You would never dream of attending a business meeting in a bathing suit or ripped jeans. And yet, many business professionals do the equivalent with their website and social media profiles.
Even people with great profiles and intelligent comments sometimes drop the ball with their photograph. People like to network with people, not anonymous computers, so resist the temptation to use your company’s logo. Your photograph humanizes you; it shows you are a living breathing person and not a faceless corporation.
When it comes to choosing a photograph, think professional. I’ve seen otherwise professional people put photos of themselves at the beach, with their dogs, with their kids or with weird close-ups of one eye or their ear. These casual photos create dissonance with the business-like tone of their sites.
Unless you have a quirky business where potential clients need to see a fun-loving side of you, make sure your photo looks like you could be heading off to a business meeting. A simple headshot with you in business attire is what you should be aiming for.
Think of trying to brand yourself with your photo. A good photo can be used on multiple sites, your website and as a publicity shot. By using the same photo everywhere, people will begin to recognize you, the same as they would if they knew you in person.
You’ll be getting a lot of mileage out of this photo so if at all possible, get a professional photograph taken. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Even going to the photo studio at Sears or Walmart will produce a quality photo you can use everywhere.
Some studios will even give you a CD with electronic versions of your photograph. If not, don’t worry. Scanning the print is easy and produces a good enough quality for use on social media. Don’t have a scanner? Use the phone and call some print shops or computer stores until you find one that will scan it for you.
Remember, many of the people you network with online will never meet you in person. Your photograph will be the only image they have of you. Why not make it a good one?
Andrea J. Stenberg