The perfect profile picture

2009 October 9

profile pics2It’s probably the first thing people see when they look up your Twitter or facebook profile. It gives your page a face people can identify with. In addition, it sets the tone for your page. Yes, it’s your profile picture. I’ve seen many variations, from a head shot to cartoon characters, and of course company logos. After several months of working extensively with Twitter and facebook, I began to realise that some profile pictures work better than others. I like ones with a friendly face as they allow me to visualise the person behind the profile. I think this is especially important to promote interactivity. When I have an online conversation with someone, I like to have the feeling that I’m talking to someone ‘real’. In this sense, a friendly face certainly enhances the experience.

profile picsMost businesses choose a logo as their profile picture. I can see the point in that. Brand-building is, after all, an important reason companies are on social media platforms like Twitter. However, social media is about reaching out to an audience, engaging them and spreading the brand’s message through them. I think that having a personal profile picture (of the social media/community manager) makes the company more approachable. Being approachable boosts community-building efforts and promotes interactivity (by making communication lines less formal). This in turn eases the circulation of a brand’s message.

WIB profile picI like the way various companies have resorted to taking the middle-road by having their company logo projected onto a picture of their social media manager (a friendly face), or vice-versa. @whereivebeen is a good example. The Where I’ve Been logo is certainly prominent but so is a picture of Katy, their community manager.

An alternative on Twitter is to have a picture of the social media/community manager as the profile pic and fill the page background with the company  logo and related images.

So what’s the perfect profile picture? Opinions may differ but I would go for a ‘friendly face’.

What do you think?

Read about other Twitter tips:

4 Responses leave one →
  1. October 9, 2009

    Interesting post Keith. I agree that in the first instance the profile pictures is very important. I look at a warm, friendly face and am more inclined to connect with that person that someone who looks like a greasy salesman.
    As we start to interact then I suspect we associate the @username with a mental picture we have of that person, based on our contacts. So by then, even a branded logo is secondary to our own impressions of that person.
    But as you say, first impressions do count. Katy is a good example of a positive and friendly face (but we’re not all blessed with her good looks!)
    Thanks for sharing some interesting ideas, as always
    Andy

  2. velvet permalink*
    October 9, 2009

    Thanks for your comment Andy. You’re right there, we’re not all blessed with Katy’s good looks. Haha!

    Cheers,
    Keith

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