Your image is part of your brand. Having your smiling face in your social networking profiles helps build your "know, like, and trust" factor. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Not only that, have you ever said, "I know the face; I just can't remember the name..." Your face, your professional head shot, helps people remember you.
When attending networking events, you leave with loads of business cards, many with names, contact information, and logos, but no face. How do you remember if the name you found on LinkedIn is the right person you met when the profile has only a silhouette?
That smiling mug of yours is part of your brand, use it! Having your face in your social networking profiles helps people connect with you and know that it's YOU they met at last week's event or conference. According to psychologist Albert Mehrabian in a study about non-verbal communication, "Total liking = 7 percent verbal liking + 38 percent vocal liking (i.e., tone of voice) + 55 percent facial liking." Fifty-five percent facial liking -- that's significant.
This likeability factor plays a role in helping you build your brand, your connections, and more. People ask all the time if they need a professional head shot in their social-networking profiles. YES, you do.
Here are a few excuses that have been floated over time as to why there's no photo:
- "My head is too big."
- "I want to lose weight before I pay money to get a professional head shot." When's your next networking event? Your next conference? Your next sales call? You are fabulous just as you are now. As most people Google you before they meet you, when you arrive, people will immediately recognize you and know that you are the person they were scheduled to meet (not you from 2012, but you 2019). When you lose your planned weight, fantastic! That certainly will warrant a brand new head shot of skinny you.
- "I don't have any money for a professional head shot." Find a well-lit space in your home or apartment and a light-colored empty wall (no dings either). Wear something professional, smile big, and have your friend take a photo -- or several so you can choose your favorite. Save a bit every week and you can invest in a professional head shot soon.
People relate well to facial photos. They like to do business with a person, not a logo or your cat. Your photo is part of your brand image. Make it congruent to your professional goals, in alignment with your personal brand.
On LinkedIn, it's important that your profile picture be professional (like the examples above) versus a crazy pose or body shot.
You can have some fun on Facebook if you wish. Do keep in mind the "Mom and Boss Test" -- if you'd be embarrassed if your mom saw the photo or fired if your boss did, then keep your profile photo clean and professional.
Twitter's profile-picture spot is very tiny. Keep that in mind when uploading your profile picture. For Twitter, it's recommended that you have just your face in the profile photo. Your whole face, not your eye or a tiny picture of your full body. It's too hard to see.
Learn more about personal brand here: