Okay, I’m not looking for a date with an eligible bachelor! I’m already taken. But I once stumbled upon (wink) an interesting statement on none other than the famous online dating site e-harmony that I must share with you:
“Profile pictures can tell your story. If done well, your profile pictures can act as a photo album of your life, illustrating the different layers that make you such a great catch.”
I was in the midst of answering a question to a fellow mompreneur. She was puzzled as to keeping her profile picture online and wished to find out whether I had gotten any creepy messages over my profile picture. Valid concern online.
I answered with the utmost honesty:
“I get many comments about my smile, from both men and women, and very respectfully stated, I must add.” I admitted to getting flirty messages now and then, and assured her the trolls can be blocked anyway.
I felt like she was asking for advice, but if she wasn’t, she got it anyway. I knew she needed to hear it… and that is my passion! It feels like I’m always coaching – in every conversation. It’s part of my DNA.
I encouraged her to take advantage of the branding power of a profile picture. I always insist on this piece and make sure the moms I coach and mentor know how powerful a simple image can be to create a desire in others to get to know more about you, to make a contact, to establish a connection, to engage in conversation.
“People want to do business with real people (real people they know, like, trust and have a product/service that makes THEIR lives easier).
Whether you are trying to connect with possible partners or prospect clients, they need to know who you truly are and what is important to you. You become relatable to them as a human being.”
Amusingly enough, I was searching for an article on profile picture tips for her, because I hadn’t written one, and e-harmony.com about “how to make your profile picture more attractive” came up (I am not endorsing online dating, nor have I done it; though, I can appreciate that some people do).
At first I thought, “wow, that is crazy!” Then I thought, it really makes sense that branding, could be a lot like online dating. If you’re skeptic about it, then consider this: if people search for a significant other online, don’t you think they’d search for an expert?
I particularly liked e-harmony’s advice to:
“let your personality shine, underscore your interests and give a glimpse into your life”.
This is amazing advice for your brand! Ask yourself these three questions about branding:
1. When your prospect is searching online, will you stand out as a great catch?
2. Will you be the fortunate one to “take them out”?
3. Will they be interested enough to want to be “in a relationship” with you?
When I moved to the United States, the dating system was very foreign to me. In our cultures, the boy comes to your house and taking you out happens after your mom and dad know everything there is to know about him AND his family, and there is a wedding date set (well, it’s actually not that bad LOL). So my point is, even though I was a single-working-devoted mom and didn’t date, it made sense to compare the selling process to dating in this culture.
1. You say hi and get their name
2. You get their e-mail address or phone number
3. You go out for hot tea and you listen to what they’re looking for, and they find out you could be “The One.” Roles switch.
4. Both develop a trusting, fun, and mutually beneficial relationship
5. The relationship continues as long as it keeps meeting each side’s needs
Online, the selling process starts with that very picture on your social media profile or in your website’s bio section.
“The single most important first impression you make is with the 3600 to 5000 pixels you get for your tiny picture.” ~ Seth Godin
While some of the e-harmony.com tips don’t really apply to finding your ideal customer online (well, at least that’s true for me), I agree with these elements being important: simplicity, scenery, lighting, eye contact and, yes, honesty!
Many people use the excuse that “Everyone knows this picture of me, even if it’s 15 years old, it’s my personal branding” (Elayna clears her throat in a very ladylike manner). The purpose of the picture is not to make you look pretty, but to get your brand seen, KNOWN, and heard.
So how can your profile picture improve your brand and make a favorable impression? It communicates that you are a great catch, because you are serious about your brand, about your image, about your identity.
My recommendations? I thought you’d never ask!
- Get your picture taken by a professional. Your dream is worth that investment.
- Use a white or neutral background, and wear your brand colors.
- Crop out useless elements (but do keep your limbs), and use props wisely.
- Go solo, unless there is a purpose that aligns with your brand name.
- Don’t strike a pose! Do show off your passion. Your personality is the ultimate marketing plan.
Are you a great catch? Does your expertise help others solve problems and reach goals? Say it with your brand picture!
I’d love to hear about your business / brand profile photos. How much did you invest in planning, shooting, or choosing your current photo? I look forward to your comments below!