Friday, January 15, 2016

"How's That Profile Picture Working For You?"

Gone are the days when we would schedule time in a photo studio and have a "sitting" with the photographer to take a series of formal poses that supposedly made us look natural. Then they were airbrushed to take out any small facial blemishes and make our teeth look good. Fine for displaying but hardly what we need for today's business.

With today's digital photography available to everyone in the form of their cell phone, photography does not need to expensive, formal, or any big deal. That doesn't mean it can sloppy. It does mean that it can be updated so easiily. If it's been more than a year since the picture you display on your website or online profiles, it's time for a new one - even if it's the same pose.

Here's the real point. When you call on a potential client, they need to immediately recognize you from a photo they have seen online. It shouldn't be one from college or twenty years ago - as good as that photo may have been. We all change over time - age, hair styles, glasses. If we were having coffee in a restaaurant and we had not met previously, would we immediately recognize each other from our profile photos?

In the type of business that we have - aging-in-place solutions - where we are entering people's homes and performing work there, they are right to be a little bit suspicoious of people that they don't know coming into their homes. Why complicate it by using an outddated photo that doesn't even look like we do right now?

Also, make sure it's just a picture of you - not you and your dog, you and your spouse, you and a friend, your truck, your car, your motorcycle, or anything other than a fairly close-up head and shoulders shot of you. It's OK to take it in a comfortable surrounding, but a full-length shot at the beach is not likely to be clear enough (or possibly even appropriate enough) for a potential client to immediately recognize you when you meet.

If you don't use any profile picture at all - just the nondescript "witness protection photo" that is the default on social media profiles - adding one needs to be a top priority. if you don't like having your picture taken, get over it - at least for this type of use.

You must show people online who they are going to be working with so they will immediatley recognioze you when you meet. Have a firend or family member take one for you. Take a selfie. Just take a recent photo and use the one you  like the best. You can always change it next week if you want.

A profile photo is part of your marketing package. It helps establish trust with people you are meeting. Make sure you look approachable and come across as someone interested in working with them. Don't look too serious.


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Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.