I think the answer for most of us is, it depends on who we are, what our brand is, how much credibility and trust our reputation has gained, and who we are talking about being connected to.  For most of us, the wrong connections have the potential to influence our brand, our credibility, and our trust.

The bottom line is we should be more concerned with what God has called us to do in the kingdom and what He thinks about us, than what others think about us.  If he has called us to witness to drug addicts, then we will probably be connected to them.  If he has called us to spread the Gospel to the unsaved, then we will be connected to them.  But if He has called us to be Light and Salt, then we must avoid those with the opposite mission, or those that will detract from our calling.

I personally want to be able to talk about and teach spiritual warfare principals without worrying who I might offend, so when I am invited to connect to someone I check out their profile.  I check to see that our theology is compatible.  If the Holy Spirit prompts me to “consider” connecting to someone who I think might have a different theology, I ask their permission to accept their invitation “knowing that I have some views that they might find offensive”.  Most have been unaware they have ‘portrayed’ a different image or brand than they want to have.  Several have used words like “holistic, spiritual wisdom, spiritualism, unity, etc., that raise a red flag.  I first ask for clarification of their beliefs, and then make a decision on connecting based on what the Holy Spirit directs.  I also look at what groups potential connections are members of.  I don’t worry much about the industry or networking groups, but look for Christian groups to give me an idea of their theology and involvement.  I also look for obvious cult focused groups like masonic or freemasons groups, mormon’s, latter day saints (LDS), or any obvious occult names.  I rarely receive invitations from potential connections with those group memberships, but I do look before accepting invitations.

I also believe the groups I am members of tell a lot about me, so I am careful to join groups that represent my brand, and that I have a personal interest in.  I not only read the group profile and rules, but I think the group owner and managers have a strong influence on the group, so I check them out before joining.

I also check out every group request to join “Linked4Ministry” and the “Anothen Life Deliverance and Inner Healing Network” LinkedIn groups that I started.  I look to see who the person is, and whether they are appropriate members for the group.  It’s really my choice, but I try to follow what I’ve put in the group rules.  Both are Christian only groups and I don’t tolerate offensive or opposing views to protect the other members.  By filtering who joins, I feel I can allow members to participate without my having to approve their postings and discussions before they show up.  I have also chosen to allow “promotions” of products and events (under the promotions tab) that fit the group’s focus.  I do not allow discussions or promotions that promote multi-level marketing or get-rich-quick schemes, and do not hesitate to change the status of a member to require moderation or block them from participating, or even delete any member that detracts from the group or doesn’t follow the rules.

After doing all those things to safeguard my brand, my credibility, and my trust, I also try to participate in group discussions that I can add value to, and that will help build my brand.  If the discussions get too far out of bounds or end up being just an argument, I stop following them.

Here’s a LinkedIn punch list for things to remember:

  • For Invitations you receive – look at their profile, including groups and websites.
  • For invitations you send – look at their profile, including groups and websites.
  • For groups you join – look at the group profile, rules, and owner & manager’s profiles.
  • For the groups you start – clarify the group profile and the group rules, and look at the profile of those requesting to join.

Here’s a list of helpful LinkedIn instructions:

  • How to View Your Profile – let your mouse hover over “Profile” on the LinkedIn menu bar, and click on “View Profile”
  • How to Edit Your Profile – let your mouse hover over “Profile” on the LinkedIn menu bar, and click on “Edit Profile”.
  • How to View the Profile of a LinkedIn Invitation – Click on “Inbox”, click on “Invitations”, and click on the person’s name.
  • How to Ask a Question before Accepting an Invitation – Let your mouse hover over the blue “Accept” button and Click on the “Send a Message” drop down to the right of the Accept button.
  • How to View a Group Profile before you Join – Click on “More..” in the group menu bar, click on “Group Profile”.
  • How to View the Group Owner or Manager’s Profile – Click on “More..” in the group menu bar, click on “Group Profile”, Click on the Owner or Manager’s blue name on the right side.
  • How to View the Profile of a Request to Join a Group You Started – Let your mouse hover over “Groups” in the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “Your Groups”, click on any “Green Circles with a number inside”, Click on the request’s name.
  • How to “Un-Connect” from a LinkedIn Connection – Let your mouse hover over “Connections” on the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “My Connections”, Click on the “Remove Connection” tab at the top right, select the connections you wish to remove, and click on “Remove Connections”,
  • How to see who’s viewed your profile – Let your mouse hover over “Home” on the LinkedIn menu bar, Click on “LinkedIn Home”, on the right side of the screen, under “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”, Click on the “Your profile has been viewed by x people in the past x days”, then Click on the names in blue.  Note, what you see is based on what those viewing your profile have chosen to tell you; only the “number” of people you see is based on whether you have a paid or free LinkedIn account.

In Summary

What our LinkedIn profile represents, who we are connected to, what we say, and almost everything we do is being watched and can represent a brand or image that we didn’t want to portray.  Well intended messages, connections, and group connections might not be received or interpreted the way we intended.  An extra measure of caution and always seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance will keep us on the path that God intends so we can accomplish His will in our lives.

 

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

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

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