Posts Tagged ‘networking’

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

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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

Are You Receiving the Full Benefit from LinkedIn?

It’s easy to sign up for social media sites and only use them for a messaging service, checking out your friends latest photos, and keeping up with what friends are doing.  LinkedIn is different; it was designed for “professional networking”, and can be a great tool for building your trust, credibility, and publicity for your ministry and your career. 

If you aren’t using all LinkedIn’s features and receiving all their benefits, 2012 is a great time to ramp up your results by looking at some other uses that might help you ‘extend your reach into the kingdom’.  Here’s a few to consider:

Complete your LinkedIn profile – Of course your LinkedIn profile will always need frequent updates, but be sure you’ve posted a professional head shot (photos say you are real), your LinkedIn headline is not just your title (this should be a reason others will look at your profile to see who you are), your LinkedIn public profile (URL) has been customized to just your name (so it’s easy to use and looks professional), your summary is both informative and interesting (this might be all others see and will know about you), your current and past experience is included with quantifiable results (what have you done), your education and credentials are included (are you qualified), and you’ve included at least an app or two (Reading list by Amazon, etc.) to show a bit more about yourself.  The bottom line is if someone looks at your profile, will they see all they need to know who you are and why they will want to contact you?

Be an active, professional networker – Your network is important to you, but do you make them feel that way?  It’s easy to get overwhelmed as your network grows so maintaining communications is critical.  Let your contacts know what you’re doing, but don’t just push your services and products, share things that offer real value to them.  Change your LinkedIn Status (several times a week is good) with links to articles that your network will find helpful or interesting.  Scan through your Network Updates (on your LinkedIn Home screen) every day or two.  If you see one of your contacts has changed positions, is involved in something interesting, or posted an interesting link, congratulate them or let them know the link was interesting.

Participate in your groups, and search for new ones that might be helpful – LinkedIn groups are one of the most helpful ways to connect with new, influential, and valuable people in LinkedIn.  Search for and join LinkedIn groups that are focused on your interests.  If you have a “target” contact list, you can join groups they are in (as long as those groups would also be helpful for you).  Once in the group, read through the discussions and look for ones you can add value to.  Those valuable comments are frequently noticed by others in the group, giving you a perfect opportunity to communicate directly with them, and even invite them to join your network.

Get a few recommendations – Recommendations tell readers what others know about you and why to contact you.  Don’t just send out requests to everyone you know.  The best strategy is for you to send 2-3 recommendations to your connections each week.  Many will respond with their recommendation for you.  If you do request recommendations, send some examples of what you’d like them to include, it makes it easier for them to write and you’ll get the results you desire.

Create a “Company” or ministry page – A company page is used to share additional details about your company’s products and services, as well as comments made by clients.  It provides an additional internet location for you and other employees and partners to be found by LinkedIn and other internet searches.

Create a LinkedIn Group – If your ministry might benefit from a continual connection to a specific group of clients, partners, etc. you can create a LinkedIn group.  The group options allow you to approve members and even comments members post, or leave it as an open group that anyone can join or post comments.

Be aware of your competition – Have you researched other ‘competitive’ or ‘partner’ ministries to see how they are using LinkedIn?  It’s always helpful to see what others have done to give you ideas on how to present your ministry and yourself on the internet.

Advertise Events – The events app can be especially helpful for ministries located in a small geographic area or advertising web events for a larger audience.  It also gives you an opportunity to see what events others are hosting or attending to see if they might interest you.

This is only a small list of things that LinkedIn participation can help you ‘extend your reach into the kingdom’ with.  The key is making the time (10-15 minutes a day, or an hour or two a week) to make use of LinkedIn’s features and benefits.  If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to send them to me at BillBenderLinkedIn <@> gmailcom.  That way of presenting an email address keeps the ‘web-bots’ from finding an email address to scam, just put a period or ampersand in place of theand <@> and leave out the spaces.

 

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 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

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

 

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