Branding is the biggest keyword for entrepreneurs. But so often profile pictures get left out of the mix. However it’s the first thing anyone notices about you while traveling across social media platforms networking and generating new leads. Ok, I’m imagining you super star entrepreneurs running off to the nearest photographer for a headshot. DON’T! At least read this first:
Pro headshots are a great step in the right direction. A pro shot will give the impression you are invested in your professional world. A year ago I worked designing headshots for the staff of Seattle Met magazine. During that time one of the recruiters for the magazine explained, the first thing she looked for while searching talent on Linkedin was their profile photo. If they didn’t have a photo she wouldn’t bother, if they had a non pro photo she would overlook them, but if something was interesting or intriguing in that image, it always got her exploring their business profile. On another occasion I was speaking with a friend looking for a life coach, she said that the profile image was the prime factor in narrowing down who she would investigate. If they looked too stuffy she would move on, if the image didn’t seem professional, she moved on.
We have found that the process of finding your voice through personal branding is just a jumpstart into finding your voice for other areas of your business. We have a funny term we use in our businesses to help us determine if a product or campaign is good. We call it “Narcissistic Business Practices”. For short we will call it NBP. If we think that we have fallen into that whole we label it NBP and throw it out! Why is identifying NBP important for business? Ever get caught in a rip tide? NBP is like getting caught in a rip tide in your business. You're working so hard at what you do and trying to get it out there but it feels like you’re drowning. The way we choose a portfolio image if so often an NBP. We put out what we like rather than looking out for what a client might be attracted to.
Ok let’s have some fun and get creative! Jump on your favorite social media site, go to a group you are not active on, pick out 5-10 people based on their profile image and do these things based on their profile image without investigating:
1. Try to determine their job.
2. Does this person look like someone you want to meet?
3. Will you remember them?
4. What will you remember about that picture, if anything?
5. Did you have a really hard time not investigating more about them?
6. How experienced do they seem?
Now that you have asked those questions, go back and investigate. Was your first impression right or close? Some might have been dead on and some probably a big miss.
Head to your current profile shot on your favorite social media outlet. If you didn’t know you, what would you think about you? Go back to the list and ask the same questions again. Write down your answers. Then think about your target audience and write down what you think they might want to see. If you are a life coach it’s probably not a black and white moody lit studio portrait, your client is probably looking for some inspiration and clarity. If you are a CEO of a company you many want to look like you can command a room and look innovative, if you are a lawyer you many want to look exceptionally professional, if in a creative field, get as creative as your work!
Before you head over to pinterest to start pinning photos of people you think you should look like, take a minute to run through your past profile images. You might find a quick match to the person you are trying to put out there. Professional images can set you up a notch if done well, but you can get started on that quick fix right now.
If you’ve found something that works, put that same image everywhere you need a profile image! People who are just starting to interact with you online are going to remember you by the familiarity of that image before they remember the details of your face. Especially update your email. Email is usually the last stop for the first in person introduction and we want to see a familiar face.
Now that you’ve started this process it should ignite inspiration and development for your image brand. Most of our clients are so excited by the first headshot, that they start developing a brand around it.
For fun we asked a few of our clients to look for a good spot to take a selfie they might use on a social media site.
Here are the before and after shots: