What does your profile picture say about you? Your photo is a large part of your personal brand* online. For many, that 1by 1 inch square image is the only way people know how to identify you. It is the way you are recognized by everyone across the Internet. Close your eyes and visualize your profile photo.
OK, good. The first question – is the picture a picture of you? Do you use the same photo across all channels? Is it a professional head shot or a snapshot you took on your phone? I have seen everything from action shots to wedding photos to goofy party pictures, mine I just recently changed. In the old photo, I took a pic of myself in the mirror the night I got new glasses. The new photo is a big change from that, but I feel it is more professional looking and attention grabbing. (A friend of mine and I decided we were going to both change our profile photos to ring in the new year) I keep it the same across all my channels so that people are able to recognize me (and my content) right away. I am curious to see if the change in how I am seen online will have an affect, if any, on the way my personal brand is seen.
Your photo is, for the most part, is the only version of you people will get to see. There are no set rules** for what a profile photo ‘needs’ to be, we are all realtors in 1987 with the same jacket and same pose. You should however make sure that your photo projects the realest image of you that can. It should be a clear and easily recognizable photo of you. Include something of your personality in the pic if you can. Are you a food blogger? Use a photo of you in the kitchen. A musician? Include your instrument in the photo with you.
*For more thoughts on personal branding read: “12 Most Valuable lessons about personal branding I learned from Reality TV”
**Actually, I do have one rule for you. Do. Not. Ever. Use an animated GIF as your profile photo. If I see you flashing in my feed I will immediately unfollow you.