Gone are the days when the only time you needed a profile picture was for a boring organisational chart or a mug shot hidden at the back of a brochure. With the prolific use of social media for business your personal public image has become rather more significant.

The real reason you are using social media for business should be to build relationships. The people you are aiming to connect with will want to know who is speaking to them. Therefore there is a need for professional images. Here are five tips on public image profiles (for example, your Twitter image). A photo blog of our shoot with Business Photography, who we recommend, also follows.

  1. A note of caution — a typical passport photo mug shot does not appeal. Work with a photographer who can help you show some personality and authenticity.
  2. Don't DIY it — although it's relatively easy to take a quick snap with your digital camera or phone, you'll be amazed how much more impressive your images will be when they are shot in the correct lighting and with the right gear. Your photographer will also be able to touch up your pictures, something you don't get (or tend to do badly) when you do it yourself.
  3. Give your photographer a good brief  — otherwise they won't know what they need to deliver.
  4. Dress appropriately — wear clothes, hair and make up that reflect your brand. Remember who you're aiming to appeal to and dress to impress them.
  5. Use them — this may sound odd but it's very easy not to use your professional images wisely. It's already been two weeks since our shoot and I'm only just getting round to doing this blog. My next job is to sync our profile pictures so they reflect our brand image and match everywhere we appear online. (For example our images on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, websites, Gravatar for blog commenting, etc). So, get on and arrange yourself a shoot and then use those professional images!

And now to our photo blog...

So, these are the shots of team UK. Joseph and Julia who are also part of Something Beckons are team Z. They spend most of their time in Zambia where Something Beckons has launched its first business profiling website, www.thebestofzambia.com. Let us know what you think!

This is the first article in a series called 'Managing your online presence'. The second article in the series will be about those all important social media profiles.

AuthorSara Drawwater