Just a few years ago, people of all ages would work hard to create an image they were proud of and willing to use to represent them in a business environment. Not any more. Now it seems like just about any selfie taken is acceptable. But is that really the best thing for your business and your brand? Is that really the image you want to portray to your potential clients and customers?
10. Your image is your voice. Remember when you “judged” people by the way they said hello or they way they shook your hand? Now we judge based on a simple image. Does your image convey the message you’re trying to convey? Does it show professionalism?
9. Is your image too large? If you’ve recently taken an image and loaded the file to your hard drive to use in a variety of ways, uploading it as-is could be a big mistake, depending on where you’ll be using it. Large files mean large load time. Yes, a lot of the social sites degrade the file and make it more appropriate in file size, but it still could be difficult to load, meaning the people viewing it could grow bored and move onto another site.
8. Is it the right size? Almost every profile image is a square format. So why aren’t you using a square image? Don’t rely on the social media platform to adjust the image for you. Create the perfect size for each platform, and showcase exactly what you choose to for your brand.
7. Do you have options? A great portrait makes you more noticeable. Don’t shoot one or two images – have a selection to choose from. Then you can add variety to your social sites, yet have your overall brand remain the same.
6. Pixilation isn’t a good thing. You’ve found an image of yourself – 20×20 pixels. Then you try and upload it into a frame that takes 200×200 pixels. The result is nothing but a blurred mess. Yes, your profiles might be small. But if they are anything but clear, people will notice.
5. Is that an alien? This is always one of my favorite approaches to profile pictures. Instead of having an image taken specifically for their own use, they use an image from a group shot they had taken at a party. The result is a smiling face with lots of arms wrapped around. Really?
4. Does it look like you? Are you squinting into the sunlight? Do you fade off into a mass of color behind you? Do you have tears streaming down your face? This image represents you. Make sure you are putting your best face forward.
3. Skipping it all together. People usually choose to leave the image blank when they first sign up for their social media account. What amazes me are the people that become active on an account like Twitter or LinkedIn and choose not to use an image. Your brand becomes the little icon associated with the social site itself. Do you think that person carries any weight in the community when they can’t even take a moment and finish their profile? Me neither.
2. Is it legal? Yes, you don’t own all images. If you recently had a portrait created by a professional photographer, you can’t go in and screen shot the image from her Facebook account. Make sure you have permission to use all images you post to avoid any legal problems later.
1. No selfies. Not now. Not ever. Selfies can be fun to share in a newsfeed, or as a way to remember a moment in time. But if you’re all about showcasing yourself as your brand, no selfies. Period.
Are there exceptions to the above rules? Of course. With social media, there are always new ways to approach things and fun ways to try something new. I have a friend right now on LinkedIn who has been uploading a new image every day to his LinkedIn account for weeks – most of them selfies – and I love his ingenuity at reaching out to people. But in this case, he is conscious of what he is doing with his image and is purposely doing it to reach out in a new way. That’s marketing. That works.
But if you are loading up one image to represent you for the next few years, don’t skimp on what that image means to your overall brand. Be conscious of what you use, and make sure it represents all you choose to be to your potential and existing clients.