What Your Social Media Photo Says About You

July 09, 2013 by Linda Anger

Social Media Profile Photo What does your Social Media Photo Say About You?

Maybe you think that photo of you and the grinning kids at the beach shows your "fun side." Maybe you think a sardonic smile and half-wink makes you look sophisticated.

The truth about Social media profile pictures is that it doesn’t matter what you think. What matters is how you are perceived as a result of that photo – and the impact it can have on your business or job prospects.

In a recent blog post, DuctTape Marketing’s John Jantsch says “Don’t settle for that phone ‘selfy’ bounce shot off the mirror or the ‘look how arty I can be’ shot… get a series of professional shots done."

The First Impression Factor

Ron J. Williams, CEO of Knodes & SnapGoods, and one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People In Business, says business networking is a lot like dating, and the online dating industry has tons of data on the impact of a first impression.

The Dating Site OKCupid did a study in 2010 that looked at the number of contacts made based on three factors of the photos:

  • Attitude. Are you smiling? Looking into the camera or away from it? Are you flirting?
  • Context. Where are you? Is there alcohol, a pet, or other people in the photo? Are you inside, or outdoors?
  • Skin. How much skin is showing? How much face?

They found that a small change in “facial attitude” increased contacts as much as 30%. The really fascinating part is what worked best based on gender:

  • Women smiling directly into the camera received more contacts than those that looked away from the camera.
  • Photos of men facing away from the camera and not smiling drew more response than those that smiled into the camera.

The study also shows that traditional headshots get better results than the one in your waders with the big fish you just caught, or the cuddled-up-with-your-pooch shots. No matter how you look at it, first impressions count, whether the viewer is looking for a date, vetting you for a job offer, or considering doing business with you.

Take a fresh look at your Social Media profile Photo. What does it say about you? Is that the impression you wish to give?

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Marketing through Social Media