The Best Tips To Creating a Great Profile Image for Yourself.

When was the last time you thought about the message your personal profile image is sending to potential new employers?

Lets start with a question: how many Social Media sites do you currently use? 2…3…6…10? Lucky you! You are part of the masses using Social media on a daily basis in your home, at the office, on your mobile and in the toilet.

Bonus! If you’re reading this article you obvious believe that leveraging social media is an absolute need for both personal and business these days.

Next question: Who believes that first impressions are important? *(Yes that was rhetorical) and I think that goes without saying…

Listen…We’ve all seen the terrible – cringeworthy profile shots that people use on their LinkedInFacebook, Twitter, and other Social Media Networking sites. For me its like nails running down the chalkboard. I want to email them at midnight and ask them – Do you realize how unprofessional you appear, how you are devaluating your personal brand, and immediately eliminating yourself as a candidate for that new position JUST by using the profile image you are currently displaying? NO employer wants to see a picture of you cropped from a larger image (with the ex or party buddies), yellow, dark-underexposed, on vacation, in a bar with your sunnies on, playing footie with your mates, with your dog/girlfriend, LARPING etc. And trust me – they WILL Google you. And they will find you on Social Media – it’s  part of standard HR vetting practices now. Imagine your whole life  – exposed in a click…good and bad. So it’s time to start scrubbing up your online profile.

You may have just graduated from Uni, are entering back into the work force after being a full time mum, or had some life changing event that has propelled you back into the job hunt. Perhaps you are upwardly mobile cosmetic surgeon, barrister, CEO or Executive – consider dropping a few bucks into your local photographers pocket (I personally think that the value you receive from professional headshots will well overtake the monetary investment in the long run if your talking about a 20% pay raise into that new position). If you INSIST on doing it yourself – here are some tips to help you get a great picture.

Consider the Message of Your Profile Image

Does your image show that you are a credible professional, a leader, an authority, an artist, athlete, or just serious partier travelling the world? Take some time to consider what you want to tell people visually in your image; something about you, something personal, something about your story.

Personal Presentation aka Grooming

You need to appear clean, neatly combed and coiffed, ladies – light makeup Dress as your own best representative – are you the modern fashionista the contemporary blog writer, professional athete, powerful corporate lawyer or dental technician? Avoid Loud Patterned shirts, casual t-shirt with rude saying – goes without saying. Try wearing clothing that won’t date as quickly, a simple dress shirt and blazer, muted colors, company logo on your high vis wear.

Location or Background

Do you want to have your picture taken in the Park or the office – Inside vs outside? Both have different lighting and send a different message. An office will seem much more professional, but an athlete may want to portray themselves in the elements in which they are all the time. Environment brings more credibility to an image. Eliminate distractions to the eye like very bright colors, animals, children, signage, building unless they provide some type of context to your story. And remember always – YOU are the single subject of the image. Keep it simple.

Post processing – what you do AFTER you take your image.

Orientation – portrait  (tall), or landscape (wide) or square. Portrait is the more traditional orientation for profile, square is more modern, fun and geared toward social media. Do not use filters or cross processing APPS. Keep your image clean and real. Along these lines as well do not use boarders or text. If available make sure to use meta tags, alt_tags, hashtags, and links if available in your uploads as they will add to your SEO and SERPs

The Final List of No-No’s or ‘How to get a nasty email from me at midnight after I check out all your profile images over the next month:

  • No party pics
  • No vacation pics
  • No family pics ( unless it’s a family business)
  • No pics with gf/bf
  • No sports
  • No events
  • No flash!
  • No sitting in front of your computer generated images

Just a simple focused image with YOU as the primary subject, appearing clean well dressed with no distractions in the image. This will give you a leg up, build trust and confidence in your profile and might even make the difference of you getting that foot in the door initially. Go ahead – use your iphone, ipad, pocket camera, DSLR. Whatever takes pictures for you…But whatever you do remember the KISS Rule. Keep it Simple (Silly).

Why Should You Use Images, Infographics and Videos on your website?

Images get your website noticed and create conversions

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I’ve recently been asked to work with several small businesses in the Melbourne area that have asked me forthright – WHY do we need to have images on our website? Why do we want to have video? What are Infographics, sliding presentations and movement?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Lets go back to basics.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

(Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco) 

It’s an immediate impression that you are making on your client. It’s a feeling, an understanding of experience your clients will receive from you. Are your images professional? Do they represent your product, your environment, and your distinctions?

 

40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

Catch them with a stunning visual then lead them down the path. They will spend more time on your website which in turn leads to more conversions. They feel comfortable now; Let’s throw in the HOOK!

Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts.

(Source: SEOmoz)  

images for websites

We want to be entertained. YouTube is the best example of this, not only for the best funniest videos, but what you probably DONT know is that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Do you have channel? Are you creating interesting videos that you can now imbed on your website about your companies infomercial? Do you have a fabulous behind the scenes video that will entice further, relax, and invite clients to you?
And here’s the biggie: What are you offering for learning and engagement that will lead your customers down the path towards your business. Videos are a GREAT way to build your expertise, give people information, allow them to trust you, and then set in hooks. People are searching for free information. So many people learn online and if you want to guide them into your company, providing free information to get them through the door is an incredibly valuable resource to your future clients.


46% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)

images for websites

Say no more. Images build trust.

On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments, and shares as compared to text, video, and links. (Source: Dan Zarrella) 

Facebook’s algorithm (aka Edgerank) is dead. Keep it relevant, timely, and often. You’re post can be buried in seconds.

“Facebook is improving on its ability to detect high-quality content. In order to best optimize for Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, marketers need to think of social comments the same way we think of content meant for Google and other search engines — in other words, if you want your content to be visible to your target audience, it must be timely, relevant, trustworthy and valuable.”

(source: http://marketingland.com/r-i-p-edgerank-how-to-optimize-for-facebooks-newsfeed-algorithm-61226)

25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos) 

mobile images for web design

Your website HAS to be mobile ready. Estimates are that 75% of web traffic is going to be mobile over the next few years. People are moving away from landlines, network cables. Today it’s all wireless and mobile. So if your site isn’t responsive, and mobile ready you are going to LOSE people, dropping like flies if they cant access what they want, when they want it, how they want it. You must be up to speed and designed for ecommerce and complete functionality by mobile, tablet, ipad etc.

Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer) 

This is self explanatory on the surface, but also consider your services. Perhaps for something that is a little less understood, or intimidating, or downright scared. Being able to familiarize and becoming comfortable with your products will leave your clients feeling safe in your hands and again leading towards website conversion.

Now go get some GREAT images from your local photographer. It will make a difference.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well.

Erin Pimm

 

How to become an online expert (or at least appear that way)

You may not be an expert about the social media, but distinguishing yourself as an expert in your field can gain you the credibility you need to gain readership, offer better SEO traffic, and in the end more conversions on your blog and website.

 Expert business corporate image

Heres are some ideas to get you started on your expert personal brand:

Decide on at niche for your personal brand expertise

Everyone is an expert out there. But competing against the BIG dogs on social media, marketing are going to relegate you pages deep in searches with the hundreds of thousands of other bloggers and Twittering Twerkers out there. Get specific. Gear your articles towards your SEO and specific keyword results and create rich content that other readers will want to backlink to. Your niche will separate you from the other generalists out there specially in the long tailed search strings that are ranking much higher now and will grow in the future.

Your Opinion

People are looking for thier next opinions, and where do they get them if they haven’t had to time to sort it out themselves ? You

Most opinions are based on the last person they talked to or read. It’s a simple statement of fact. Be dramatic, or tow the party line. But be consistent. People will come back to you because of what you offer them in ideas and if they like your personal branded voice. Flip flopping back and forth will not do you an favours and bring a consistent readership to your platforms.  You are also more likely to have reputable sources linking, and retweeting you when you have a steady congruent professional message.

Be Current and topical

In this ever changing super fast world of online digital strategies, it only takes one blink and you are seen as yesterdays news. Making sure you are spending the time to stay current by reading other peoples blogs, news feeds, current policies, and keeping the pulse on the topical conversations (along with your keywords use in all the arenas) will keep your content fresh and relevant. No one wants to read yesterdays news.

Start locally

It seems simple this idea, and its probably the easiest of all. Start with your local city, neighborhood and target local audiences both online and in the real world. Most of us have professional associations we belong to, or networking groups, or local business groups we work with. Reach out to these groups first, establish yourself as an expert locally and build your following here (while cutting your teeth) before you move onto a wider audience both in person and online. Write articles for local papers, post on local business forums, write press releases and talk on the radio, and get out there to local fetes, and community events and engagements.

Guest Blogging

You can find lists of local blogs that are pertinent in your field. Spend some time googling your competition and find out where thier articles are landing up and how. Pick the leaders in your local field and ask them where thier feeds come from, and then write some RICH keyword articles with relevant content. Use an plugin such as Squirrly SEO to help you get the most out of your articles for ranking. And for Pete’s sake, make sure you have spell checked and had someone proof your article. There is NOTHING worse than seeing amateur mistakes going out on national sites, and there is NO excuse for it!

Guilty by Association

Seth GOdin

We all know that you can gain a HEAP of recognition instantaneously by celebrity endorsement. Take the time to consider who in your industry has that celebrity pull (Seth Godin is the first person that comes to mind not to mention the highest raking blog online). Guest blogging is a great way to get some juice from industry leaders and the recognition and backlinking and twitter mentionshelping you with momentous gains in followers! Mentions, direct linking, recommendations, retweets, follows, all add up really quickly in the social media world! Get out and interview the leaders and experts in the field you are wanting to penetrate. Just the request alone will put you on the map as due dilligence leads those experts to check out your validity and even though you might not make the final cut, at least you have introduced yourself as ‘keen and on the scene’.

Just imagine what an endorsement from Brangelina would do for your personal brand!

Lets go start that expert path today and see you in the ‘bright future’.

If you have any  further ideas about creating your expertise personal brand let us know in the comments below!

By Erin Pimm

 

 

 

 

Do you have the time for Social Media?

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My first thought is how could you NOT have the time?

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Social media can be a serious time suck in your daily activities of updating, linking, tracking, retweeting, and posting. With new APPS and ways to connect popping up every other day and your home page on your smart phone laden with collections of smart boxes, you would wonder how many hours a day could you really spend connecting socially through a little hand held computer? Well – its doesnt need to be as daunting as all that, and there are some GREAT ways to exercise your right to speak out to your circles that could only take you moments a day.

I bring you the coallators and aggrigators. Blessed be they that organize your social media strategies and save you hours of posting online.

At the moment I am loving SproutSocial.com. It takes multiple accounts  from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Feedly and LinkedIn and you can then schedule adnd publish all your posts from one location to multiple platforms in seconds if you are well organized. Other great features include Feeds from your social media to aggregate them and offer organized reading and an easy way to keep up on all your social media during the day. Reporting pulls from all your platforms in an easy to read format with interactions and graphs, and aggregates them into one easy group as well. And one of my favorites is Discovery where you can find some great feeds and people to follow based on key words and accounts. Its a great way to manage most of your social medias. Exceptions of course are Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, YouTube and some other majors, but all in all, its fast, super easy and moderately priced for the time you are saving.

I think you cant NOT afford to take the time and keep up on your social media platforms. At midnight as you are burning that last end of the candle, you can line up all your posts for the next day, for the best time to launch for each media, to maximize your exposure and clicks and conversion rates.

Let everyone know you are the expert.

Be top of mind.

Strengthen your brand.

Build your readership.

Maximize your social media.

Be the leader.

 

By Erin Pimm

 

How important are first impressions?

How important are first impressions?

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Statistics say that the average person will make a decision about whether or not they will do business with you within 6 seconds of visiting your website or viewing your profile, and first impressions are within the FIRST second someone. ONE SECOND!

There is no opportunity to make a second impression and seconds truly do count!

Lets translate this to the digital world and your profile and website images.

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov conducted an experiment in which she had people view a microsecond of video of a political candidate. The results showed that 70 percent of subjects were able to make an instantaneus and very accurate about who would win the election…in a NANO second!

So how do we make an impression that is accurate? Here are some ideas:

Intention

You should have a reason for being where you are, when you are. Spend some time considering who you want to meet there and why. Its like previsioning, and its proven that using visualization works towards your end goals. Successful athletes use some form of visualization every day as do businesses,  so start setting aside time every day, pre event and even moment to moment in your interactions.

Adornments

Consider what your suit, watch, shoes, tie, briefcase, and earrings say about you! I know a woman who carries her brochures around in a gold case because she knows how she values her business. Also think about the occassion and location. All require appropriate attire. You do not want to be the odd man out, under, or over dressed. Dress to impress. Im quite knit picky and consider, hair, make-up, nails and polished shoes part of the equation at every meeting I might take.

Body Language

Be open open open. There isn’t much more of a kiss of death than arms crossed in front of you, or standing face to face at an event that says ‘I’m closed off to you”. The next person that walks by could be a potential client, boss, or business partner. Stand at right angles, keep your circle open for newcomers looking to break in, be aware of your posture, how you walk (watch the high heels ladies), make eye contact, have a firm handshake (I cant TELL you how many wet fish I get), and be confident. Your attitude most CERTAINLY shines though in your personal presentation.

Pick Your Good Days

Lord knows we all have em…the funk, the grump, the tired impatient days. So…if you are having one of these, make a choice. Go do something that will get you out of it (nice run in the park, yoga, meditation, a glass of wine on the beach) or simply stay home. If you make a bad first impression (and people will read it on you in a nano second and run) there is little or no recourse to change that.

Get Interested

People want to be heard. The more you ask, the more they will genuinely think you are interesting as well. They may focus the whole time on themselves, but YOU just made a great impression on THEM by listening. Then you can kill them with your wit and gregariousness when you have coffee next week to discuss opportunities. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

And you’re off…good luck and happy networking!

 

By Erin Pimm