In this tutorial, personal and CEO branding consultant Karen Leland explains the detailed do’s and don’ts of posting head shots on social media to show your personal brand in it’s best light. Specifics on how smiling, wardrobe, body position, and other factors impact your brand identity are covered. Best practices for statistically increasing your likability and credibility with a profile picture are detailed.
- [Voiceover] Regardless of which social media platform you plan on using, having a profile picture is an expected standard. If you're one of those people who thinks it doesn't matter, think again. By some accounts, social media profiles with pics are seven times more likely to be viewed than those without. In addition, one study published in "Psychological Science" reported that it took less than a second for a viewer to draw conclusions about a person based on their photo. Your online brand is best served when your profile picture is consistent across all social media platforms and adheres to the following five best practices.
First, you need an up-to-date photo of a real person. I know one CEO who thought it was a good idea to make his social media pic, are you ready for this, a troll doll. Well, that might be cute at first glance. In terms of creating a powerful, personal brand on social media your best bet is a professional, reasonably current, head shot photo. Please, no avatars, cartoon characters, pictures of your dog Biffy, or troll dolls. One exception to this rule, if your brand is artistically wacky you might have a little wiggle room here and can get away with something more unconventional.
However, in general, a photo of the real you is your personal brand best bet. And while we're on the subject of the real you, if you find yourself showing up in person, only to be told, "Wow, you look so different in real life," your profile pic needs to be adjusted. A contemporary, up-to-date, current head shot, within the last two years or so is essential. Next, be sure to smile and show your teeth. According to an article in the "Journal of Psychological Science" a profile picture where you are facing forward and smiling, teeth front and center, helps make a good first impression.
In another study, from the website PhotoFeeler, a smile with teeth visible increases the perception of competence, likability, and influence. A closed mouth smile, however, had about half the impact on likability and showing too much teeth, for example a laughing smile, increased likability but reduced perceived competence and influence. Next, make sure to frame up your head and shoulders. Just how much of you should you show in a profile pic? The studies seem to suggest that a photo featuring your head and shoulders or head to waist makes the best impression.
Interestingly enough, face-only closeups were seen as less likable. And full body photos had a negative impact on how capable and influential someone was seen as being. Here's another bit of advice, ditch the sunglasses. One study from the website PhotoFeeler looked at perceived competence, likability, and influence based on profile pics. One finding was that wearing sunglasses in profile pictures lowers the wearers likability score. When it comes to your photo, the eyes really are the window to the soul.
And last, dress the best for your personal brand. While certain studies show that a more formal dress conveys greater competence and professionalism your personal brand, industry, and audience should be the driving factor in what you choose to wear in a profile picture. For example, own a surf shop? A Hawaiian shirt would be more on brand than a jacket and tie. Are you a VP for a start-up in Silicon Valley? Hip jeans and a jacket might just do the trick.
Perhaps you're a CEO from an entertainment company, a contemporary dress, not too corporate, but business-like with a twist would offer the right, visual brand message. Your profile picture may seem like a simple thing but it's really the first glimpse a visitor to your social media site gets of your personal brand, so make it a good one.
This course shows how to authentically and powerfully present your brand online. Branding expert Karen Leland reveals the important differences between the four main social media sites—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest—and how to use them for career advancement and networking.
- Developing a personal branding mindset
- Adding a good photo, profile, and background to social media sites
- Using LinkedIn for personal branding
- Expanding your Twitter reach
- Creating virtual events on Facebook
- Curating pins on Pinterest