As a woman in leadership, your profile picture is a representation of you in the virtual world. Your profile picture is what we see every time we interact with you online. We might even imagine your profile picture speaking to us as we read the words you type. source.
Also, social media profiles rank highly in search engine results when people google your name. source. So think of your social media profile as your landing page for your brand.
Here are eight tips I learned, as I went about creating a better profile picture of my own:
1. Be your brand: If a professional headshot is too stuffy for your business, try to capture the essence of what you do in your profile pic. source
2. Avoid all face or all body pictures: Ideally, your head should take up 60% of the space according to this Linkedin expert. However, I came across this study. The study showed that when it came to the “amount” of person shown, a bust (head and shoulders) or torso (head to waist) shot was ideal. So I settled on a partial torso shot since I am a wardrobe stylist. and wanted to show part of my look. source
Note: that the study also found that going to0 far in either direction – all face or all body shots reduced your likeability, and competency factors, as did full body shots.
3. Smile: Smiling in any “virtual connecting” situation is crucial to likeability– whether that is in your profile picture or a virtual meeting.
Smiling not only puts people at ease, it increases your perceived trustworthiness, says Lisa Quest in this Forbes article. And not just any smile – you need a Duchenne Smile, which is a broad genuine smile where the corners of your mouth lift up, and your eyes crinkle. source
4. Avoid Distractions: Stick to solids – no prints for your profile picture. Also your background should be simple and free of distractions. source Note that the type of background has no impact on likeability, competence or perceived influence. source
5. Wardrobe: Bring a couple changes of clothes for your pictures. But, what to wear you might wonder? Speaker and publicity expert Joan Stewart brings one business and one casual look to her profile shoots. Joan also suggest buying a package of oil-absorbing sheets in the cosmetics department of a drugstore. You can dab them on your face to remove oil and sweat. I would have loved to know about these before my shoot, because later, we had to filter out the oily look of my skin in the photographs. source
In this survey, nothing increased perceived competence and influence more than formal dress. Wear clothing that reflects how you would dress in your professional world advices this Fast Company Article.
6. Shoot with someone your are comfortable around: This allows you to relax, and your true personality to shine through. This is, after all , what your potential clients and opportunities are going to be attracted to in the first place. source
7. Name your photo appropriately: Name your photo by your name.jpg, or yourbusiness.jpg so search engines can pick up on it. This is especially important for image searches—when someone is searching images to find you.
8. Pick a default photo and stick with it: Finally, when you are ready to post your new profile picture, choose one default photo and use it across all social networks so people recognize you across the web. This maintains personal brand consistency, and fosters trust.
Now you have some tools to create a great profile picture for yourself , and your personal brand.
Don’t worry, if you still want to use your i-phone to take your profile picture there are some good tips here.
See you around online!
P.S. What about a profile picture motivates you to engage with a person online?