Many small business owners (primarily baby boomers) I’ve met at networking events say they’re nervous about using social media as a marketing tool because of privacy concerns. But if you’re going to be in business, and use social media especially, you have to be able to establish a rapport with your target audience in order to build trust before making a sale. The first way to do that is to include a photo in your social media profile – whether that’s on your blog, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter.
Would You Do Business with Someone without a Photo?
I decided to see if others shared that belief by asking my Facebook followers whether they would do business with someone who did NOT have a photo on LinkedIn or Facebook. The overwhelming majority of respondents said they were not likely to do so. I received comments like, “not till I met them in person,” or “depending on the info and what I Googled about them” or “I’d be very apprehensive and wonder what they were hiding.”
Only one person responded “yes” to my survey. Pete Kici, of Quick Pro Marketing, said the reason why a photo wouldn’t hold him back from doing business is because he’s marketing his services to people who don’t fully understand social media, are afraid of it, and don’t know how it can help their business.
Photos Help Build Trust & Credibility
I can understand Pete’s point of view, but I still think a photo is a necessity if you intend to do business online. Big corporations, like Pepsi or Microsoft, can get away with using their logo on Facebook or Twitter because they’ve already spent millions of dollars to promote their corporate identity to the masses. Small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs don’t have that luxury or the budget, so it’s important to put your face out there to establish trust and credibility.
Photos Build Rapport
Using a photo in your social profile is important in the offline world too. Let’s say you set up a meeting with someone you’ve connected with on LinkedIn, but never met before. Don’t you think it will be easier to recognize them at your neighborhood Starbucks, if you’ve already seen their profile picture online?
Photos Help Attract Twitter Followers
Use a Professional Headshot
Just make sure you choose a professional picture for your social networking profiles. Don’t use a candid snapshot that your spouse or best friend took of you on vacation. Hire a photographer who specializes in headshots. And whatever you do, remember to smile!
Want to see my picture on Facebook? Like my page at www.facebook.com/gloriarandcopywriter.