What would you think if you looked up a company’s website, and it looked like it was designed in the 90’s? Would this instill confidence in their brand? Would you be inclined to call them? Probably not. So why is it ok to have a terrible profile photo on LinkedIn or Twitter?
I am continually shocked by the bio photos I come across in social networks. I’m not going to publicly shame anyone, but check for yourself. Look at your LinkedIn contacts, and notice how many people have cropped photos of themselves in random situations.
I searched through my contacts and found lots of men wearing tuxedos from weddings, women holding wine glasses at events, or the real shockers were beach photos. How can it possibly be considered appropriate to crop a photo of you topless at the beach? (I kid you not, there’s more than one.)
Your photo is your logo
The first thing you see in a social media profile is the photo. It’s how we identify with a user, and it’s a key influencer on whether we engage with them or not. Your photo is your mark of credibility.
And it goes beyond credibility. Your bio photo is your logo. It’s an identifiable mark that makes you easier to find and understand on the Internet.
For example, I am not the only “Jeremy Miller.” If you search my name, you’ll likely find the actor who played Ben Seaver on Growing Pains. To cut through the clutter and make myself easier to find, I use the same headshot on all the social networks (LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter). The photo is my logo to separate me from other people who share my name. It makes me more findable and approachable.
A logo is professional
If you value your personal brand, value your bio photo. Glamor shots, wedding photos or pictures taken on vacation are not professional. They don’t demonstrate credibility.
At a very minimum get a professional headshot. There are lots of amazing (and cost-effective) photographers who will take a professional studio shot for you. There are even companies like Pinpoint Photography that run regular headshot photo shoots.
It’s not hard to get a great photo that can be your logo. It’s just a choice to invest in one.
Bio photos impact the corporate brand
Companies should care deeply about their employees’ bio photos. With the growth of LinkedIn Company pages, your prospects and customers can quickly get a sense of your culture from your employees’ profiles. The images they see can shape their opinion of your brand.
What does it say to your customers if your staff have unprofessional bio photos? Don’t let your employees present themselves poorly. Run regular photo shoots in your office so your team all have consistent, up-to-date bio photos. Make it a priority, and incorporate profile photos into your social media policies and procedures.
Your photo says a lot about you. Treat it like a logo, and manage it like a brand.
(Image credit: Martin Gommel)