You don’t just need a picture; you need a GREAT picture – preferably one that communicates who you are as a person – not just a stuffed shirt kind of picture, unless you ARE a stuffed shirt kind of person. It doesn’t have to be a professionally shot photo, though that is optimal.
You can get good results by working with a digital camera or a camera phone. Experiment with different angles rather than the straight-on typical mug shot. While it’s great to show yourself enjoying your favorite hobby, make sure the picture is close enough to show your face clearly.
Why is a picture so important?
- Like it or not, your picture is worth a 1,000 words on your profile. The more you can personalize your presence on the Web through photos, videos, podcasts and your own written words, the easier it is for people to connect with you. They don’t want to see a shot of your dog, a flower or what you looked like as a baby. They especially don’t want to see the generic silhouette.
- Business people who use their logos instead of their photos tell me that they don’t understand the “rules” of social media. First, social media is just that – social. That means it’s about people. You can’t form relationships with businesses; you form relationships with people in the businesses. You aren’t helping your business by being faceless. And secondly, your logo belongs on a Facebook business page – not a profile page. If you have a business, you need both.
- People don’t trust you when you don’t have a photo. I have a personal policy of not accepting friend requests from people I don’t know without a photo because of a previous problem I had with a man who didn’t have a profile picture. When you don’t have a picture, it’s easy to pose online as somebody else. Why take the risk?
- Your photo becomes your avatar across all of your Web real estate. People begin to recognize you when you have the same photo on your Web site, blog, Facebook, Squidoo and Ning sites. Your avatar becomes your personal online brand.
- It’s just plain unprofessional not to have a current picture on your profile. You’re expected to have business cards when you show up at a professional meeting, and you’re expected to have a decent picture on your social media profiles.
Look, I know you have a million other things to do that you think are more important. I get it. I have a business, too. And some of those things probably are. But getting a great picture to help you connect with your customers and potential customers is pretty darned important.
So go do it.
Photo by Vincent Chaigneau.