If you’re a social media marketer, for yourself or your company, that’s a question you need to answer, says LinkedIn’s connection director Nicole Williams.
Williams gave the Wall Street Journal some key insights into why a profile picture is an essential part of your professional image, and what you need to consider when selecting one.
Why is a profile picture that important?
Williams explained that LinkedIn research shows you’re seven more times likely to have your profile viewed if you have one, and every detail of your photo matters. She says that unless your kids, pets or significant other plays a role in your work life, it’s best to keep them out of your photo. It should be you and you alone, Williams explains.
“Being so strongly identified with your dog or your husband might not be appropriate unless you’re a vet or a marriage counselor and that’s part of your professional image.” Williams tells the Wall Street Journal.
Your style of dress also matters. Williams says your photo needs to mirror what you wear in the work place. Nothing too casual, or glamorous, unless you’re in a line of work where you wear those types of clothes.
“What you don’t want is to meet with a client or walk into an interview and have the person say, ‘I wouldn’t have recognized you, you look so different.’ ” she adds.
A good posture can also help you communicate some powerful non-verbal cues to a prospective client or employer, so she suggests you sit straight, show a nice natural smile, and make sure your eyes are wide open.
“When someone you’re comfortable with is taking your photo, you’re exuding comfort, you’re natural.”
It’s not only profile pictures that you need to think about when trying to portray a professional image. Williams says she goes through her social media pages about once a month and weeds out old photos she’s posted. She’s careful about how many pictures she posts, because too much content can be boring to your followers, she says.
And if it doesn’t relate to her own image, it doesn’t get posted. Routine activities, such as shopping or having a cup of coffee, do not make a professional image. She does occasionally post photos of her young son, to help me come off as an authentic, but not too often.
She is also constantly monitoring what photos her friends tag her in. Pictures of her drinking alcohol, even in a casual setting, are a big no-no for Williams, who untagged herself when a friend posted a picture of her drinking wine at a party.
What does your profile image say? Maybe it’s time for a makeover?