With the advent of social media came the profile icon known as the “Avatar”. This word, of course, has deeper origins that I will let you read about here if you want rather than go into it in this post.
Essentially, an avatar for our purposes is a representation of a user for their online profile.
So often, I have found people on line using misleading representations of themselves. For purposes of this blog entry, I am focusing solely on social media for business applications. I’ll leave the personal and “role playing” discussions out of it. Further, many companies use their logo for their company account. This, of course is a branding choice.
On many an occasion, I have met someone in person and I’m thinking, “Wait, I thought I knew this person but this doesn’t look like who I am thinking of” And, sure enough, when I pull out my trusty iPhone and go to Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, they look completely different. Most often it is because they are using a poorly chosen photo of them or a photo of them from 5, or even 10 years ago.
People usually have many reasons for this. They usually relate to the person not being satisfied with any photograph taken of them since.
And, sometimes, the photo they have is just an awful one and they look much better in person. The typical reasoning is, “No one ever seems to take a good photo of me”
However, they are truly doing themselves a disservice. This, in my opinion, is a poor branding choice.
A good quality, current photo of you is important to a professional image and your personal, and professional brand.
In business, especially when self employed you are your own brand. If you work for someone else, you represent them and your photo says a lot about you and is a reflection on your image of yourself and the image of who you represent.
A proper corporate head shot is a good investment for your brand and your image. For less than most people spend on a dinner out, or even designer coffee drinks in a month, you can have a proper head shot taken that represents you and your individual personality. One that can add value to your company in the form of improved image. Image alone can be responsible for increased growth and revenue.
People want to work with people who have an image of enjoying what they do and care about the details. An avatar is your first impression in an on-line world. Why not make a good first impression?