Monday, January 06, 2014

Four Tips to Better Social Media Profile Pictures!

Few can deny that social media is a huge part of post-modern society. Along with each social media conduit comes the profile picture. These icons of the author should be thoughtfully selected to help identify the person or cause to potential readers and followers.

Using the following dos and don'ts will help make your profile pictures work better!

1.0 Pick a picture that is YOU or an image (logo) that represents your cause. This is the best practice. There is a reason they call in Facebook®!
1.1 Couple pictures are okay, sort of, if you have a name that could only apply to one of the people in the picture. If I see a man and a woman pictured and the name is Tony Brown, I'm pretty sure which person is Tony. But if it is a man and a woman in the picture, and the name is Sam Brown--lost again! 
1.2 Parent/child pictures follow the same principles as rule 1.1. If a potential follower cannot tell which of the two (or more) people in the picture is the one named, don't use it.

IF HOWEVER, you just cannot bring yourself to put your actual face or logo on your profile:

2.0 Pick an image that is clearly NOT you. Go with your cat, if you must. Or a sunset.  Or a flower. Whatever...  Just don't pick an image of your neighbor or a relative that someone you have not seen in years would find confusing!
2.1 Don't pick an image of your child, parent, or grandparent!  This is confusing! A while ago, someone using their 15ish year old daughter as their profile picture sent me a private message: "Hi! Remember me?" This person had married and changed her name, so neither the picture nor the name rang a bell.  "Nope, can't say I do remember you."
2.2 Group or buddy pictures--please don't (unless you ARE a group)! Use them in your cover picture, not your profile!
2.3 Don't pick a picture of some random person or celebrity, either. People trying to decide if they know you would just be confused... 

IF you DO use a picture of you:

3.0 Use a picture that actually looks like you look!
3.1 If you are more than 10% older than the picture, update!
3.2 If your weight has changed by more than 10%, update!
3.3 If you have grown or shaved a beard, update! 
3.4 If you have dyed your hair or drastically changed hair styles, update!

Whatever image you use:

4.0 Pick one that is clear and in focus!

The profile picture is meant to introduce you to those who follow or friend you--so they can put the name with a face (or logo). Use these four tips and you will be on the right track!

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