How to Choose the Right Business Profile Picture

Avatar blanksIt’s surprising how many people neglect to provide a picture when putting together an online presence for their businesses, either tossing in a photo as an afterthought or overlooking it altogether. With a little effort, you can choose a picture that will set your listing apart from the competition and build trust with your potential customers. The right picture on your business profile can be worth a heck of a lot more than a thousand words.

Logos

If your business has a logo, then using it as the picture for your business profile probably seems like a no-brainer. However, while larger companies may be able to capitalize on the preexisting trust and goodwill that comes from a well-known logo, most small businesses don’t have that luxury. A distinctive and eye-catching logo will make your listing more visible, but it probably won’t help you connect with your customers.

Portraits

People don’t want to connect with anonymous business entities. They want to connect with other people. Including a picture of yourself is a great way to personalize your listing and give your business a human face. The photo should be recognizable, even when reduced down to the thumbnail size that accompanies most business listings, so your best bet is to keep it simple. Choosing a business profile portrait is like hunting zombies: when in doubt, go for a nice head shot.

Other Photos

Another option is to use your profile picture to tell customers a little something about your business. You can display a photo of your storefront or interior, or a shot of your staff hard at work. Or you may choose to highlight images of a product or service that you offer. Again, you want to keep it simple enough that customers will be able to see the image even after it’s reduced to thumbnail size.

Business Profile Picture Tips

  • Keep it professional. A good profile photo should present your business in a professional light, so avoid anything too risqué or whimsical. Sure, your friends may love that picture of your cat wearing sunglasses, but surprisingly few people use that as criteria when selecting a business online.
  • Keep it current. Whether you’re using a photo of yourself or your business, make sure it’s up to date. If you’re still sporting a Flock of Seagulls haircut in your picture, then it’s probably time to take a new one. If you’re still sporting a Flock of Seagulls haircut in real life, that’s a whole other issue…
  • Keep it simple. It’s been said before, but it certainly bears mentioning again. Many business listing sites display your profile picture at thumbnail size, so you want an image that’s going to still be recognizable.
  • Keep it consistent. For a small business, consistency is a great way to establish your branding. Try to use the same picture in all of your business listings. Eventually, your customers will come to recognize the picture and associate it with your business.
About Chris Irby

I've spent most of my professional life as a writer, editor, and intolerable pedant. Fortunately, SuperMedia has given me a way to channel these abilities constructively. As Manager of Digital Content, I work with the rest of the Marketing team to make sure our online content is accurate, engaging, and current.

Comments

  1. I would add that the picture you choose should reflect your business’ brand attributes. If your business provides services geared towards urban-dwellers, selecting a portrait with a small-town feel would create brand confusion. In this sense, “keeping it consistent” should be applied both to re-use of the same picture across business listings, as well in its alignment to established brand messaging.

    In order to understand the degree to which particular attributes are conveyed in a profile picture, I created a first-impression ratings service: waduyu.com. It allows another way (aside from consulting personal contacts) to gather broad feedback about a picture across a number of user-selected criteria, to help with the selection process.

    • Chris Irby says:

      That’s a really good point, Yuval. I can especially see this being a problem for businesses who develop their branding gradually or leave it to chance, instead of starting with a brand strategy from the get-go.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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