Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Social Media Dos and Don’ts of Great Profile Pictures

With every tweet, wall post, YouTube video, LinkedIn discussion and Facebook check-in, our online appearances are worth more than we might think. And with how valuable social media is with networking and job searching, it’s important to have the best online impression possible!

CBS did a segment about “putting your best foot forward inthe social media world” with some Do’s and Don’ts about profile pictures. It’s about a five-minute long discussion about what most of us already know. I agree with the advice, like “don’t have inappropriate or nude photos,” no cartoons, and avoid keg-stand poses – duh, that’s pretty obvious.   

So future bosses, co-workers, friends, family and even potential lovers, are going to be looking at your social media pages – but that doesn’t mean you have to hide yourself. Your profile still needs to represent the real you! So, how can you keep your profile pictures on a professional level while still letting your personality shine?  

After some research, casual googling and personal experience, here are my dos and don’ts of great profile pictures.  

Do sparkle and shine. Smile! Social cues 101: you never walk into a job interview, date or party without a smile. Same thing applies to your profile picture. A smile lets people want to click on you and learn more.

Some facial expressions you want to avoid are: kissy lips, throwing up the gangsta deuces and the serious-I’m-trying-to-be-sexy face. Unless you’re a Victoria’s Secret angel or auditioning to be a Vegas show girl, it’s best to stick to smiles.      

Do show your interests and activities. A picture is worth a thousand words, so why not show off your favorite hobbies and unique interests. You love to travel around the world? Great, show it off with the picture of you at the top of Mount Everest or skiing in the Alps. OK, we haven’t all been to Everest, but you know what I mean. Your picture should make people excited to get to know you. Show what you love – and remember to keep smiling. 

But don’t show every interest. Let’s be honest, our profile picture isn’t the place for showing that you know how to get down and do “the wobble” every Friday night or have a butterfly tattooed on your hip. Those are things I’d keep on the down-low.    
Be real. So you do like to wobble? Well don’t hide your fun, goofy side. Have pictures laughing with your friends, dancing at the beach, playing with your dog, running a marathon, cheering at a football game – show yourself. Just remember to keep it PG and smile.  

And be creative. Adobe Photoshop, Picnik, or even Instagram are great ways to edit photos and add your own flavor to them. For more creative ideas and incorporating Facebook’s new cover image,  check out these 10 FacebookTimelines That Will Blow You Away.

So, is your social media profile picture the best it can be?  

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