Are you branding yourself with a cartoon or anime as your profile photos in your social media accounts? That's not good business, even if your business is creating cartoon avatars for other people. That's what a portfolio is for, but not your own profile photo.
Some people head to a cartoon creator site and turn their photos into cartons. Or they're rarely on the computer generated avatar for members who have not bothered to upload their own photos.
That might be okay for your personal Facebook page or a general, non-business blog.
But it's not okay if you're branding yourself as a professional business person, no matter what type of business you're in.
" Profile photos are so essential to modern communication that a good one's become a basic necessity. And that could not be truer than for those of us whose professional lives are tied to social media profiles," says Ann Pierce of PhotoFeeler.com.
Obviously, different sites call for different profile photos. You might want to put a "sexy" image on a dating site, but that same image will not be well on a business Facebook Fan page, LinkedIn or IBOToolbox.
And especially if you're looking for a new job or looking to make business connections online, your photo can actually make or break a first impression.
Here are some tips from Stephanie St. Martin, Contributor to Care.com, for creating photos for your social media profiles:
People are looking to connect with you immediately and get a sense of your personality. You should think of your picture as your online "first impression." You want to pick a happy and memorable picture of you.
No, we do not mean it was taken by a professional. Use a shot that you would put on a job application, not a dating website or Facebook profile page. You do not want anything that's provocative, reveal too much skin or looks like you're unprofessional. You do not want anything that you took in a car or another strange setting. Choose a photo that you would put on LinkedIn or be comfortable giving your boss. Remember: You want your picture to show maturity and trustworthiness.
You'd be surprised by the number of fuzzy shots we see. Or pictures that were clearly taken by the provider holding the camera at arm's length (often in the car), otherwise known as a "selfie." Ask a friend to take your picture, using a camera with a good resolution. Face the camera and look straight at the lens. Do not wear sunglasses or hide your face in anyway. Hiding your face makes it seem like you have something to hide.
Do not upload a shot of you with any friends or family members – especially for your main photo. It's too confusing which person you are. If you love the shot, try to crop your friend out, but if it's not possible, take a new picture. If this photo is one of your additional pictures on your profile page, just make sure it's clear which person you are.
Animal lovers love to show off theirs. But your main profile picture should not simply be a picture of your four-legged friend. People are not interested in doing business with your pet – they're looking to connect with you! Make sure you are the focus of the photo. Feel free to include pictures of your pets in your secondary shots.
We all love photos with fun borders and creative effects. But sometimes, strange formatting makes it hard for others to see you.
"At the end of the day, your profile picture needs to be appropriate and professional. So take the time to make a great first impression and get a profile picture that rocks! "
Source: "The Perfect Profile Photo" by Ann Pierce
Source: "Is Your Profile Picture Hurting Your Job Search?" by Stephanie St. Martin, Contributor to Care.com