Here’s why you need to market yourself online as a caregiver — and how to successfully do it
Being a caregiver in the digital age means staying on top of new online resources and coming up with innovative ways to market yourself to potential clients and families, including building and maintaining your very own digital footprint. There are more than 1.2 million child care workers in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that doesn't include other types of caregivers. Having the right tools in your marketing toolbox — and knowing how to use them — can help you stand out from the rest and land the job you want.
From building a social media presence online to creating, here’s what you need to know to build your brand as a professional caregiver.
Do the minimum: Make sure your social media accounts are professional — or private
Lindsey Thompson, a marketing and personal branding expert who runs the site Lemonhearted.com, and Ry Brunet, a nanny with more than 10 years of experience in Portland, Oregon, agree that your personal and professional lives should be separate entities.
This is especially crucial when marketing yourself as a caregiver. Your website, online profile and social media accounts should be polished and complete with your experience and skills that show you are a well-rounded and qualified candidate for any job.
“When marketing yourself online, I think it’s really important to have a cohesive brand and to keep in mind that everything you put out there on social media is visible to everybody [if you don’t have the right privacy settings,” says Brunet. “It’s also super important to be prompt and professional in your interactions with potential clients.”
Thompson says to beware of mixing too much of your personal life and information with your business persona. Remember your audience. Keep the photos and content on your website professional. If you have to think twice about it, you probably should not be posting it. If you want to post personal stuff for your friends and family on social media, set your account to be private. You can then consider creating a public business profile so that clients can leave reviews and ratings for other potential families to evaluate you as a caregiver.
“There is a balance to building trust, and it’s not wise or always professional to overshare things that your audience does not benefit from or care about,” she says.
Just because you have a website and an online presence, you should not assume that people know who you are, advises Thompson. To market yourself means extending your reach and finding new potential customers, even in your local area, who may not know your service or brand exists.
“A job that requires high levels of security, trust and responsibility shouldn't be taken lightly, and your digital presence should reflect that you understand that,” says Thompson. “Your digital presence in many ways can act as an extension of your professional resume. Treat everything you post and create as if it were a part of your portfolio of work so your integrity speaks for itself.”
Stretch yourself: Polish your online job profiles
Creating a profile for yourself on job sites like LinkedIn or Care.com can also extend your digital reach to potential clients. List your professional skills and experience here, as well as your website. Linking to these pages on your actual website only further strengthens your online identity and may help future families feel comfortable booking you, Thompson says.
Here are a few additional tips to keeping your professional profile and website updated.
Make sure to complete each section with accurate information. Include all relevant work history. Add a few sentences or several bullet points under each job experience that explain what your key responsibilities were, as well as any accomplishments. If you spent several years as a babysitter or family caregiver, this counts toward your overall experience even if you didn’t have the specific title of “nanny” or "senior caregiver."
Have a high-quality profile photo or headshot. Your website should include a high-quality headshot of yourself. Caregiving is a very personal profession, and potential clients want to see who they might be inviting into their homes. The headshot can be featured on your Contact or About page, as well as the main page of your website, so that clients can immediately see who you are. If you plan to feature any other photography on your website, make sure those photos are high-quality and tasteful, so people know you take your job seriously.
Include your relevant skills. You likely will have several areas of expertise, such as newborn care, meal planning, homework help for elementary age students and other specific skills. Potential families may be looking for someone with a special skill, class or certification. Listing out your talents, qualifications and abilities could be the deciding factor between you and someone else who does not have your same skill set.
List your contact information. Include a cell phone number or email address where you can quickly be reached. Sites like LinkedIn and Care.com will not display your personal contact information online, but they will allow potential families to reach you at your preferred contact method.
Ask for recommendations. Job profile sites have a spot where others can recommend you. If you’ve worked for a family before, ask one of the parents to leave a public review on your profile for prospective families to read. Just as you might look up restaurant reviews and base your decision on them, some families may do the same when looking for a caregiver. A good review can be the deciding factor, Thompson says.
Check for typos. As with anything online, give your profile a second look and ask a friend to review it for you. Be on the lookout for spelling and grammatical errors or any other information that may be incorrect or outdated.
Go the extra mile: Create your own website
Thompson recommends creating a website using a basic template from sites like WordPress, Squarespace and Wix. These sites allow you to build a website without having any specific digital skills. Take a look at the following free-to-build platforms to see which one is right for you:
- Free to build/use
- $5-$25/month for plans to connect to domain
- Free to build/use
- $25/month, billed annually, for business plan
- Free to build/use
- Plans range from $8-$25/month
- $4/month to connect to domain
- Free to build
- Business plans start at $9.99/month (billed annually) + one month free trial
An additional option is Squarespace, which is not free to build like those listed above, but offers a business plan at $18 per month annually, or $26 for month-to-month.
“When you have a website, you have a piece of digital real estate you control and can manipulate in any way you find necessary to market yourself,” says Thompson. “Make sure to buy the domain of your business name even if you aren't ready to build a site so you have it. Once you've built it, driving traffic to that website is key, and that is where having additional platforms like social media accounts can be beneficial.”
Brunet says she built her own website in April, and since then, she has received more than 20 job offers from families. Brunet's website houses her resume, services offered, rates, as well as recommendations from clients and a way to contact her.
“Having my own website was the easiest way to have all my credentials in one place,” she says. “My website demonstrates that I’m a serious career nanny, as opposed to a caregiver who is working on an occasional or more casual basis. I hope that by having a professional website, families can tell that I’m really passionate about my career and that I’m always willing to go the extra mile.”
Thompson says a website can be the determining factor between landing the job or not.
“Even when someone gets a recommendation through word of mouth, they cross-reference that information with what they can find online,” she says. “You have to have a presence in multiple places so you are capturing people throughout the different mediums they use to search.”
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