Thursday, April 12, 2012

ARE YOU AN EGGHEAD? -The Importance of a Social Media Profile Picture

A professional profile picture in your social media presence, whether it's Twitter, Facebook, or on your website or blog, might be more important than you think.

I have to admit that when I first started learning about social media, I was an egghead. I literally had the default photo of a white egg with a pale blue background for my Twitter profile picture. Once I saw that my posts were associated with this default image and many newbie users were doing the same, I realized I had to make a change to set myself apart.

At first I added in a snappy little piece of art for my Twitter picture.

Then I put a great shot of me camping with a bandana devouring a piece of corn on the cob on my Facebook profile.

I thought I was being trendy and interesting. But as I listened to more seminars and podcasts about social media I kept hearing the same message. Your profile picture is the first visual impression a customer, client, reader or fan will see of you. First impressions are everything. They are the difference between clicking on something you have to offer, or clicking away. You need a photo that gives the viewer an instant connection with you.

Here are a few must dos when it comes to a social media profile picture:

If you do not have a profile picture - get one now. If you use the default, your image will be nothing but a Facebook silhouette or even worse, a Twitter egg. Viewers will simply move on.

Avoid using fun, silly or party pictures. Be professional. Choose a photo that exudes confidence and shows the viewer how you want to be seen in your profession.

Take a high quality shot. Have a simple background, use a good camera on a tripod with good lighting from both sides. Wear something professional but neutral that you feel good in and emerge out of your shell leaning slightly forward with a natural smile.

My profile shot might not be exactly perfect, in fact I'm due for a new one since it is 2 years old, but it is simple and professional. Ultimately, your choice of profile picture comes down to you. Is it a casual Facebook page, or for your business page? Are you promoting a book, an event, or a piece of art? Or are you planning a family reunion? Effective profile pictures can range from you working in your garden, to a family pet, to a business logo. The Facebook timeline is set up perfectly so you can portray a photo of your latest book as the cover shot while still having a professional profile picture of you on the side. Check out my Facebook page here. You'll see that I have a more casual picture associated with my profession in the quilting industry. Whatever you decide...don’t be an egghead.

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