When’s the last time you updated your Facebook profile picture? Twitter? What about LinkedIn? You may think that keeping your profile pic current isn’t necessary, but the harsh reality is most customers are judging you by your picture long before they ever talk to you in person. If you don’t have your profile picture locked down, your customers will notice, and they’re going to judge you. HARD.
So if you’re like me, and haven’t updated your profile pic in quite some time, these tips should help you get the perfect profile picture, and help you grab the interests of potential customers.
Dress To Impress
What sounds more inviting to you: 1) a nice, solid colored button up shirt, complemented by a matching tie; a clean cut hair style with a clean-shaven or trimmed up beard; and modern looking, black framed glasses OR 2) a white wife beater, browned from years of pit stains, with a barbecue smudge the size of Florida’s panhandle; long, untrimmed hair pulled back tight into a ponytail to hide the split-ends; a scraggly, rough beard with yesterday’s meatloaf in it; and a trucker hat that says “Merica” in bright red, white and blue colors?
I sincerely hope you picked the first option.
This is an extreme example, of course, but the point here is that you want to present yourself in your profile picture as someone who looks like they belong in the business world. Pick matching colors and nonabrasive patterns to show off your style, and if you don’t consider yourself a style expert, ask a fashionista friend to help you out.
Show Off Those Pearly Whites
Research has proven that smiling while showing off your teeth is twice as effective as smiling with your mouth closed. People love to see beautiful smiles, and customers will be more likely to trust someone who’s smiling with their pearly whites in full display in their profile pictures. But if you’ve got Austin Powers teeth, the closed-mouth grin works well, too. Really, it’s all about showing your confidence!
Hire A Pro
There’s a lot that can go into taking a good photograph. Lighting, background, aperture and shutter settings, ISO, and your camera equipment must all be considered when trying to get the perfect shot.
So rather than taking an iPhone pic with the help of your selfie stick, consider hiring a professional photographer to take a few headshots of you. A high quality picture says a lot about your company, and will impress customers. Think about it: would you really want to do business with a person whose profile picture has less pixels than an 8-bit video game?
Leave Out the Debauchery
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. No smoking, no drinking, no stealing zoo animals on a wild night out with your conservationist buddies…you get the idea. Putting any of this stuff in your profile pictures, or even posting it on your Facebook Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, is a big red flag to potential customers. Showing you’re an upstanding citizen, and professional business man or woman, in your profile picture is what is ultimately going to make or break your business. Because these days, no one’s personal life is secret–especially if you’re an active social media user.
If you’re still wondering what’s inappropriate for a profile picture, check out these profile picture no-no’s below!
Mirror Selfies: Selfies are completely unprofessional when it comes to profile pictures. Even if you have perfected the duck face, your customers couldn’t care less.
Over Filtered Instagram Nightmares: Filters are nice if you’re trying to make your pictures really artsy and over the top, but they don’t make for very professional pictures.
Bathroom Selfies: Gross. I’m not sure why people think these are okay, but no one wants to see where you use the bathroom.
The “I Hate Everything” Face: This goes back to the smiling tip. Super serious faces are not very inviting, so make sure you’re at least faking a smile in your picture.
The “I Took This Picture While Running From A Tornado” Blurry Pic: Blurry, low quality pictures are awful. If you’ve got shaky hands, then set up a camera on a tripod with a timer to take your headshot.
Head-To-Toe Full Body Shots: Your upper body is what’s important for a good profile pic, so take pictures from your shoulders up.
Butt Selfies: Taking a picture of your butt while turning your face toward the camera really doesn’t work for anyone, so why would you make it your profile picture. Your butt isn’t selling homemade artisan soaps–you are.
Default Social Media Pictures (a.k.a. The Silhouettes): This is just plain lazy, and really makes you look like you don’t care about your social media presence. If you don’t have any good headshots of yourself at the time, at least find a picture that is reasonable.
The “My Kitty Is My Best Friend” Pic: Look, I get it. Your cat is your BFF. But unless he/she is the mascot for your business, or has stock invested in your business through Kitty Wall Street, leave the cat out of the picture. Or any pet for that matter.