Social Media Profile Photos – Why You Need One

Putting your best face forward: Your profile picture

In the media relations world we are always working with clients to enhance their images and grow their brands.  Today over a billion people are online using social media, blogs and websites.  All of these sites allow users to publish images of themselves and others.  Image is everything and it starts with the photos of yourself that you use online.  A recent Wall Street Journal article citing LinkedIn research showed that LinkedIn profiles are seven times more likely to be viewed if they have a photo than those that do not have one.

It is clear that profile photos get attention.  A Pixable analysis of 500,000 Facebook profile pics showed that the average shot receives 3 likes and 2 comments.  In addition, EyeTrackShop, a startup that runs eye-tracking studies for advertisers, conducted a study of popular social networks that recorded participant’s eye movements to see what they looked at on each page and in what order.  The study found that profile photos attracted the most attention on Klout, Facebook and StumbleUpon.

For many people being online is an integral part of their social lives as well as their professional lives.  Image matters in both of these worlds.  Your profile picture should project a positive image of you.  When promoting any brand or product a quality photo is important.  Brand recognition is achieved when images and logos are used repeatedly in different context.

Your profile photo is used to project who you are.  This image is one of the most important building blocks of any social media profile or online personal branding effort.  The profile picture is frequently the first image people see when they look at your profile or search for you online.  Your photo is an integral part of the first impression you make to people in the cyber world.  Your online photo is your identity it allows people to recognize you (cyber world and later in the real world), and fortunately or unfortunately provides people with their first opportunity to make judgments about who your are and your professionalism or lack thereof.  Image and appearance matter now more than ever.

On the most basic level, you must have a profile photo on each of your accounts.  Without a picture you have no identity.  From a business relationship-building perspective not having a photo limits the ability to build trust between parties online.

Social media experts, marketers and recruiters agree that not having a profile picture is self-defeating.  People are less likely to connect to you if you do not have a photo because they: (1) are not sure if you are the right person (who they may know in the real world); (2) think you are a newbie and not ready or worthy to connect to; (3) question your commitment, (an incomplete profile may mean that you will not or do not check your social media accounts often); and (4) are not sure if they can trust you. Additional reasons why you should have a photo on LinkedIn are included in this article from Executive Career Brand.  Lack of having a photo on LinkedIn prevents the user from reaching 100 percent of their profile. This is detrimental when it comes to searches of profiles.

Image recommendations if you use social media for business or personal branding

  1. Use your own photo – Don’t use photos of celebrities or others in your place.
  2. Use a quality image (not overly “photo shopped” or enhanced).
  3. Crop the image to allow people to see your head and part of your neck and shoulders.  Anything more than your “headshot” makes the profile image appear small and hard to see.  Use other images of yourself in photo galleries or other places on your sites.
  4. Use an updated photo (within the past few years).  It’s ok to change your photo.  When images are changed it shows up in your stream or wall.  The advantage to this is people may want to see your new image and visit your page. The disadvantage is that people will not recognize your new image.
  5. No sunglasses – People are less likely to trust you if they can’t see your eyes.
  6. Funny image – A humorous image can be used, but remember you have to live with this image and the possibility of it being reused or shared by others.
  7. If you use a cartoon or other image it should be recognizable and part of your overall branding and marketing.

From a business perspective your online profile image should help you improve your networking.  People should be able to recognize you in person from the image that they see online.  How great is it when people you have never met know who you are because of the social networking you have done?   This alone makes having the right image online exceedingly valuable.

Sources:

Executive Career Brand: Does My LinkedIn profile really need a photo?

Wall Street Journal article citing LinkedIn research

Pixable analysis of 500,000 Facebook profile pics

EyeTrackShop

Business Success: Attitude is everything

Looking for business success? May I suggest you first invest in a mirror?

Your attitude – how you feel and treat others – plays a VERY big role in how you are perceived by clients, business partners and vendors. Don’t be like this young lady and lock yourself in the bathroom.

What is the right attitude? It’s pure unadulterated joy and self-confidence. It’s believing in yourself while at the same time being selfless. It’s about living a life of servicing others. It’s about waking up every morning raring to face the day.

One book that should be on everyone’s reading list is Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki.  You can read my review at My Review of the book Enchantment.

This book covers every aspect of human to human interaction. It’s a roadmap for dealing with people every day. Frankly, it is a very important book.

Case in point – to become likeable you need to create crow’s feet – the tiny lines that appear when you smile very broadly. And to be trust-worthy, you have to first trust others. Default to “Yes” – always say that whenever you can.

Interestingly, I once asked at a meeting how to create more Linkedin recommendations. They said “Ask for them.” Unfortunately, that’s the wrong answer. The way to get Linkedin recommendations is to GIVE Linkedin recommendations.  The concept is “Give to Get.”

The best way to learn the concepts in Enchantment is to review this wonderful infographic.

What do you think? We love comments and those who share.

Sources:

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

Ogden’s Review of Enchantment

Image provided by istockphoto.com

About Author:

Jeff Ogden is the Founder and President of Find New Customers – as a business owner, he lives this advice. He’s also the host of Mad Marketing TV, sponsored by Act-On Software.

Stop Using Social Media Now…If you don’t have a plan

Your Social Media Plan: Why you need one and first steps

Over the years I have conducted workshops and sat on panels discussing social media and marketing.  From these interactions it has become clear that many businesses and individuals struggle with understanding and using social media to market effectively.  However, social media is an important marketing tool for every business and an element that needs to be incorporated into every marketing plan.  According to an August 2011 survey Marketing in the Digital World conducted by Zoomerang.com, nearly half of the small businesses surveyed are utilizing social media to market to customers.  This survey noted that the most effective tactics for businesses to reach customers through social media is with wall posts and direct messages.  The survey stated that the most important reasons small businesses use social media are to connect with customers, enhance visibility and self-promote.

Social media strategies need to be tied together with a comprehensive marketing plan.  Without a plan, social media marketing can be a colossal waste of time. However, with the right approach it can reap tremendous branding and marketing rewards.  A social media marketing plan outlines the proper use of time, effort and money.  Unfortunately most small business owners are not marketing professionals and do not approach social media with a marketing perspective.   

It is impossible to outline a complete plan in this blog, but I will discuss the first important steps needed to get started.  A successful plan does not have to be complex and it can be created and implemented quickly. 

To successfully harness the power of social media for marketing, users need to understand it, understand how their customers and contacts are using it and how they are going to use it.  I purposely did not mention sales because one of the greatest misconceptions is that social media is a sales tool.  Social media is a branding and marketing tool used to build relationships and brand awareness, which can lead to referrals and sales.  

The first step in the process of creating a plan is education.  Individuals and businesses must learn how their target audiences use social media and what sites they use.  It is essential to find out as much as possible about the behavior of clients and prospects.  Collecting and reviewing this information is an important part of the process.  For example, LinkedIn can be an ideal site for your business if you want to connect with other active business networkers.  According to a Lab42 survey of 500 Americans who were registered with LinkedIn, 35 percent check the site daily and 42 percent update their profiles regularly.  From this we can see that a large number of LinkedIn users are active on the site. These users are interested in keeping their profiles up-to-date for others to view.  Therefore LinkedIn’s business-focused online community is an ideal social media platform that should be included in a business’ social media marketing plan.

The research and information gathering phase will allow you to understand target audiences and choose the right social communities and sites to use. 

Ask questions such as:

  • Where do clients, potential clients or referral sources interact online?
  • Where are my clients and prospects gathering, posting and commenting? 
  • Who are the leaders in my sector and where can I find and listen to them online?
  • Where can I listen and participate in conversations online to grow my personal or business brand? 

With this information in hand, strategies can be implemented and goals can be set directing where, how often and what messages should be posted.

Based on the research and information gathered about current and potential followers and customers, set up or expand your social media accounts.  This may mean creating a Facebook business page and/or group, a LinkedIn company page or group, a YouTube channel or a Flickr account for photos.  Twitter, Google+, Stumbleupon, Tumblr and other accounts may be part of this initial effort as well.   Each site has its advantages, and each has strategies for its use.  Currently, Facebook remains dominant in many categories including time spent on any U.S. website according to the NM Incite – Neilson State of Social Media: The Social Media Report Q3 2011.  The numbers are truly staggering to look at.  Facebook visitors spent over 53.5 billion total minutes on their site in 2010 according to the Neilson, Netview, Home and Work (May 2011) study of the Top 10 Web Brands.

Successful plans set realistic goals.  Goals should include consideration of ROI (return on investment), but must also consider the amount of time and effort put forth, what I call ROE (return on effort).  Social media marketing ROI is difficult to measure in terms of direct sales, but can be achieved when time and budgets are set.  At the beginning of a social media marketing campaign or program it may be difficult to judge how much time should be spent.  Start slow and allocate a specific number of hours necessary to achieve desired results.  Only add time when warranted.  Social media is not a waste of time, but it can be a tremendous time-waster.  You limit your exposure and potential losses by managing time wisely.

The investment of time and resources is worth it.  According to information published by CrowdSpring, 51 percent of Facebook friends and 64 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of.

This outlines the first steps in the process of creating and implementing a social media marketing plan.  Stay tuned for additional posts in which I will cover topics such as creating social media campaigns and marketing messages, personal branding, strategies for monitoring success, enhancing the power of media coverage with social media, online reputation management and protection, crisis management, business development strategies using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube and others. 

Don’t stop using social media – start using it now with a plan and goals.

Sources:

CrowdSpring
Lab42
Marketing in the Digital World
Neilson State of Social Media: The Social Media Report Q3 2011

 

Authors Note:

This is my first blog post for Digital Brand Marketing Education and I would like to thank Basil Puglisi for the opportunity to contribute.  Basil and I have had some thought-provoking discussions and it is great to be a part of a forum where ideas and strategies are openly exchanged.  My goal is to draw upon my 22 years of media relations and marketing experience to provide readers with valuable insights and strategies, and to have some fun along the way. One of the activities I enjoy most is sharing information and examples that help individuals and businesses grow their brands, market effectively and build their businesses. 

About the Author:

Bill Corbett, Jr., President, Corbett Public Relations, Inc. and Creator of Grow Your Personal Brand. Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm.  For more information go to corbettpr.com or email wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Social Media is Work

Conversation Prism Brian SolisIt’s true.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And social media is no different.  If you want to be successful in social media, you need to work at it.  You can’t just create a Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile, add very little content, and expect people to show up.

Because, unfortunately, people won’t show up.  It’s the same with any retail business.  You can’t hang up a sign, open our doors, and expect people to show up.  It just won’t work.  You need to put in the effort.

My last cliche’ — You get out of social media what you put into it.

So, what do you need to do to be successful in social?  For me, it is a 2 step process:

1.  Find and post great content

2.  Engage with your customers

 

How to Find Great Content

In order to really find content that your audience is interested in, you should watch and listen.  See what they are talking about.  Ask questions.  Even use Polls within Facebook or your e-mail newsletters to find out what they want to learn about.

Once you have an idea what they are interested in, check out sites like StumbleUpon, Alltop, Digg, and Diigo for articles that fit into the categories you’ve decided you’re going to share.

And then share.  And don’t forget to ask that your clients comment and share the articles that are of interest to them.  If you don’t ask, they won’t share.  It’s that simple.

 

Engage With Your Customers

So, you’ve been posting and asking that the articles be shared.  But that is only half the social media battle.  You also need to be engaging with them.

What, exactly, does that mean?  It means replying to their comments, thanking them for sharing, asking questions, and offering help.

Don’t just post articles, pictures, and stories and walk away.  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t meant to be stagnant bulletin boards, where you post a flyer and never look at it again.

This all takes time.  There is no question about it.  But with tools such as Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck, you can spend some time each week scheduling posts, so all that is left is engagement.

Always remember, that if you want people to engage with you, you must do the same.

So, how are you engaging your customers?  What have you found to provide the highest level of engagement?  Which network do you engage with the most?  Sound off in the comments!

 

Resources:

Is Keeping Up Social Media Hard Work? 

5 Tips:  Making Social Media Seem Less Like a Chore and More Like an Investment

Hard Work in Social Media Marketing Does Pay Off

6 Ways Social Media is Like Ironman

Why is Social Media so Hard? 5 Ways to Relieve the Stress 

Image courtesy of:  Brian Solis, The Conversation Prism

IGNITION: Future of Media Conference

This two day conference is coming to New York City November 30th through December 1st, 2011. Exploring the future of media business, IGNITION brings together executives and key stakeholders to discuss what is happening in the here-and-now.

We all understand that the definition of media has begun to expand to include games, local, social, and real-time communications that include sharing and other forms of data exchange. However, this also means that the lines between advice, business, and entertainment, has begun to blur.

Business Insider’s founder and CEO, Henry Blodget, will host IGNITION. One of the goals of IGNITION is to discuss how what is happening now, will affect your business. For this reason, a long list of top-notch speakers covering many media industries will be attending.

  • Glenn Beck – Founder and CEO, Mercury Radio Arts
  • Deep Nishar – SVP of Products and User Experience, LinkedIn
  • Sheryl Sandberg – COO, Facebook
  • Eliot Spitzer – Former Governor, New York
  • Sarah Bernard – Director of Online Engagement, White House
  • Adam Bain – CRO, Twitter

Business Insider designs their conferences the same way they design their media: intriguing and straight to the topic at hand. Discussions are kept short and each moderator or speaker will quickly get to the point. The fast-paced schedule will keep all attendees connecting while learning. IGNITION is expecting an impressive list of 400 to 500 entrepreneurs and executives from all facets of media including print, TV, digital, music, radio, and entertainment.

Attendees should arrive ready to strategize and create new business.

Adam Bain – CRO Twitter

Before he was CRO of Twitter, Adam Bain was the president of Fox Audience Network, or FAN, where he administrated strategies that would help to monetize Fox’s digital properties. He got behind Fox’s largest acquisitions of IGN, Scout Media, Photobucket, and Myspace. Before he held that position, he was the EVP for Product and Technology for Fox Interactive Media.

Bain began at Twitter just as they were gearing up to launch new monetization efforts. Although Twitter has executed minor experiments with advertising, they now want to increase their revenue significantly. With Bain’s proven abilities in that exact area, it seems to be an incredibly good choice for Twitter and for all who use it.

Get Ready for IGNITION: Future of Media

If you plan to attend IGNITION, register now and make sure to input dbmei15 for 15% off the price of admission as a DBMEi subscriber! This IGNITION Discount Code has been created exclusively for dbmei.com readers.

Sources:

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