Sunday, 18 March 2012

A picture says 140 Characters

So. Your picture. Is it really you? Would I recognise you if I saw you in the street? Let's be honest, we're all vain, we all want to look our absolute best possible, but if it looks nothing like you, then the first impression you make meeting someone in real life will be 'oh. They don't look like their photo' rather than 'awesome, I've been looking forward to meeting you'.

I spoke yesterday about names. I said that you needed to embrace the fact that you are a small business, and that you have the ability to give a better customer service than a big companies. That you shouldn't hide behind the 'wall' of your brand.

That means, basically, use your own photo, not your logo. Be YOU, not a logo, allow people to feel they are connecting with you, not your company. Leave the logo on your website, where it belongs! Ask Michelle Dalley of Creating Media what happened when she changed her photo from a logo into a photo of herself. You can find her on twitter @creatingmedia or @missdalley.

So. Rules for your photo to think about when taking it, or if possible having it taken (mine was done by the fabulous Maz Hawes of Light and Day Photography or @lightndayphoto on twitter.

1. Most photos are viewed on a handheld device. I was following someone for 2 years before I clicked on her photo. What I thought was a flower was actually her in a dress. Because it was so full length it didn't shrink well to fit the avatar space.

2. Make sure it's just you in the photo. If there's more than one of you, how is anyone supposed to know which is you?

3. Don't use 'sexy' photos. This is meant to be representing your business. I don't want to see you in a sexy pose, I won't take you seriously. Those awful pictures taken from above giving hideous come hither eyes into the camera are such a turn off. They're AWFUL and not professional. I want to do business with you, not go to bed with you!

4. Smile! I hate my smile, I hate my smile even more in photos, I was cajoled and teased into smiling for Maz, and actually in the end, because they were natural smiles and laughs, I am happy with them. It's welcoming for people flicking through, and immediately gives off a warmth.

5. What's in the background? Where are you? If you have a tree coming out of your head, or a rail running through it, it's going to look weird. If you're in a bar or somewhere distinguishably casual, again it doesn't say 'professional'.

It may well be social media, as I keep saying, but if you are representing your business as well as yourself, you need to think carefully about what image you are portraying, and as we are such visual creatures, you need to make sure the first thing we see isn't of you and your friends doing sexy pouts into the camera in a bar. Or worse, a logo!

Happy tweeting, sorry for being so bossy! xxxx

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