Personal Branding and Leadership expert Roz Usheroff shares meaningful insights into creating an effective social network profile . . . starting with your picture

From time to time I will encounter a great article or post by a leading industry expert that bears sharing with you as it provides meaningful insight into an important issue or, provides essential advice that can help you to better leverage social networking and media to your business or career advantage.

The following is a reprint of a great article by Roz Usheroff titled “Six Tips to Hitting a Home Run with your LinkedIn and Facebook Photo” that I am certain you will find both interesting and entertaining.

Also be sure to check out Roz’s CDs and Books as they are rich with great insights, as well as her Remarkable Leaders Blog.

The explosive growth of online networks means we have more access and power to connect with other people than ever before. Need a web designer, a coach, a personal trainer? It’s not guerilla marketing anymore; it’s guerrilla connecting, and our brains are being trained to discern and discriminate in an instant, amidst an ocean of information.

While some people may still brag about the gazillions of online friends and connections they have, smart social marketers are switching gears and focusing on engaging with their current networks, not simply signing up more bodies.

What’s the first way we engage on major business-to-business social networks such as LinkedIn? It’s the same way we have summed up others in person for thousands of years — we look.

Like it or not, we’re visual creatures, and images feed our perceptions more than all the carefully crafted copy in the world. That’s why we need to be deliberate, selective and intentional about the images we showcase on line — particularly the profile pictures that give others that first glimpse into who we are.

Unfortunately, many business people are tempted to draw an invisible line in their heads separating the personal and professional photographs they post. For example, a senior manager who posts a very professional photo on his LinkedIn profile might feel just fine about putting up a picture of himself knocking back tequila shots in Tahiti on his Facebook page. He may not have stopped to ask himself, “What’s the impact this might have on how my colleagues, customers and headhunters perceive me?”

Of course, there’s always a way to compartmentalize your Facebook profile so that different audiences see different content. However, the Internet being what it is, don’t take a chance and post any photos you’d be embarrassed or uncomfortable for your clients, boss or co-workers to see.

Try this. Google your name and your businesses name and see what photographs come up. Are they consistent with your brand? Are they serving your corporate mission and objectives? If not, where possible, you may want to go back and switch out these least-desirable photos with more brand-consistent images.
Keeping that in mind, the following six tips will help you hit a home run with your LinkedIn and Facebook profile photos.

1.      Have one. The nice people at LinkedIn say that profiles with photographs are seven times as likely to be viewed as those without. Think about it. Why would a potential employer read your profile if your picture is missing in action when they can click on your competent competitor who has a high-energy picture, complete with a scintillating smile? By the way, cartoonish avatar images don’t count as a profile picture.

2.      Full face forward. Look full-faced into the camera and take the shot. Show us your spark, your integrity and your warmth. Think about someone or something you like as the shutter clicks, and let the pleasure and energy of life fill you up; relax and breathe. Please don’t, as I’ve seen many do, commit the following head-shot sins in your profile picture.

–          Wear sunglasses

–          Turn your head to the side (it’s LinkedIn, not a coin)

–          Gaze off into the distance like Galileo contemplating the wonders of the cosmos

–          Have another person in the shot with you

–          Have another part of a person in the shot with you — such as a hand, arm or shoulder

Remember, we do business with people we like and trust. Seeing your face and making direct eye contact with you — even in a photograph — builds ease and confidence.

3.      This isn’t Match.com. Save the cleavage, come-hither stares and full-body shots for times when you’re looking to connect over cocktails — not in a corporate setting. Showing too much skin or flashing a facial expression that says I want you can cause you to lose credibility. While you might get asked out on a date, you probably won’t get the contract.

4.      Be current. As much as you may like the way you looked in that snazzy photo taken a decade ago, it’s probably out of date. To minimize the shock and awe when you show up in person, keep your profile photos relatively current and minimize the airbrushing. When you do connect with clients in meet space, surprise, confusion and embarrassment won’t be the first emotions you inspire.

5.      Beware of body language. The small body language details of your profile photo speak volumes. For example: Don’t tilt your head unless you want visitors to think, quizzical dog. Don’t cross your arms across your body unless you’re meaning to give off a feeling that says, stay away. And please don’t cup your face in your hands or prop your chin on your fist. That is so over; trust me.

6.      Skip the dogs and babies. As much as we love dogs, babies and the supersize salmon you caught on vacation, they don’t belong in your profile picture. This is a chance for people to get a sense of you — just glorious you. Stand tall, stand proud and stand alone.

If you’re wondering at this point if it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to hire a professional photographer to make all this come together — don’t panic. While it’s always preferable to go with an expert if you can afford it, sometimes the best shots are those taken by people we are close to and know us well.

If you’re not in a position to hire an outside professional, choose someone you feel comfortable with to take your picture. Color photos usually convey more life and energy than black and white, and you don’t need a fancy camera to get a great shot; you can do wonders with an iPhone. Just be sure to use a neutral background with bright, even light — avoid shot in direct sunlight. OK, now stand up straight, smile and say cheese.

Warmly

Roz

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Comments
One Response to “Personal Branding and Leadership expert Roz Usheroff shares meaningful insights into creating an effective social network profile . . . starting with your picture”
  1. Thanks for your candidness and finally putting these “don’ts” out there!

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