Dress For The Occasion, Profile Pictures Are Not One-Size-Fits-All
If you understand the importance of a great headshot for your profile picture, you're already one step ahead of most people. But what if I told you it's important to have more than just one profile picture?
Do any reading on personal branding and you'll hear a lot about consistency, but that doesn't mean your visual identity has to look the same everywhere I find you online.
People will sometimes ask... "Should I use the same profile picture on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Website, Publications, etc...?"
Of course, there's nothing necessarily wrong with doing that as long as its a fantastic headshot, but I think there's an opportunity to make your headshot investment count for more.
Dress For the Occasion
No-one ever looked bad showing up to their neighborhood BBQ wearing a three-piece suit and impeccably polished shoes, but I'd argue it would be a little uncomfortable and make you stand out in a way that feels awkward.
I'd say the same about a profile picture. You might have a killer business headshot, but put that thing on Facebook and you may look a little out of place. You may also be perceived as one-dimensional and having a lack of understanding around the context of the platform.
When so many first impressions are now occurring online, treat your profile picture the same way you would dress yourself each day and be mindful of the platform upon which you're using it. Maybe its a collared shirt (and possibly tie) with a jacket on LinkedIn, and a nice t-shirt on Facebook, but both professional high-end headshots that invoke a positive reaction.
Be Memorable, For the Right Reasons
Reading above you might think I don't want you to stand out. That couldn't be further from the truth, I just want you to stand out for the right reasons.
Let's go back to our neighborhood BBQ for a moment. Would you rather be remembered as the weird guy that arrived in a business suit, or for your insightful conversation and maybe even your amazing BBQ beans recipe?
It's important to figure out how you want to be memorable. When it comes to your profile picture, you can be memorable through the quality of your headshot and the feeling that headshot evokes within the viewer. If you look like someone who has invested in themselves, even for Facebook and you appear interesting and engaging, you're going to be far ahead of the pack.
Mix It Up
Even if you feel you can look the same on every platform/medium with your profile picture, it can still be beneficial to have a set of images that allow you to mix it up a little.
Instead of updating one image every couple of years when its time for a new headshot, have a selection of images that allow you to swap them out periodically to keep things fresh. Profile picture changes are some of the most engaged with social media posts. You'd be surprised what a quick swap of a profile picture can do to keep you top of mind.
So there you have it… if you have one killer headshot you're off to a good start, but think bigger the next time you're looking to update.
When seeking out a headshot photographer, look for one that can work with you to produce a variety of looks that retain a consistent representation of you. One way to do this is to dig a little deeper than the surface portfolio that typically only has one shot of each person. Look for blog posts that recap session highlights and look at how the photographer displays the ability to build a portfolio of images around an individual, giving them a variety of looks and/or expressions that are consistent with their individual brand.