Friday, March 10, 2017

"Can We Afford Not To Be On Linked-In?"

It seems that there are two camps of professionals - those who love social media and the likes of Linked-In (it's actually one word with both a capital "L" and "I" but I like to write it with a hyphen to make it easier for people to recognize and pronounce and to bypass some of the spellcheckers that don't recognize it otherwise) and those who don't.

For any aging in place professional who finds themselves in the position of not having an active Linked-In profile, now is the time to do something about it. Notice the word "active." If it's been a few years since the profile was updated, that needs to change. People can't find us and work with us if the information is from a previous position or the contact information is out-of-date.

Not having a Linked-In profile, and then taking the time necessary to beef it up a little so that it reflects more about what we do that just a basic social media listing of name, rank, and serial number, is a little like having a cell phone but not giving out the number. We have a great tool for having people reach out to us, but we haven't fully enabled them to do so.

We want people to contact us. In fact, we need it, and Linked-In is one of the best ways for other professionals to find us. We will get new business leads from people we meet on our own, from incidental referrals that stem from previously completed work, and from people who know us and the type of work we do. Beyond this, we need strategic partners that can identify us in their marketplace and reach out to us.

Linked-In is a fantastic source for making this happen. Contractors, health care professionals, durable medical equipment companies, designers, real estate sales professionals, insurance agents, and so many other disciplines that partner with us - depending on what our specialty is - can do a search on Linked-In and find us - even when they don't know that they are looking specifically for us or that we exist in their marketplace. Once that happens, a relationship can develop.

Linked-In is not a luxury or something that just works for some people and not others. The fact is that people in business - any business - need to be listed on Linked-In with an active profile. For aging in place professionals, we need to be found by potential strategic partners, by referring professionals, and by potential clients. Additionally, it's free to have a profile. It doesn't get much better than this.

Also, Linked-In is a tremendous source of ORM - "Online Reputation Management." Linked-In has two features - endorsements and testimonials - as well as the descriptive items that can be listed that give people reading our profiles a measure of legitimacy and third-party independence that resonates with people looking to learn more about us or to possibly engage us.

Whenever I meet someone, I look for their profile on Linked-In. I expect there to be one, but often there isn't. Also, let's include a recent photo so people can identify with us. Studio portraits that we sat for years ago aren't really that helpful. If necessary, use a selfie just to include a recent, casual photo. By all means, replace the standard "witness protection photo" silhouette with a real image.

There is real power here. Let's begin to use it and make it work for our businesses.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.