Do you have a profile on several social media sites or a website for your business? Do you use a photograph or a logo to identify you or your business? This post will help you decide when to use a photo, when not to, and how to achieve a professional image.
Why I had a new photo
Unlike a few people I know, I don’t really mind having my photo taken. On a personal level, I’ve lost weight quite recently and I’m happy and confident with how I look (well, most of the time!) So I was actually looking forward to my latest corporate photoshoot earlier this week. I had a great picture before that I used for my social media profiles and and on my ‘about’ page on my website, which was taken by the same person, but a few factors led me to have another.
- I lost my ‘baby weight’ last year after it was taken
- My hair has grown quite a lot
- A few people have said they don’t recognise me from my photo when we meet in person
- I’m doing a re-launch of my business (more on that later!)
So those were my reasons for having it done. I invited the lovely Jim Hawkins round to take my pictures again, as he has an uncanny knack of putting people at ease and capturing the real person behind the image. I was looking for something that made me look natural, friendly and approachable but professional. I reckon that Jim did a great job of doing this and I had loads to choose from.
How I made my choice
This did create a problem, which was that I was spoilt for choice! So I decided to see what other people thought. I posted 5 options on Twitter for my business buddies to give their opinions on. I did the same on Facebook to see what my friends thought. I had a favourite to start with, but actually I ended up with a different one. I’m extremely pleased though, as the one I chose portrays everything I wanted it to.
So, what am I using my photo for?
My business social media profiles
I use 3 main platforms for business on social media – Twitter (predominantly), LinkedIn and Google+ (a bit) – and I want them to portray a consistent image of me. Hence why I’ll be changing my photo on all of these to the same one. It makes me easier to spot you see ;)
My business card
I’ve not seen many business cards with photos on (reason 1 to have one on there – to stand out!) and I think they’re missing a trick. When you take someone’s business card, you’re generally left with their contact details, but if you met them again, would you remember them? If they called you up a few moths later to arrange a meeting, would you have to ask them to wear a carnation?! If you’re brave and customer facing, give it a go.
Again, I’m hoping to add my picture to my website’s homepage. This brings everything together even more, reinforcing my brand, which is about me delivering marketing training and bringing small business owners together – in person and on social media – to learn from each other. I’ve got a few other shots which will also be great for profiles that I can send out for speaking gigs.
A word in your ear
I know having your photo taken can be scary, but if you want to look professional, approachable and give a good first impression of your business, getting good quality photos done is a worthwhile investment. It’s also worth a small amount of discomfort! Photos done on your webcam or iPad are ok, but professional shots are so much better, especially if you’re offering a personal service.
Don’t be an egg…
Also, unless you’re constrained by working for a larger organisation or are a franchisee with strict guidelines, don’t hide behind your logo on social media. Social media is about people talking to people. It’s about engaging. It’s harder to engage with a logo than a face (the same goes for an egg on Twitter!)
Be yourself, show your personality, take yourself closer to your customers. That’s what I intend to do and after all, it’s what marketing is all about.
Go on, be bold!
So, what do you have at the moment? Have you done something unusual with your profile picture? If you have to have a logo, how do you put personality into how you interact? Let’s carry on the conversation in the comments below.
Until next time…
Photograph courtesy of Jim Hawkins Ltd