Profile Pics and Avatars are those details often glided over
One of the most important parts to Online Reputation Management and Social Media probably is the least focused part most of the professional’s online presence. The Avatar, or profile picture is your signature.
It should not only represent you but you should represent it. What does that mean? When we talk about Authentic Web Marketing, if your image sends a message too far away from who you really are it can send mixed signals online and cross currents in for real world encounters.
Every Tweet, every Facebook update, and now with Facebook connect and Google Profiles, every comment carries your Avatar. Each post not only exposes it more but also reinforces the brand that is you.
There have been many articles written on this topic especially when it comes to reinforcing your brand, or about creating the profile pictures in general. There are funny articles that give you great ideas what not to do with your Facebook Page. There are some great articles on how to actually take a great photo.
I will not do into depth about those but I will touch on them later. However, prior to asking you should ask a few questions of your self and those around you.
Four Questions to Successful Avatars:
How do others perceive me and how do I want them to?
Create an anonymous response survey of friends clients and coworkers. This a great personal branding exercise and may have some shocking outcomes. If how you perceive yourself is way off base from the responses or you get some hemming and hawing when asking, you need to have the “Come to Jesus” talk with yourself.
Who are my ideal audiences?
If you are looking to motivate a small group of 22 year olds, a funny face or irreverent drawing of your self might work, but an upright professional portraits most likely will not. DON’T TRY TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE in your profile picture.
How do I want others to take my message?
Are you lighthearted or stern? It will not be the rule for what your are trying to say , but your profile picture will set the tone.
What are the three words I want people to have in their mind when the see my photo?
Narrow it down and remember those three words. You can always revise the three words. The reason I say three words is you WILL remember them. However, after awhile, we all stop paying attention to our profile picture except to nitpick a round face or big head (those are the things I see). If you remember those three words, you will recall the undertone of the message. It will help provide consistency.
On the topic of consistency here are some steadfast rules for Avatars further discussed in other articles.
Remember this IS your first and lasting impression.
Rules for successful and professional avatars
- Be Consistent. Can’t say it enough. BRANDS ARE CONSISTENT.
- Use a professional photographer. Is landing your dream client or job worth a few dollars? Answer the questions above, hire a great professional photographer and the rest is not necessary.
- No Pets. (I am SOO very guilty of this one)
- No Logos for your personal profiles.
- Don’t be tired, sweaty, or angry when taking it.
- RECENT PHOTOS (The professional photographs should not be from a 1992 Olan Mills shoot.)
- Do not use Pixelated images (unless you are Super Mario).
- No Group Photos.(You don’t want your best friend assaulted for your most recent blog post)
- Make sure it is the right format People will say they don’t notice the borders. They do.
- Digital Digital Digital.
- No Animated Avatars (Once Again, Mario is allowed)
- No Glamour Shots. (I REALLY regret those)
- If you dont’t know photoshop, ask a design professional for the correct formats for your media. Mypictr is a great resource too.
Seems like a lot, huh? How many times did you practice your signature in grade school and high school? Which do you do more now, sign your name or email comment on facebook and tweet?