These days, when someone is searching for information about a company or organization, they go straight to their laptops or tablets and google that company name. If they already have their Facebook or LinkedIn tab open, there’s a high chance they’ll search for that business there too. Either way, these potential customers are making a decision about whether to continue their research into your business by the information, the photos, video and content they find online. Which brings me to this truth… You only get ONE chance to make a first impression.
When you do finally get someone to visit your website or social pages for the first time, you want to be crystal clear on who you are, what you are about and that you are legitimate and credible and what you offer is of high value.
Something that many newer businesses do ‘on the cheap’ is their website and social profile images. Whether it be the large banner image that visitors to your webpage see on your home page or your Facebook Page, or your smaller social profile photo, out-of-focus or lack of a well-designed photos can be a huge deterrent to a prospective client or customer looking at you any further. This is certainly not where you want to be cheap. Most times, a professional photographer (or even a friend who is great with a camera) is going to do a much better job at taking a professional photo than you and your phone. Represent yourself well and be sure these photos are clear and accurately represent your business or organization.
Now on the other hand, once your website and social profiles are established, many experts feel it’s ok to use a smartphone to take photos that you will post as a status update. Social platforms are designed to be more conversational, showing the human side, so a less-than-professional picture can be utilized there. Just make sure you don’t swing the pendulum too far the other way and post completely out of focus or grainy photos. They are still representing your business, after all.
In terms of your profile photo for your social platforms, keeping your business name front and center is important for brand recognition, especially as it is also the image that shows next to every post and comment you make as your business. The best way to do this is to use your logo. (If your business is YOU, however, (as a consultant, freelancer, etc.) then using a photo of yourself as your profile picture is a great way to put a personal touch on your business page.)
In terms of the larger “banner” type image on your social platforms, here are a few more tips:
- Be sure you aren’t accidentally hiding important content behind the profile photo or the Call to Action, Like or Message buttons. Having a Cover Photo designed that is visually appealing but also functional is key!
- Do use the appropriate size for your images so they are optimized for the space allotted. (You don’t want a part of your logo cut off because it’s not the correct size.) You can find the recommended sizes for each of the social channels from a great blog post by Constant Contact here.
- Facebook allows you to input a caption or description for any photo you upload, so after you’ve added your profile and cover images on your business page, click each one to enlarge it and write a compelling description for each photo along with a link to a landing page on your website. That way if someone clicks it to see it better, they have an easy way to go directly to your website, see more of your info, and even sign up for your e-mail list.
Be sure that when you review the images on your website, you follow some of these same principles. Your website should only showcase high-quality professional looking images that accurately and genuinely reflect your organization. Anything less than that just paints a weak picture and can hurt you in the long run.
Here’s to you making the very best first impression possible!
Leila Ansart is a social media consultant who is passionate about helping business owners and professionals present themselves authentically on their social channels.
She offers social media strategy, training and community management, as well as teaching popular classes on how to use LinkedIn effectively for networking and lead generation.