So many improvements to your social media profile picture can be made in just a few minutes. We present you with the best practices to make your profile stand out and end up with a clean PFP.
Whether it is that you just joined a new social media or just want to refresh your current profile picture, you’ve come to the right place. Here we will explore what makes a good profile picture. It’s the first thing people will see when you connect, like, or follow.
You’ve probably seen thousands of social media profile pictures, we know we have, you also see dozens every day, and it takes a split second to make an impression based on the picture. Don’t worry. You’re not the only one. Everyone does it, even subconsciously. Based on what you see, you decide if the person is likable, attractive, intelligent, cute … or the opposite.
Whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or anywhere else, the process is the same, someone views your picture, and probably solely based on the look of it, they decide if they want to connect with you or not.
How a Clean PFP Can Help
Having a good profile picture will immensely help you improve your chances. It’s the key to your brand and online networking. It can not only impact your social life and job opportunities that come your way and, ultimately, your career.
By fixing your picture, you are doing a one-time action that gives you lasting benefits. It’s good to invest time and effort into making it look good, as it’s one of the most critical aspects of your online presence.
But don’t take our word for it. Here is what since has to say about it.
Research-Backed Elements of the Best Profile Pictures
Interestingly, there’s been a lot of research about the different elements of a profile picture for social media. We found some interesting facts and came to a few reasonable conclusions based on them.
As mentioned before, it takes little time to draw a conclusion about people based on a photo, but since it is a little more precise, it’s actually just 40 milliseconds.
Here’s what since sowed as best practices for having the best profile picture on social media:
- Smile with teeth -This leads to gains in likability (nearly twice that of a closed-mouth smile), competence, and influence.
- Squinch – A squinch is a slight squint don’t open wide; wide eyes look fearful. If you slightly squint, you will look more comfortable and confident.
- Unobstructed eyes – Make sure nothing is covering your eyes because it decreases trust.
- Asymmetrical composition – Not everything needs to be perfect. Fully symmetrical pictures often go overlooked because of appearing computer generated.
- Jawline with a shadow – A shadow line that outlines the jaw all the way around helps with likability, competence, and influence.
- Head-and-shoulders or head-to-waist photos – Generally go better than just face photos or full-body photos.
- Dark-colored suits and light-colored button-downs – Have the greatest effect on competency and influence out of all other factors. Dress to impress.
Best practices for profile pictures
With since out of the way, it’s good to focus on the best practices and do what works for the majority. It, of course, might not mean it will be the right for your particular audience, but chances are it will, and this is the best option for making the best version of your profile picture, so you might as well try it.
Show your face
Even though this might be obvious, it’s the first thing to remember. Faces are a unique and powerful type of imagery. Faces leverage a cognitive bias built into our brains. That’s why it’s crucial to have one. You will appear more serious, likable, confident, and approachable. We strongly recommend against cartoon heads, dogs, and babies.
Perfect the Smile
As studies showed, we agree on this one. When it comes to smiles, it doesn’t matter if you represent an organization, serious business, or yourself. A smile fits anywhere. Smiling creates an instant connection and can also de-age you and make you instantly more approachable. It’s a key success factor for a clean PFP.
This all implies that the smile is natural and not forced. If you force a smile with a wide-open mouth, it can seem creepy and like you are putting too much effort into it. That’s why it’s a good practice to look in the mirror and try a few smiles in order to perfect the one for a photo. Show your teeth. It’s much more natural, and avoid going in a full smile, try a few versions and settle on the one that looks the most approachable, friendly, and appropriate.
Properly Frame Your Photo
Keep in mind what your photo will look like on your profile. Even if you have the perfect photo, some social media will crop it down to fit it on the profile. It’s essential to see how it’s done and make sure your photo is framed as it should be.
Some headshots are too close to the camera others might be too far away. You will need to ensure you are adequately framed so that your face is filling up most of the picture but that there is still some background visible, not too far or close.
Have a clean background
You should be in focus, not the background, so try to stick with a monotone and non-distracting background. The background is also an opportunity to use contrasting colors without changing clothes. Just use different backgrounds and see how you pop up in each one.
Present your best self
Your profile picture should contain you and you only. It’s nice to have photos of yourself with friends or colleagues. However, when it comes to profile pictures, they should feature you exclusively.
Even if you turned out great, but you are with your friend, never decide to “cut” someone out of the picture to make your profile picture. It’s bad practice and can make you look desperate. Focus on yourself as you are the main point of the picture. It’s best that you are alone and presentable, have in mind that many people, potential customers, and even potential lovers might see it, so use your best one!
Use a headshot
A headshot is a tightly cropped photo of the face from the shoulders up. And it should be your profile picture on most social media websites. Using photos of you from a vacation or adventure can be tempting, but try to stay away from them if you want to look more professional.
Your profile picture makes a strong first impression and should be a close-up featuring your face and eyes. Make sure your face and particularly your eyes are visible. Shoulders should be visible in the picture as well. Having that in mind you should consider your choice of clothing.
Consider what you are wearing
If you go with a photo that will show your shoulders, you have another chance of presenting yourself through fashion. But having that in mind, usually, the best practice is to have a button-down shirt or a dark-colored suit. You can go colorful to an extent. Just try not to overdo it, as it can send a wrong message.
Your clothes should complement your face and not distract from it, so it’s usually better to wear plain clothes that don’t stick out too much. Stay clear of text or big logos and settle for a more plain polo or dress shirt; you should be good.
Using the same profile picture on your social media profiles can be a good idea. Especially if you want to focus on your branding, as this will ensure consistent branding and help make it easier for people to recognize you when they see your profile image on social media platforms.
Clean PFP – Conclusion
So that’s all the tips we have for you to make the best version of your profile picture and end up with a clean pfp. Implement some of our tips and you will have amazing responses to your new avatar.
To summarize, make sure you smile with your teeth and use a non-invasive background, dress more formally, and straighten your spine. Eyes should be open but not fully wide. Try to squint just barely to appear more natural. Make sure nothing is in your way and look in the camera. Consider getting a professional hired. They can add some magic touch in after effects. Test how it frames on different social media, make sure you touch up any imperfections, and that should be it.
Enjoy the attention you’ll get and share these tips with your friends.
Our agency works with many local companies that drive thousands of visits to their website every month using SEO best practices and strategies. We have been building websites and helping clients drive traffic to those websites since 2007.
Clio can help you get started on your SEO journey by advising where to focus your internet marketing efforts. We are often asked if our Calgary SEO services can make your website appear on the first page of Google. The answer is YES but this is neither cheap nor easy. Visit our case studies page to see how we have helped clients implement SEO best practices and unique strategies for their small businesses.