One of my smart clients said something very smart to me the other day. He pointed out that only a few years ago it used to be seen as sort of cheesy to have your picture up on the web – that it would turn people off. But all of a sudden it’s just the opposite. Nowadays if you use the default avatar (which is almost always shadow box outline of a gray head) you simply aren’t taken that seriously.
Show you care
If you don’t have a picture (or at least an identifiable avatar) it just looks like you aren’t taking wherever you are – be it LinkedIn, Twitter, a group forum, or even your own website – all that seriously. A picture shows not only that you’re ‘real’ but also that you cared enough about where you were interacting to set up house a bit.
Having the same picture or avatar wherever you go is also a great way for people to start recognizing you when they ‘see’ you different places. Names are often similar (if not the same) and don’t tend to stick with folks like a picture. If they see my mug on this blog and then it pops up again on Twitter then it’s like – “hey, I KNOW you!” And isn’t that the feeling we’re all going for out in the eWorld?
Put your best foot forward
Ok, this is a delicate subject, but what if you don’t like looking at yourself all that much? Outside of some therapy, I can suggest using a clever character photo, a cartoon version of yourself, or some icon that you feel represents you in a unique way. Please don’t steal the photo of a Swedish model and pretend it’s you. You will never be able to show your face at a Tweet up that way, and haven’t we all learned a few lessons from Hollywood romantic comedies?
On a slightly similar note, no matter what you look like, unless you are going for a “serial killer” image please don’t post that photo you took of yourself with your iPhone in your gray basement at 2 am. You know who you are. Get some good lighting, a clean shirt and a buddy with a real camera and snap some shots of yourself looking cool and confident. Then go out onto the web and make some new friends.
What do you think? Serious corporate mug shot or a photo of your new puppy?
Keep it the same everywhere or change it up?
About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, solution briefs and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at www.smartb2bmarcom.com.