To some people, a photo is a photo and that’s it – even when it’s a profile photo for social media… ‘It’s just a snapshot of you in the moment.’ ‘No-one bothers whether it’s slightly out of focus or off centre.’ ‘It’s just a bit of fun.’ ‘So what if it’s a family photo, people like to see you how you are in everyday life.’ ‘Professionals and business owners don’t take any notice; they’re much too busy for that.’
Do any of these statements resonate with you? If they do, think again. Your profile photo is a reflection of who you are – and it connects you to your business. It’s the modern way to create and convey a first impression to potential clients and other businesses. To take the process lightly is to vastly underestimate the magnitude of using social media as a marketing tool.
When looking through various social media channels, are you interested in reading the text to find out about a person and their business? Or, do you look at the photo first? Would it surprise you to know that LinkedIn profiles are likely to receive 7 times more clicks if there is profile photo? You want to attract potential buyers, don’t you? Which makes it essential to ensure your profile image is a true reflection of who you are and the type of business you represent. It’s also a good idea to share the same profile photo over several sites to demonstrate consistency and credibility. People will begin to connect you to your business more easily, so creating a good first impression matters.
Just because your business is small is no reason to think small. It’s just as important, if not more so, to build your business identity and market online. Even if it’s for your local magazine or local marketing company, shine your light by uploading the best profile photo you have. Make it professional looking. Don’t settle for a photo that ‘will do’ because it’s the only one you have to hand. If necessary take some new photos. Getting a friend to take the photos will help you to look more relaxed. Ask them to help choose the photo too, as they will let you know if it is a true likeness that captures the essence of who you really are.
Getting It Right
Including a family member (even the family dog) in the profile image can be tempting. Yet, if you do this, it isn’t sending a professional message and you may not be taken seriously, whether you’re selling yourself to an employer or selling your brand. Making funny faces, or having a photo with a drink in your hand, is alright if you’re sharing only with friends, but not for professional purposes and a blurred photo just won’t do you or your business justice. If you want be noticed select a decent head and shoulder shot. Smile and show your teeth. Dress appropriately. Don’t wear sunglasses. Make sure the lighting is right; that you’re not in shadow or the sun isn’t glaring your face out of the picture. Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame and that the size is right for your chosen social media site as they often have their own set of requirements.
Social media is an excellent platform for building your business. Uploading a professional looking image that portrays your distinctiveness is a sure fire way of getting recognised across different sites. Be credible. Make your profile photo do you and your business proud.
- Make sure it looks like you!
- Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame
- Dress for your role
- Smile with teeth
- Smile with your eyes
- Make eye contact
- Look someone people would want to do business with
- Make sure the background is not distracting
- Use a selfie (especially not one the mirror)
- Use funky filters on the photo or over saturate the colours
- Use the default social media avatar
- Use a full body pic
- Not be clearly visible
- Wear sunglasses
- Look too serious or intense
- Use non-smiling photos
- Have other people in the photo