It’s fast approaching 2016 and if you have had the same LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook profile picture for the last year, you may find this post very useful. The basic principle of a profile picture is to identify yourself and make it easier for other people to find you. Secondly, it’s a square box that allows you to express a little bit about yourself and help other people build the right first impression of you.
Whether you’re a sole trader, a managing director, a photographer or creative, your profile picture is the first thing people look at when they’re contacting you, reading your online CV or wanting to connect with you. Over the last few years I have captured profile pictures for businesses and individuals, the locations may differ, but every portrait I capture, the final image shows a little bit of their personality. Your profile image should genuinely reflect who you are, whether that’s through facial expression, the location & background or the clothes you are wearing.
Continuing that contact and connection you have created during networking, business meetings or socialising is usually created on social media platforms and blogs, so an easily recognisable profile image is very useful. Remember first impressions really do count and people like to do business and communicate with someone they can trust, so having that welcoming & friendly profile picture is building that trust up from the start.
Using a dated image of yourself or even worse, no profile picture at all, instantly turns people away from your page and profile. Having a fresh and professional image of yourself is a must for anyone in business. Here's a few benefits of a professional profile picture:
1 Make 'you' searchable: People search the web and social media through names and image, so that person you met during a networking event or someone you have done work for before will find the task of finding you online a whole lot easier if they can spot your profile picture.
2 Cross Platform: I talk a lot about your digital footprint when it comes to business and your online activities. If you have a fantastic new image of yourself that you've uploaded to Linkedin then don't let your other platforms suffer. Keeping your profile pictures consistent across social networks helps you to connect more with people and strengthens your identity online. Tip: if you would prefer to keep your personal Facebook profile separate, don't use the same profile picture.
3 Personal & Approachable: I can guarantee as soon as you upload a new professional, friendly and clean profile picture your contacts will grow. The internet can be an untrusting place, so letting your online community and contacts know a little bit about you and associating that information with your profile picture will feel like they are already getting to know you.
4 Don't Assume Formal: You will have all seen those profile pictures captured against a white background, head and shoulders crop and a very formal office attire. Yes, for some businesses this may be a requirement, but consider a less formal approach to your profile pictures. Think about the environment or location you want to feature in the background and what the clothing you're wearing says about your personality.
Hiring a professional photographer to capture some informal portraits of you on location, be it your working environment, city centre or your local park will provide you with a collection of portraits that showcase a little bit more about your personality and approach. Research how other successful people are showcasing themselves online and ask advice from a professional photographer, they will be more than happy to give you some tips.
Did changing your profile picture generate more connections? Have you got any expert tips for capturing the perfect profile shot?