We all know that a pictures speak a thousand words and that you can get a good understanding about a person from the style of profile image they use. We all make an instant judgement about a person based on what we see, whether we are meeting them in a room or looking at their profile online. I certainly made instant decisions about a suitable date based on their profile pic. 5 years of online dating back in the 00s really honed my skills. After many failed first dates what I learned was that I needed to trust my instincts.
You can damage your reputation by using the wrong photo. Your chosen image shows a lot about you and your business. If you are a sole trader, you are your business: so show yourself off at your best; show your passion and show how much you love your business.
I have been searching around social media platforms looking at what people are using as a business profile pic and I have found some horrors.
It only takes a few seconds and a handful of poorly chosen pixels to really damage your career and business ambitions.
Here are my DOs and DON’Ts:
Do not use a photo of you doing your sporting hobby as your profile pic. Unless, of course, your business is about sport.
Do not show a lot of flesh. You are in a business environment. It is not appropriate. On your personal Facebook page – fine but not on a business platform. The same applies to showing of your spouse, your children, your pets, your car, your house or your motorbike.
No selfies are allowed. No duckface. And definitely no selfies in the mirror. The dating profiles with a bathroom mirror selfie were the first to be discarded. What they said to me was this person doesn’t even have a friend who is willing to take a nice photo of him!
And this image …
It is so awful and so wrong on so many levels I do not even know where to start.
Avoid full body shots – head and shoulders is fine – remember how big the space your image is going sit in and think about what devices people are looking at it on. Most of the time the image is going to be quite small. So we need to see your lovely face.
Remember it is about YOU and not about where you so be smart about your background. Try not to have a tree or a lamppost growing out of your head.
Look the part – dress according to your profession. But be yourself and be authentic.
Healthy looking is more important than looking smart.
Happy faces come across as more trustworthy.
Appear approachable. Lean towards the camera. This really works – and here’s why: when we first meet someone we lean across and shake hands and introduce ourselves – so leaning in looks approachable. But please, do not overdo it.
If your image looks pixelated do not use it. Try again. Get closer.
How can you make sure you remember all these things when getting your profile pic sorted? Well the easiest answer to this is to hire a professional photographer and they will make sure you get some great head shots.
I have some top tips on how to get the best out of your photo session – coming soon.