The perfect profile photo for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and more – 5 tips

Earlier today I was reading Buy•ology by Martin Lindstrom and it reminded me of an article I wrote last year on ErnoHannink.nl. With Martin’s book I now found research to support my post.

In Chapter 3 of his book, Martin talks about mirror neurons (Mirror Neuron on Wikipedia). Interesting part of the book on how we experience feelings by looking at others doing something.

True Passion Duchenne Smile

Martin mentions a ‘smile research’ on the effect of joy or happiness on shoppers. Some of the results are:

  • Visiting a shop with a smiling salesclerk gives you more happy feelings
  • A smiling salesclerk makes you want to visit the shop again

Then Martin refers to a fmri-research by Tsukiura and Cabeza showing photos of smiling and neutral looking people. For the testpanel it was easier to remember the names of the photos with smiling people.

We are drawn to people that smile and we want to remember the names of people that are nice to us, just in case we meet them again.

5 tips for your perfect profile photo that attracts clients:

1. Smile

Duchenne smiles Smile on your profile photo so people want to remember your name and you create likability.

Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki) writes in ‘Enchantment’ about how you can get ‘likability’. For me building trust is really important, people need to trust you before they want to buy from you. So people need to like and trust you.

When you approach people with a smile on your face, you will notice that the other person will be more open and often starts smiling too. This has a lot of effect on your first meeting with this person. Test it at the next networking event you visit.

The same is true for first virtual meetings. A photo that clearly shows you with a smile will be received with more confidence.

With a real and open smile we use 2 muscles in our face:

  • Zygomatic major muscle (which raises the corners of your mouth)
  • Orbicularis oculi muscle (which raises the cheeks and forms “crow’s feet” around your eyes)

This kind of open smile is called the ‘Duchenne smile’ and indicates genuine emotion. Named after the French physician Guillaume Duchenne.

Make sure you have a beautiful ‘Duchenne smile’ on the photo that you use for your online profiles to gain likability and makes people want to remember your name.

The photo for your identification (drivers license, ID, passport) does not make a good profile photo since you don’t smile on it.

2. Show your Face

face in the picture Use a photo with as much of your face as possible in the frame. A face is the most important point how people recognize and remember you, thus trust you.

A photo where you are completely in the frame, tells us something about the way you dress, maybe about what you do, where you are, your posture, but we can hardly see your face.

A profile image with a logo is more business like and therefor less reliable. On a profile with a logo we expect more marketing talk and less real conversations. Social networks are all about real conversations. Interactions between people.

Use a profile photo where we can see your face.

3. Large profile photo

On Twitter you can upload an image of maximum 700kb. On Facebook and LinkedIn there is an upload limit of 4 Mb. On YouTube maximum size is 1600×1600 pixels.

Most of the profile images or avatars are square. When you upload a rectangular photo you need to crop the image on the site. You can also edit your photo and make it square before uploading. Use software like paint.net or Snagit to do this.

Save the profile image with a filename that includes your name and file size, i.e. firstname-lastname-400×400

Formats: jpg, png or gif.
An overview of the displayed sizes for the most important social network sites.

Twitter timeline: 48 x 48px
Twitter profile: 128 x 128px

LinkedIn timeline: 50 x 50 px
LinkedIn profile: 80 x 80px

Google+ timeline: 48 x 48 px
Google+ profile: 200 x 200 px

Facebook timeline: 50 x 50 px
Facebook profile: 180 x 180 px
Facebook page: 180 x 180 px

YouTube timeline: 46 x 46 px
YouTube profile: 88 x 88 px

The images are shown in these sizes on the timeline or your profile. You can prepare your profile photo of 400 x 400 px of about 500kb. This size can be used on all platforms and the site will reduce the photo to the above mentioned dimensions.

The advantage of uploading a larger sized photo is that there is a larger photo with higher quality connected to the profile photo. When people click the profile photo they will see the originally uploaded photo.

4. Consistency

Use the same profile photo on all the social networks. Use the same username on all the social networks.
This way people can always find and recognize you in all the networks.

When people are getting into a new social network they are looking for familiar faces to connect. When you use the same photo, people will connect with your more easily. Consistency builds trust.

Using the same photo builds trust.

Often I hear “I see you everywhere.” This means that they see my profile photo on the social networks they are using.

5. Gravatar

A good solution to get consistency on your profile photo while commenting on blogs, is Gravatar. On this platform your profile photo can be connected to one or more email addresses. When you comment on a blog and the blog uses Gravatar, your profile photo will be shown next to your comment.

Gravatar is owned by Automattic, the same people of WordPress.com. This means that when you comment on a WordPress blog or hub that it often will use the profile photo that you uploaded to Gravatar.

Use Gravatar to be recognized with your comments.

Ribbons and logos

There are times that people want to show they support something by using Ribbons.

Ribbons profile photo Twibbon and PicBadge are sites where you can add a ribbon or batch to your profile photo.

For most of these ribbons I have no clue what these mean or what you support. Do you?

Limit the usage of ribbons or batches on your profile photo. The photo is already small and with the ribbon you might draw away the attention from your face.

Your face is unique. A way to be different. Use it.

Comparison of different profile photos

See some profile photos in this presentation of Social Media Hive. Find out what profile photos you favor and use that when you create your profile photo.

Source:

Credit Photo: True Passion by Uggboy

Do you change your profile photo

Do you change your profile photo often?
Do people recognize you from your profile photo when they meet you in person?

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Comments

  1. thanks erno, This is a really useful post, and I would like to add to it – how to conjure up that genuine smile at will! http://knowboundaries.nl/have-you-smiled-yet-today/

Trackbacks

  1. […] you know there is a whole body of science behind smiling that proves this even more (hat tip to blogger Emo Hannink for pointing this out)? In the article The Psychological Study of Smiling, Eric Jaffe talks about […]

  2. […] people want to see your face, as they like to interact with real people. And smile for the camera! Smile research shows people are more likely to remember you if they meet you when you’re smiling. Better […]

  3. […] an engaging and trustworthy human being, not a distant, faceless brand. What’s more, smile. Smile research shows people are more likely to like you and remember you if they meet you when you’re […]

  4. […] an engaging and trustworthy human being, not a distant, faceless brand. What’s more, smile. Smile research shows people are more likely to like you and remember you if they meet you when you’re smiling. […]

  5. […] For more information see, The perfect profile photo for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and more – 5 tips […]

  6. […] you know there is a whole body of science behind smiling that proves this even more (hat tip to blogger Emo Hannink for pointing this out)? In the article The Psychological Study of Smiling, Eric Jaffe talks about […]

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