The rise in the importance of social media in the business sector has created challenges and opportunities for both clients and portrait photographers. There is the opportunity now to upload to each social media platform a profile photo or avatar giving the viewer that all important first impression of the person they are communicating with.
Easy enough but don’t let the sometimes passive nature of social media lull you into a warm fuzzy space where you do indeed lose sight of the fact that first impressions are no more important than in this arena.
Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are all valid platforms for Business social media. Keep in mind though that as a business, you need strike that balance between “chatting” and presenting information about your business. There are some definate does and don’ts when it comes to presenting an appropriate image of yourself and your company. Never leave the image space blank or use the platforms default avatar. This sends some pretty obvious messages, you can’t be bothered, not confident or haven’t got around to it. Whatever conclusions people will draw from this omission the simple fact is people will not engage with you. Stay away from cartoons, caricatures, family photos with the pet Schnauzer or an old wedding photo with the wife cropped out. Your best option is a well photographed image of you looking down the barrel of a lens, making that all important eye contact with your viewer.
For business though, LinkedIn is the main social media platform for business and it is here that you must have the correct style of image that communicates effectively the image you wish to portray and the sector your business is in.
LinkedIn is full of professional people using less than professional images and yes I have seen the odd wedding snap used as profile pic.
There are a couple of style that work well for LinkedIn.
The first is the classic studio shot with a nice clean background and an evenly lit subject and is a perfectly acceptable professional linkedIn photo.
We can spice it up a bit with moving off a static background and incorporating branding elements.
Finally we have a combo of both concepts. In this profile image the client was shot against a custom background designed for the firm incorporating their corporate colours. A great idea that ensures consistency of imagery across a large organisation.
Whatever style, do it right the first time, present the image that is representative you and your business and make that first impression count.