This sounds like a no brainer right? Well…
The days of hiding behind pictures is over. People are attending Tweet-ups, Google+ Hangouts in Real Life, making videos, participating in Skype Interviews and Google+ Hangouts On Air.
IF YOU DO NOT LOOK LIKE YOUR PROFILE PICTURE PEOPLE WILL NOT RECOGNIZE YOU.
When I host a meeting, attend a conference or plan to meet someone in person that I have only known on the internet, I look at their profile picture and that is the person I am looking for. At least once every time I am meeting a group of new people, someone has to introduce themselves because they look NOTHING LIKE THEIR PROFILE PICTURE. This creates an awkward situation for the person that did not recognize you.
Let’s talk about how this can effect your brand. Do you trust a company that pulls a bait and switch on you? A cleaner that touts amazing cleaning strength and ends up being a dud. Designer clothes that fall apart after one wash? Food companies that quietly change the size of a product without announcing it? You are sending the same message to a potential client by making this simple mistake. Your credibility takes a hit the soon as people see what you have done.
Lets have a heart to heart. Not everyone is delighted by the way they look. That is okay! Work with what you have. If you do not like it, do something to change it. I am 40 pounds heavier than I was in my 20′s. Am I happy with the way I look right now? Nope. Do I look exactly like my profile picture? Yup. Do you know what is worse than having a profile picture that looks like you on the internet? People realizing that you look nothing like your picture because you are indeed balder, heavier, or whatever the reason may be. In my opinion, you end up looking worse than if you had just presented yourself as is.
How To Know When You Need A New Profile Picture:
- You no longer wear glasses.
- You started wearing glasses.
- You have changed your hairstyle
- You have changed your hair color
- You have lost most of your hair
- You have lost a bunch of weight
- (You know it’s coming…)
- You have gained a bunch of weight
If you do not change your appearance very often, go with the one year rule. Every year you should take a new profile picture. Believe it or not, you do look different to the people only viewing your photo. This does not have to be expensive or time consuming!
Affordable Profile PIcture Options:
- Many professional organizations will offer a headshot evening offering a professional photographer at a discounted rate.
- Many photography buffs will bring their cameras with them to conferences. If you ask them for a quick headshot in exchange for a link, they will usually be delighted to help out.
- Ask a friend or spouse to use their cell phone. My cell phone has better resolution than my first DLSR did!
What To Wear:
- I always suggest a classic look.
- If you would like to wear something super cute and current, go for it! Just understand that you will need to update your picture more often.
- Remember that you will most likely crop this photo to various sizes.
- Make sure that you are not wearing clothing that would end up getting cropped out of the photo. Nobody wants to look naked on the internet. (Well… never-mind)
- Consider the seasons. You will look silly in a tank top during Christmas and the same goes for a heavy sweater in July.
Choosing The Background:
- My first profile picture was taken in the mall by a chocolate shop. It had a nice white brick wall. I was wearing my company colors, so I had my friend take a picture with my cell phone.
- Choose a simple background and try to avoid bold colors.
- Keep your company colors in mind. Will your clothing or background clash?
- Parks make excellent backgrounds.
- Conference rooms usually have a good corner to stand by.