Does this grey and white image look familiar?
At one time or another we have all been guilty of, or know someone that has been guilty of, using a generic profile photo as their LinkedIn profile picture.
If you think that you are using social media strictly for personal enjoyment rather than making business connections, and that you are free to use any profile picture you wish, think again. Even your personal Facebook profile includes business colleagues, your boss and business partners as friends. There are numerous stories of people who posted things on their personal accounts that lead to them being fired or let go. The truth is that in today’s social world you can’t divide business and personal.
If you are like the millions of other users out there on social media, you are trying to get your message out. There is more and more content being created daily and we don’t have time to read every post or tweet. So we tend to be drawn into the content that catches our attention and is created by people we already know, like and trust. Having a relatable and consistent profile image across all platforms is one way that you can help people find your content. So how do you create a strong profile image?
Here are 8 tips to ensure you have the best profile picture:
#1 Headshot vs. Logo
There is always a debate between using a headshot or a logo for your profile. I believe using a headshot is better for small businesses and solopreneurs. People like to do business with people and so having an image of you is one of the best ways to help build trust. Larger corporations can use a nice clear image of their logo as their profile image. Try to avoid using a logo with a lot of text or your slogan in it because it likely won’t show up well on mobile devices and it will be hard to read.
#2 Be Consistent
You want to be consistent with your personal brand. Ensure that your profile is up-to-date, but don’t change your pictures daily, weekly or even monthly. Make the profile pictures on all your social sites as similar as possible. Consistency will help your fans and followers recognize you and your content in the social feed. Having a consistent image across all platforms will help people find you in their feeds even if they aren’t following you yet.
You may have a cool picture of you at the beach with a breathtaking sunset, but think about how that picture will show up when it’s minimized and viewed on a mobile device. Can they clearly see your face? A good rule of thumb for the best profile picture is to have your headshot include your neck, shoulders and a bit more. That’s it! Leave the cool backdrop shot for your cover page, you’ll get a lot more reaction.
#4 Change the “Egg”
If you are currently using a standard profile picture like the “egg” for Twitter or the “silhoutte” for LinkedIn, change it. Even if you don’t have the perfect profile picture yet, anything will be better than the standard profile image for any network.
#5 You Never Know
Think about what picture you are using before you select it because you never know who is looking at your profile. You might think uploading a fun photo from last weekend as your profile picture would be cute but what if a potential client sees that picture of you? Is that the first impression you want them to have?
#6 Keep It Simple
You don’t need to get a fancy head shot or design—a simple picture of you smiling so your customers know it’s you is all you need! To take a good picture all you require is your phone (most phones these days have great cameras), a well-lit area and a background that isn’t too busy.
#7 You and Only You
It’s really tempting to use a photo of your cute dog or your adorable children for your profile picture, but I encourage you not to. It’s important to keep your profile picture only about you. Imagine you are at a conference and someone goes to friend you on Facebook or connect with you on LinkedIn. If you have a common name, chances are there will be multiple people showing up in the search results. If your profile picture isn’t of you it could make it harder for people to connect with you.
#8 Show your Personality
Having a professional profile picture doesn’t mean that you have to have a boring profile image. You can have fun and show your personality in your picture. Check out Josh, President of Artisan Log Homes.
They build custom log homes and so for his profile image he
is wearing a hard hat. If you are a chef or baker, include a picture of you holding a whisk or rolling pin.
What are some of your tips for a great profile image? Do you have a stellar profile image? We’d love to hear your thoughts—leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter and share with us!