Raise your hand if you don’t like getting your picture taken. I know I don’t. But if you’re using social media in any way to promote yourself (your brand) or your business, your profile picture is important. Here are a few tips for choosing and using a great profile pic.
The best profile pic is a full shot of your face, close up and nicely cropped. The most important thing to remember is what your picture is going to get look like when it gets shrunk.
We’re usually picking a photo to use and viewing it at full size. But think about how small that’s going to look on your Facebook page. And it’s going to look even smaller on a cell phone. A recent study suggests about 26% of the population are using their cell phones to access social media sites. And that number is only going to go up. Do you know how small your profile pic is on the official Android app for Twitter? It’s a quarter of an inch on my T-Mobile G2. (And with the HootSuite app it’s even smaller.)
If your profile pic is a long shot of you showing most of your body or includes other people, it’s going to look like a little blob on a cell phone screen.
We want you!
I’m generally of the opinion that you should use your own photo for your profile pic. Company accounts can use a logo, but if you’re tweeting for yourself, use a high-quality photo. And yes, I thought the Mad Men Yourself app was (and is) very cool and I used it a few years ago. But I wouldn’t recommend a cartoon avatar on a regular basis. Social media is about engagement – it’s much easier to engage with an actual person than a cartoon.
I know some people want to be more private on social media. If your social media use is strictly personal, of course, you can do whatever you want. But if you want to be professional about building your reputation and brand, we want to see you!
If you’re active on multiple social networks, I recommend using the same profile picture everywhere. Again, it’s part of your brand. People will start to recognize you across different networks. That’s a good thing.
Remember – if you change your profile pic one place, be sure to change it on all the platforms you use.
Make it simple.
Use Gravatar. Several major platforms use Gravatar, including WordPress, HootSuite and Disqus. If you upload your profile pic to Gravatar, many of the popular Web sites you regularly use will pop up with your correct profile pic.
If you can …
Use a professional photographer who will take a nicely composed, well-lit, high-resolution photo. I was lucky enough to have my profile pic done last year by my friend Rachel Shomsky. If you’re in the Metro Detroit area, she’s the best!
More tips for profile pics? Leave ‘em in the comments!
Image credit: happydancing / 123RF Stock Photo