If you follow me on Facebook or have seen me speak, you know I like to share lessons in best practice and typical “dos and don’ts” around using social media successfully. One topic I find very important is the use of photos in social media profiles.
Too many people still do not have a picture of themselves on their LinkedIn profile, and it really is of utmost importance these days. More than likely, if you don’t have a photo, the viewer who found you will move onto the next profile if they can’t see your smiling face along with all those great credentials.
So, what if you can’t afford a professional headshot? Well, you really don’t need to hire a professional photographer. I’m sure you already know how easy it is these days to get a professional looking picture in a relevant setting with your mobile device. Make sure you have great lighting, and you can easily get a usable headshot. You want to avoid the following:
1. Using a picture where you look great but your ex’s elbow or shoulder is still making an appearance.
2. Using a picture so outdated when a prospect meets you, they aren’t sure it is you.
3. Party pictures including beverages, bar backgrounds or other people.
4. Vacation pictures or other images that may be featuring a beautiful background instead of you as the feature.
5. Animals, unless you are in the pet industry.
But wait- what about exceptions to the rule?
Absolutely! I was recently working with a client and her story of earning business from someone who found her online was a great example of why breaking best practice can sometimes be a brand booster.
Libby Proctor, Acupuncturist and owner of Azara Health and Wellness was very excited to share news that a new client had found her via a Google search.
When she asked what stood out to him when selecting her, he said that in addition to her story and experience, her picture looked very warm, welcoming, and that he was a dog lover. He appreciated that her photo also showcased her love for dogs.
So, does this warrant “breaking the rules”? I think so! Your brand is a reflection of you as a person as well as a business owner. What characteristics of your personality will engage your target audience and provide rapport builders to those who will be excited about working with you?
Relevance is important. Libby also knows how beneficial the pets in your life can be to your mental and emotional well being. She also can speak to Traditional Chinese Medicine as an alternative to heal the little furry loved ones in your life when in need.
So, go ahead and break the rules! Just make sure it is done in good taste, with relevance, and in a way that represents your brand.