PODCAST

The Importance of a Good Social Media Profile Picture

You are the brand and face of your business which is why having a professional headshot is so essential. Selfies with the standard closet door background taken with your Smartphone camera just doesn’t cut it.
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When was the last time you had a good look at your profile picture? Does it match the image you are trying to portray for that particular site or are you still using an old outdated photo from a couple years ago?

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover”, well that may not hold water in today’s world. The reality is that we are all judged, or perceived, by the way, we look.
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And, particularly when it comes to professional situations—job interviews, making connections, networking—we have a short amount of time to make a good first impression.
Which is why it’s incredibly important to always appear professional, both in-person and online.
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 Most professional women understand the importance of business attire in-person, but unfortunately far too many fail to show that same professionalism online and that is actually the very first place most professional contacts will see you especially on LinkedIn!
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Instead of using a selfie-stick to take your next social media profile photo, you may want to consider a professional headshot instead.
Here are just five reasons why:
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First impressions are lasting impressions – you only get one chance to make a first impression.  
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To be treated as a professional you must look like a professional – point -blank – period!
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Take your business or career seriously and invest in your headshot, it is a business expense which qualifies for a tax write-off.
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Makes you more memorable especially if you use your picture on your business/rack cards or brochures and banners.
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You want to be found in person if anything happens, think of the “milk carton test” – it should be reflective of what you actually look like.
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What does having a good headshot bring to your brand?

1. Credibility
To be successful today, most professional jobs require knowledge and skill with social media. Profiles without photos are usually either not very active or just plain out-of-date on social media.
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In addition, many of those “spam” accounts and social profiles are only created to sell products or services or to collect information. Those fake profiles usually either have no photo or the photo of someone other than the actual person i.e. pictures of the family in a frame.
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When it comes to seeking employment, job recruiters, don’t want to waste their time with phony or fake profiles because it’s probably a phony or fake person.
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2. Recognition
Someone who already knows you from your past, other social media platforms, or even from a recent networking event will, hopefully, recognize that photo and know who you are.
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Have you ever attended a networking event, exchanged business cards and then checked that person’s Facebook page or Twitter account to see that their profile pic looks nothing like the person you met at the event?  Also, think about it, if a friend, college roommate or co-worker from your last job is looking for you and you have a very common name, your photo will help them find you.
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3. Consistency
Someone who follows you in other social networks will find, and probably follow you in new social networks. So, the reach of your social media visibility will be expanded and connected, and your “social proof” will be strengthened – having the same pic across all social media platforms makes it easy for people to connect and trust the person they are connected with.
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4. Personal Appeal
All profiles are more appealing when a person’s face is associated with it. LinkedIn has said that entries in LinkedIn search results with photos beside them are seven times more likely to be clicked than entries without photos.
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So, that recruiter looking for someone with your job title will probably not click on your name unless there is a photo beside it in the search results listings.  I don’t know about you, but when I get a request on Linkedin to connect and there isn’t a picture – I ignore the request.
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5. Personal Branding
Whether personal or professional your photo represents your brand it’s your personal logo — particularly when you use the same photo for all of your social accounts.

Here are five important things to remember when taking your social media profile picture:
Attire: It depends on the industry you are in, if you are in the fashion industry you will want to show off your suave and stylish clothes with the latest fashions, however, a law firm employee should wear a suit or a dress shirt. It doesn’t really matter about the lower half of your body, as your picture should be of your upper body only.
Simplicity: This word speaks volumes. Keep it simple.
Background: Where you take the shot should be clean, not distracting and should not take your limelight.
You, and only you: By this I mean there is no need for kids, family members, friends or pets to be in the picture at all. It confuses the viewer and it no longer makes it about you.  Arms around the shoulder,  flowers in the background, etc.
Personality: Smile, or at least look approachable and polite. No one wants to connect with someone who looks like they have an attitude.
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Think about this, there are more than 4 million companies registered on LinkedIn with company profiles that post jobs on their page. It is the place that is most likely to have industry professionals and stakeholders looking to bring some sort of benefit to your career.
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So if it’s time to update your headshots, you might want to hire a professional photographer, because a photo from your iPhone will not do.
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For more tips from a professional photographer, listen to my Podcast interview withWilly Vargas, of Vagas Photography.

An award winning Blogger, Vlogger and Social Media Strategist. Podcast Host for AAU Global Production Media Group. Instructor of social media and blogging; Influencer and Brand Ambassador for several major companies.

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