If a picture really is worth 1,000 words, what are you saying with your social media profile picture? Let’s be honest. When you meet a person for the first time – whether they’re pitching you, you consider them a potential customer or someone you should add to your network – you’ll take the next free opportunity to find them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+, if you even use Google+, or any other social networks to which you subscribe. And it cuts both ways. like it or not. Would-be customers are looking at YOU, too. Even if you have business and personal accounts for social networking, your online reputation will be graded on both fronts. True, it may not be fair to just the proverbial book by its cover, but with our ever-shortening attention spans you have even less time to make a good first impression.
Many businesses and individuals will angst over each line of copy, make edit after edit, or seek paid professionals (like us!) to choose just the right words for that eye-catching resume, or to convince a visitor to make a click-through, and convert a click-though into a client. But pictures? Sorry, but that self-portrait you snapped in the airport men’s room ain’t gonna cut it. And the one you cropped from that beach trip with your ex? Nope. Even if your hair was perfect.
No, you don’t have to use a straight-laced, buttoned-down, tight-lipped mug shot just because a potential client, future employer, etc., might see it. Your profile picture can – and should – reflect your personality. Sure, no one wants to see their mortician yukking it up, but we can all understand and appreciate that everyone (hopefully) has a life, fun, and friends – even virtual ones – they want to share it with. And no, you don’t have to stifle your creativity for the sake of making a sale. But if reputation management is a concern, consider who might see or read what you put out there on the Interwebs. A good rule of thumb: what would your mom say about it?
Here are some thoughts to put into it before posing for – and posting – the perfect profile picture!
- Who will see this picture anyway? Is this strictly for business use?
- What kind of impression am I trying to make? Remember: you’re representing your brand, even if that brand is you!
- Should I smile? Hey, this ain’t the DMV you’re posing for. Show a little personality!
- Should I dress up, or will “business casual” cut it? Consider what you’d wear when meeting a new client.
- What should be in the background? You don’t need American flags like a politician, but consider what will add depth or texture to your photo. Is it applicable to your brand or business?
- Can I shoot this myself? Maybe, but you’ll increase your odds of getting something better if you have someone else shoot it for you.
- Consider the camera angle. Don’t look down your nose, and no one wants to look up yours, either.
- How about lighting? Environmental, indoor or outdoor lighting? Bright lights create harsh shadows, so be careful here.
- Ready for your close-up? Don’t try and crop a wide shot or the picture quality will suffer when enlarged. Get a nice, close shot the first time.
- Still need a little touch-up? There are any number of simple editing programs that can enhance your picture. Don’t go crazy with the Photoshop, though. You want to make sure the final product really does look like you!
We know your character and enthusiasm are what really make you stand out from the crowd, and no perfect profile picture will take the place of that one-on-one meeting. So don’t let this little detail be a turn-off for potential contacts. Turn your profile picture into a calling card that really reflects who you are, what you do and what you’re all about!
How about your profile picture? Does it reflect your brand or your business the way you really want it to?
well-run media + marketing, llc provides strategy, consult and content for branding, social media marketing, and more! Contact us for a review of your current work, and let us show you how we can leverage details like these to better represent you and your brand.