If you want people to know you, they have to SEE you!
Choosing the right photo of yourself and using it consistently can be one of the easiest and most effective things you can do right now to provide a foundation for you personal branding strategy. Here are a couple tips on using the right photo to represent you and your personal brand.
The easiest way to instantly lose credibility with prospective customers or clients is to showcase an unprofessional photo. When I visit a new website, or even a twitter page, the first thing I look at is the photo. It bothers me when I see professional people using unprofessional photos. I instantly think that if they didn’t take the time to present themselves professionally, why would they take the extra steps necessary to impress me as a client?
Now, professional doesn’t mean “stuffy.” You want your photo to represent you the way you are, but in a clean and clear way. For example, if you are a corporate lawyer, an executive or a financial advisor, etc., most people would expect to see clean-cut with a suit and tie. If you’re personal brand is to be a “financial rock star,” then maybe you’re dressed more loosely, etc. The attire doesn’t really matter – it just needs to match your personal brand and should always be professional. The cost of getting a professional photo can pay dividends in the long run. You know what they say about first impressions!
With so many places online to represent yourself, it is extremely important to be consistent with your photos. Once you get a professional photo shoot, I suggest choosing 2 or 3 of your favorite, preferably with the same background and/or attire. This way, you can spread these images out across twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc without using the same photo, but keeping the same theme throughout. I would also suggest these photos being the same ones that are used on your website.
You want to be consistent with your photos in the same way you are consistent with your marketing message. Using a quality photo to build your personal brand is the first image and impression that people get of you. It’s easy to do, and it could mean the difference between a “walk in the door” or just a “drive-by.”