Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Strategy’

How Active Must/Should I Be When Using LinkedIn?

AvoidanceObviously, to use LinkedIn effectively, you’ve got to be somewhat active.  The real question is how much is too much, and how little is too little?

The easy answer is it depends on what you are doing.  If you are searching for connections you know, you probably can’t use it too much but if you are posting status updates 8-10 times a day you run the risk of being viewed as a scammer or nuisance to your followers.

 

recommended sealThe Minimum Recommended LinkedIn Daily Dose:

At a minimum, you need to respond to messages and invites every day or two.

LinkedIn messages are much like an email, but sent through the LinkedIn interface to your LinkedIn “inbox for messages”, and LinkedIn invitations are sent to your LinkedIn “inbox for invitations” so you must be logged in to LinkedIn to see them and respond.  LinkedIn helps by sending you an email every time someone sends you a LinkedIn message or an invitation.  The LinkedIn emails have a link to take you to LinkedIn but you must log in to LinkedIn to reply or accept.

A word of caution about accepting ‘any’ LinkedIn invitation – You need a strategy that describes who you want as connections.  If you don’t recognize the person, look at their profile to see who they are by reading their summary, experience, and what groups they have joined.  If their goals and vision doesn’t match yours, you can ignore or reply without accepting and ask them things like what drew them to your profile and why they want to be connected.  Making an informed decision will help keep your network relevant to your own mission in life.

Networking graphic

The Suggested LinkedIn Daily Dose:

In addition to a timely reply to messages and invitations, scanning through your network “Updates” (on your home page) keeps you informed what your connections are up to, and who their new connections are.  You can find new ‘target’ connections from your network’s new connections.  If you don’t know them, or share a group with them, you can ask your connection to ‘introduce’ you.  If you share a group, follow their discussions.  Adding valuable input to discussions will get you noticed (beware, poor input will too).

See what new groups your connections have joined to see if they fit your strategy.  Review the discussions in your own groups (daily for the strategic ones, weekly for others) and comment on at least one or two a week.

See who has viewed your profile.  Not only does it tell you how much of a draw your profile and headline have, you can find people that would be great contacts.

Scan the “People You May Know” at the top right of your LinkedIn home page every time you log in or go back to the home page.  LinkedIn suggests people from similar employers, backgrounds and those that have common connections.  Clicking on the “See more>>” at the bottom of the People You May Know section will help you find people that you can connect with.

 

lots of turns - good luck sign

The Discouraged LinkedIn activities:

What activities would turn you off if your connections participated in them?  Here’s a list of mine:

 

  • Sending LinkedIn ‘canned’ invitations.  Add a personal note to every invitation telling the person how they will know you or why you want to be connected.  It adds credibility to your invitations and increases your chance of acceptance.
  • Posting the exact same discussion in multiple groups on the same day.  If I have my group email update set to daily, it can quickly fill up my inbox.  It tells me the poster might only be looking for attention and does not intend to add value to the group.
  • Posting 8-10 updates in a row.  It’s good to be busy, but if you post lots of updates (including likes, comments, and shares) you will fill up my update screen and all I’ll see is your activity.  While I may like you, I want to see updates from my entire network without waiting for more updates to load.  Posting lots of updates at one time might also tell me you don’t have much to do today.
  • Asking for recommendations from people who don’t really know you.  A valuable LinkedIn recommendation will come from someone that knows you personally or has experienced your ministry or used your services.  If you ask for recommendations from everyone you know in one day, all your recommendations will show dates very close to each other revealing a mass request.  The best way is to send recommendations to 2-3 of your contacts every week, when they receive them, they will be pleasantly surprised and LinkedIn asks them if they would like to recommend you.
  • Posting aggressive, abusive, or insensitive comments in discussions.  Realize that anything you post can be seen and shared with anyone else at any time.  Inappropriate comments have a way of coming back at wrong times.

 

Be kind, be personable, and pay it ahead is a great LinkedIn strategy for success.

 

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

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

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.

 

 Step 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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