Tips for Choosing a Great Profile Picture

This would not be a good profile picture

When you begin using social networks such as Facebook for your business, the first thing you do after creating your social media strategy is set up your profile.  Your profile is your home base on a social network, providing information about you, links that people can follow to find out more about you, and, most importantly, your photo.  What you select as your profile photo is an incredibly important decision, and I don’t think people in general spend enough time selecting the right one.  Yet this is the business face you are putting out for the entire world to see.

Think about it:  In person, if you were going to a business meeting to meet a new contact for the first time, would you show up with your dog and your kids?  Would you shake a plant or a picture of a sunset in their face?  Show up with a pack of your very best friends doing the can-can?  Of course not!  You would dress well, comb your hair, look someone in the eye, and put your best face forward.  After all, this is the first impression, and you want to make a good one.

People should be able to look you in the eye

Your profile photo on your social networks is the same thing.  It’s what you lead with in a business relationship, and the photo you select says a lot about you, and may determine whether or not the people you connect with will even consider doing business with you.

So what should you consider when selecting your profile photo?  Here are some tips:

  • The photo should be YOU.  Not your kids, not your dog, not your car, not your logo.  People do business with people, and direct sales is about relationships between people.
  • The photo should be up close and lit well.  People should be able to see your face, and look into your eyes.  In fact, they should be able to see “the whites of your eyes.”  Avoid photos where you are standing off in the distance or looking the other way.
  • The photo should be only you.  Don’t make new contacts try to guess who you are in a group of people in your photo.  Guessing games are not a good way to start and build a relationship.
  • The ideal photo shows your head and shoulders, and you’re looking at the camera.  This is the equivalent of looking someone in the eye when we do business with them.
  • The photo should reflect how you really look.  Don’t dig up that photo from 20 years ago when you were young and skinny.  People should be able to recognize you when they meet you in person.  Otherwise they’ll feel slightly deceived, which can undermine the trust you’ve built in a relationship.
  • The same photo should be used across all of your social networks. That way, no matter where someone meets you online, they’ll always know it’s you.

By taking some time to thoughtfully select your profile photo, you begin the process of building valuable business relationships through your social networks that are built on trust.  Even though we connect through technology, we still have the fundamental need to look someone in the eye, and come to know, like, and trust them, before we do business with them.  Your photo is the first step.  Choose well!

Now it’s your turn.  Does your profile photo represent you well?  How could it be improved?  What advice do you have for others when they select their profile photo?  Looking forward to reading your comments below!

6 Responses to Tips for Choosing a Great Profile Picture
  1. Michele Vallee
    April 27, 2010 | 3:24 pm

    and the photo should one that puts its BEST foot forward! Good makeup, not overdone, but nice and a nice hair do.
    Jennifer, I tend to like photos taken outdoors, which is on my “to-do” list. Do you have a preference? In or outdoors?

    Michele

  2. Jill Shea
    April 22, 2010 | 1:59 pm

    Great write up Jennifer! I agree 100%. The person on the other end feels a much better connection when we get to see your friendly headshot. Then you are more likely to convert friends into people who will do business with you AND refer you to others.

    Love & Success!
    Jill Shea

  3. Shannon Bruce
    April 22, 2010 | 11:38 am

    Hi Jen, I’m curious about your thoughts of a professional picture of you and your kids. Especially for those of us working with “Mom’s” as a huge element of our business. It seems the idea of commenting personally on your wall posts to let people get to know you outside of “just business” would also mean that a professional picture of you and your kids would be acceptable as well? Would love your thoughts on this!

    • Jennifer Fong
      April 22, 2010 | 11:51 am

      My thought is no. I personally would share those folks THROUGH my profile, but the main image that everyone sees should be just you. You’re the one I’m doing business with. If you’re using your profile for business, it should be you.

      My 2 cents.

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