What impression does your online personality give to potential clients?
When prospective clients look up your business they’re not just looking at what you do, they’re looking at who you are. As professional business photographers, we’re often asked what makes the perfect headshot and how important a great headshot is for business.
We think you’d agree that certainly in terms of professional services, people search online for suppliers. Even if a supplier has been recommended to you, then chances are you’ll search them up anyway, just to check them out. With this in mind, the way business owners present themselves online is key to success. It’s a competitive world out there. Pop ‘Hypnotherapist London’ into Google and you’ll be presented with thousands of options. All offering a very similar service, all operating in the same area, all at a similar price point. Often the only difference between one business and another is the person within the business.
So let’s take two similar businesses, same area, same price point. Almost identical but for the fact that one supplier has a great looking professional headshot, the other a quick snapshot of themselves. A snap that’s been cropped so that the kids are edited out and so now it’s blurry. Such an inappropriate headshot may convey unprofessionalism and lead that potential client to opt for the more professional person. And it’s for this reason that a great headshot is so important for business. It’s the difference between landing that client and not.
Making that all-important first impression
When it comes to winning a new client in today’s competitive world, a first impression has the potential to make or break the relationship. And the internet has made that all-important first impression so much more essential. Think about your online persona, not only on your business website and LinkedIn profile but on other social media channels too.
We really do believe that people will make judgments about you and your business by the way you portray yourself online. Use an amateur photo of you on your business website and people may assume your business is amateur too.
Here are 10 top tips on how to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best possible way
1. Hire a professional photographer. It really isn’t that expensive to get a professional corporate headshot taken. You’ll be showcasing yourself and your company in the best possible light.
2. Avoid selfies and avatars. Enough said.
3. Keep it simple. A white background is clean and clear. There are no distractions and it can be used not only on your website but it’s the best option when it comes to LinkedIn too.
4. Go for a timeless look. Keep clothes simple and wear plain (but bold) colours where possible. Most people put off booking a professional shoot as they feel as though they can’t justify the cost. If you go for something simple – not too trend-led, not too busy – you’ll extend the shelf life of your image and therefore get better value for money.
5. Think about your overall look well in advance. If you wear make-up, make sure it looks great. Even better, if the photographer offers professional make-up, take them up on it. It really does make a difference. Same with hair. Make sure it looks the best it can. Get your colour topped up and guys, if you need a trim, get that appointment booked in.
6. A head & shoulders shot is fine. Headshots show up as quite small on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. You want people to connect with you quickly. So a head/shoulders/chest crop is all you need.
7. Mix it up. Get a few different shots from your headshot session. Different crops, poses and outfits. Maybe even a studio-style image (with a white background) as well as something using the location.
This means that you can use similar, but different, shots across a range of platforms with the images being different but consistent. Discuss how much time you will have with your photographer and if there’s an option to have a change of outfit.
8. Check how many images you’ll receive from your photographer. If it’s just one perhaps negotiate to get a few more, pre-shot, rather than paying a premium after. (Although we think that the days of paying per image are a little dated).
9. Once you have your professional corporate headshots, make sure you update all your channels. We can’t tell you how many business owners update their website with their new-look image but leave a snapshot on their business Facebook/IG/Twitter/Google page. Be consistent! And remember, if people are recommending you via Facebook the chances are potential clients will view your Facebook page first. Make sure it’s got your pro-shot on there.
10. Smile. You don’t want to appear too serious, corporate portraits have become a lot more relaxed in style but you don’t want to grin like a Cheshire Cat! Generally, a relaxed smile (that extends up to your eyes) is the look you’re going for. This is where a great photographer comes in. They will put you at ease, make you feel great, and capture the best version of you.