Writecombination Social Media
by Andrew Knowles

Why your profile picture matters

Earlier today, I was scanning down a list of Twitter users, deciding who to follow, when I made a discovery.

I realised that my first point of reference for each tweeter was their profile picture. Those postage stamp sized images had grabbed my gaze, delivering an immediate ‘first impression’ of the person, or organisation, behind them.

Yes, I did go on to read the two or three lines of profile text associated with each account, gathering information which formed part of my decision-making process. But there’s no denying that the tweeter whose picture caught my eye had a better chance of receiving a ‘Follow’ click.

I doubt that I’m unusual in being so easily influenced by the visual. If you’re looking to grow your following, I recommend you take a good look at your profile picture, on Twitter and elsewhere. Even better, get someone else to look at it, with a critical eye.

I considered about writing a list of the features common to the profile pictures that catch my attention. But it’s better to encourage you to do it for yourself. After all, what works for me may not have the same impact on you.

Take a look at the list of people following me on Twitter. This is random because it’s constantly changing. Think about which pictures work for you, and which don’t.

You may even find that it’s not the pictures that catch your attention first.

I realise that for some, sight is difficult, if not impossible. If that’s you, I’d love to know what factors help form your first impressions of someone when you encounter their profile.

My recommendation for a profile picture is a good quality portrait, where your face fills much of the image. It tells me that you’re a real person and ideally it should also say something about you – through the clothes you’re wearing, your expression, the background or a prop.

Of course, if every picture was like that, it would be harder to stand out from the crowd. But for the moment at least, there are enough poor pictures out there to be distinctive.

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