6 Professional Social Media Picture Rules

There are too many people who don’t spend enough time on their social media picture. The picture is usually above the fold which means it is the first thing people look at and within milliseconds what they use to make up their mind about you. The picture is your message to recruiters, potential clients and followers.

Having the right picture on your social media account is the first, easiest and highest value component you should focus on. If the picture doesn’t fit the image of someone they want to do business with they won’t invest the 15 minutes to review your profile to see if your skills and knowledge are what they are looking for.

If you want others to share, comment or like your content you need to have a photo they would not be embarrassed to have on their timeline. Every time someone responds to or shares your content it shows on their timeline and the timeline of those they are connected to. People are less likely to engage in your content if your picture is not appropriate for a professional environment.


Selfies have a place in social media just not on your professional account. The same is true for party pictures, holiday pictures and PDA pictures. Those belong on your locked-down Facebook account.

Here are 6 rules for a professional social media picture:

Always use a photo: Having a photo will help people make sure they are connecting with the right person. When your profile doesn’t have a photo or a photo that is set to display only to those you are connected with it can make people leery. Remember if you are using social media for business it isn’t personal and you shouldn’t feel the need to hide.


Make it recent: Style changes quickly. Make sure that your photo is recent and that the style you are presenting is current. Fight the urge to use your Glamour shot from the 80’s or even a few years old. If you are trying to do business with or join an organization you want them to recognize you when you meet in person.

You should be the focus: Headshots work best. Your photo should focus on you and not the peripheral. Stay away from group shots (they won’t know which one is you) or shots that have too much scenery.

Attire matters: Appear in your photo as you would in a business setting. If your current employer’s dress code is relaxed, take your dress up a few notches in your picture. Business or business casual dress is the best approach. Stay away from gym, nightclub and skydiving photos.


Smile: Make it a genuine smile that is warm and welcoming. You professional social media picture shouldn’t look like a mug shot.

No logos: keep logos off your clothes and the background including your ID card. Your picture should be neutral and competitor free. You want to connect with people as an individual not as a representative of a company.

Remember you want to appear credible, confident and professional. Your picture should represent someone that people would want to have around their office. Stick with these 6 professional social media profile photo tips to get more content shares, profile views and connections.


Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 07:03 am

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Jason Cortel is currently the Director of Global Workforce Management for a leading technology company. He has been in customer service, marketing, and sales services for over 20 years. In addition, he has extensive experience in offshore and nearshore outsourcing. Jason is an avid Star Trek fan and is on a mission to change the universe by helping people develop professionally. He is driven to help managers and leaders lead their teams better. Jason is also a veteran in creating talent and office cultures.

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