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).

Want to get the BEST bang out of your BUCK with Social Media?

Social Media on a Budget

Let’s face it. You could spend a TON of money on social media, Google AdWords, CPC’s trying to get unqualified leads to turn over to your camp all the while begging for the conversions and leads. It doesn’t need to be this way. AND you do have to put some time and energy into this to find some cheaper (read: YOU) labor to get your campaigns running full tilt as well as pinching your pennies and minutes as a small business owner (I say this from experience).

I have some ideas for you that you can work on during your weekends and evenings so that your days stay free to help your clients and customers and help pinch a few pennies. SEO Social Media guys are running rampant these days. Everyone wants a guru on their team and little do they want to pay the going rate for these media magicians. NEWSFLASH!! You can do most of this yourself! If you have the inclination, and there aren’t THAT many of you out there that ENJOY this like me (lest I blog on more…) so lets start with some pretty easy ideas that you can implement over the next month.

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Twitter

Did you know that you can pay to promote your Tweets? Ya. That was a bit of a jaw dropped recently for me. Here’s how it works: Pay for tweets when you want the added exposure. Again. Be careful about what you are paying for. You want to make sure that you have amazing content that someone is going to want to engage with and share and drive more traffic to your website, have coupons, offerings and have sales and giveaway campaigns. Pick your promotions carefully because your tweets WILL show up clearly as a PROMOTED Tweet, but they can be engaged with, shared, favourite and retweeted just as any other ordinary tweet.

So make it stand OUT…we need to go beyond the ordinary on this one! If want to work on brand recognition, you can use this method for your blog, content marketing (YES!), partner marketing, events and even more brilliant to connect with key influencers in your marketplace.

Use your hashtags, your tinyurls, @’s, .’s Here are some best practices for your tweets

Facebook Campaigns

We all know that Facebook is a great place to be. Its free to join, free to post, free this and free that. This has been fabulous up until the past 6 months where your posts are getting buried faster and more furious as the lifespan of posts is shortened dramatically.

The reason? Facebook WANTS you to spend money with them on campaigns, to get higher visibility, for more impressions and oh ya lay your wallet out for all the ads. Of course it’s a money making adventure. Mark Zuckerberg aint no dummy and either are its stock holders, so prepare to pay dearly these days to run a well seen campaign either for your branding recognition or campaign offers. AND…there are some less expensive options for the world’s largest Social Media site. Just a few dollars a week and some GREAT CONTENT will really engage people, get them talking, conversating…staying…and pushing that LIKE button for you. The more they engage, the more your posts stay up top, the better your Edgerank, and the circle perpetuates.

So pick perhaps 2 posts a week that you want to get some traction on and throw a couple of dollars at it. IT WORKS as long as you are asking great questions, and providing excellent content.

**Make an offer for a check in like a little chocolate heart this week in honour of Valentines Day?

Blogging

There are hundreds of reasons why you should be blogging, but in the interest of keeping this readable on the train or in between coffee breaks, Ill keep this short and to the point. Blogs help you spread, your content, ideas, help far and wide. They establish your authority, you can use them to post across all your social media to bring in new followers and its GREAT for your SEO and SERP (Web ranking). Find a plugin like Squirrley SEO (my personal fave) that will help you optimize your articles for content and SEO and get posting!

 

YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is now the worlds largest search engine? Google aint no dummies here. Chew on this Jim:

• More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month

• We have more than a million advertisers using Google ad platforms, the majority of which are small businesses (http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html)

Paying even a few dollars for your videos can return awesome results. But you have to optimise your YouTube videos. James Wedmore is a personal guru of mine and if you follow his simple steps, you will be the king of your niche in a very short time.

Instagram

“MarketingProfs reports that 67% of top brands are now using Instagram, reaching more than 100 million active monthly users on the network. That’s a 500% increase in users since last year, according to research from Simply Measured. “   – Cursive Content

Do your research and find people of influence in your niche and tag them. Find some great partners to work with and tag back and forth to encourage and cross promotion traffic FOR FREE!

“Include captions that show your humour & wit, or to add some context to your photo.” – Independent Fashion

Pick your hashtags in your niche and really stick with them. Pick 3-4 and all your images should be relevant to those standard hashtags. Be unique. Use your images to show your behind the scenes, your clients, your experience. People want to see something artsy and gorgeous.

Link up your social media to Instagram so it automatically reposts for you.

Use images that tell a story.

Ask your customers to take pictures of your business and post them for you with your tags. As an added incentive to them make them an offer for a check in. I like to offer a free print to my clients for any social media check in.

Foursquare

Four square are the leaders in the location based marketing business. The first step is to optimise your profile.Then consider how you can leverage your social media contacts to drive traffic both directions and boost your online marketing efforts. It’s a great way to add value to your neighbourhood, encourage local traffic, and cross promoting with complimentary businesses.

Pinterest

Although there isn’t any way to directly promote your pins, there are some great tools to maximise your scheduling, analytics, and by the way they are all free! Some of them work via Chrome Extensions (love using these) and the rest are stand alone APPS, but all worth investigating for different reasons. ViraltagPinpuff, PinBooster, PiqoraReachli

Here is my last piece of advice. Get yourself a social media manager. HootsuiteSproutSocial – there are MANY of them, for free to trial and paid subscription once you realise how valuable they are to you for saving time. But they will help you time, track, and aggragate your posts. And they will be a lifesaver.

money flying in the air

Think of all the time and money you are going to save!

So there you have it. Some great rather inexpensive ways that you can get some great reach, increase your visibility, gain followers and really start to leverage your social media juju!

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: shutterstock
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: shutterstock

Erin loves to putter away with social media, tinker with SEO, and blog up a storm. Her photography business has helped many small businesses get on their newly branded feet and her love of the internet has her clients playing well with APPS.

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