If you walked in to a coffee shop to meet a new client, would they recognize you? Would they connect the person walking in the door with the one they had seen on your website? If I passed you in the hall at a conference after talking to you online for the past 6 months, would I know who you are? If I followed your blog and then connected with you on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram – would I see you there?
You need to have a photograph of you on your website. It is how your clients and your site visitors will connect with you. More importantly? That photo needs to look like YOU. Today.
Not you 10 years ago. Not you on your wedding day. Photographers, not you with a camera blocking most of your face. Not your kids, your dog, or your favorite flower. YOU. Right now. As you are.
Brand YOU with the same photograph on your blog & all of your social media accounts. Be recognizable! <<Click to Tweet!>>
Having the same avatar photo across all of your social media properties helps people on a subconscious level connect with you. Over and over, they are seeing your face. It is building brand recognition, and connection. Isn’t that what we all want, after all?
Your photo is also another place to represent your brand. Let’s take my photo for example – what can you guess about my branding just from seeing that? I am vivacious and adventurous. I am bold. A little loud. I stand out in the crowd. I’m perfectly ok with the fact that I have gray hair, or as I call it “sexy silver”. These things are also all cores of my photography brand – I want you to be authentic, see your beauty, and be confident about it. I want you to be a little daring and push your limits, exploring what just might happen if you step out of bounds.
If my photo had been edited to be very soft, I was wearing more muted clothing, I had on a more neutral lipstick and I wasn’t looking so directly at the camera – it would completely change the feeling that you have when you see my photograph.
My clothing choice for that photo and the lipstick was very intentional. I like to wear bold bright colors. I wear a lot of black clothing because I like the contrast with my hair, but I pair it with a bold scarf or necklace a lot of times. I am my brand. A walking embodiment of it, and it all starts when you connect with that photograph.
My husband deserves all the props for that photo, by the way. I had him take photos of me; I handed over my camera and directed from in front of the lens. At one point, he told me to wait a minute, he had an idea – and that was the one frame he took that I didn’t direct. He nailed it – he showed exactly what you see.
I get it. It is hard because you like to change your Facebook avatar weekly, but every time you do that? I have to look twice when I see your posts there. I’m missing the visual cue that quickly tells me it is you. If you use a different image on all of your web properties, that is what you’re doing to your clients. Each time, they have to ask themselves “is that the same person”? Help them make the connection more easily.
Your Homework Assignment – Brand YOU
Find a current photo that you love of yourself, or have a new one taken. Yes, get out the camera, hand it over, and have someone else take a new one of you if you need it. You can even take it with the phone. Whatever works for you. Your BIG GOAL is to make sure it is recognizable, and represents your brand well. Think about the colors you are wearing and if they coordinate with your branding. Think about how you want the photograph to feel – are you lighthearted and fun? Vivacious? Elegant & timeless? Cosmopolitan? Whatever fits YOU and what you want your brand to evoke, go for that feeling in the photograph.
Once you have your new picture, go post it EVERYWHERE. Make it your Gravatar, put it on Facebook, use it on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, wherever you are online. Change it on Skype. Any place you can put a photo, change it out. Brand yourself. When you post it, tag it with #BrandYou so we can all come see it!
Bonus Tip: add your photograph somehow on your business card if you can. Later on, it will be quick & easy for people to remember who you are if they see your face there. People tend to remember faces before they remember names!
When you’re all done, come back here and share your blog link – I want to visit so I can see your face!
If you want to read more on the psychology of how we connect with faces, this article on What’s In a Face on Psychology Today is fascinating.