In a recent post ‘Am I real or just a machine‘ I asked :
Do you use a photo for your online presence ? Do you think it’s important ?
Would you trust someone enough to use their services if they didn’t use a photo of themselves on their website?
Do you trust someone who doesn’t use a personal photo online?
Well it seemed to start a debate on the issue. The discussion points people made are below. Having read all the responses I have not come to any conclusive answer but it has driven me to the decision that i will use a personal photo of myself in my ‘about’ section. Thank you everyone who took part in the debate. I appreciate your feedback, comments and opinions.
Jenny ZeroG There’s a lot of people out there telling us the “correct” way to do something. The correct way to do something is what makes you and your clients happy. End of
Helen Redfern I think your Twitter picture is so good. I don’t think you need to change it. It’s a great showcase of your work.
Wendy Kier • Morning Elizabeth, What a great set of photos. I can only talk from my experiences on Twitter…. I have read research that indicates that people are less likely to engage with a logo on Twitter. So the avatars with the logo will have less followers as they may be perceived as being less engaging and trustworthy. If I come across the post again I will forward it to you. I recommend to my clients that they do a mix for their avatar. Brighton and Hove Jobs are a great example. It’s a mixture of staff and there logo so people are very clear that they represent a business and are prepared to put a human face to their business which makes then much more engaging.
Is your Avatar the right image to portray your company?
Fiona Dodd • For Facebook I am sure many people use whatever image they like – mine for example is Princess Fiona from Shrek! For professional matters though I am sure at some point in the future almost everyone will be using personal photos. Why?? Because either you are on Linkedin as a personal business, and therefore why would you not use a personal photo, or because you are there for professional reasons, but as a human face of that profession/employer. Using a “corporate photo” can, indeed, brand us with our corporate identities, but we are here as individuals, and therefore should be able to show that individuality with a personal photo. We come here to join in the conversation. It’s hard to talk to someone you cannot visualise. We know what our friends look like so on FB it’s not such an issue, but here, I think it is helpful to see what your correspondents look like, not least so that it’s not so embarrassing in the real world if you meet them, but don’t recognise them. Having said that, I have a limited stock of personal photos that I could have used, generally tending to be behind instead of in front of the camera, so have had to use one taken by my son, aged 6! It did take me a while to work out how to upload it, so that can be another factor for some who are new to social media. I wouldn’t distrust someone who doesn’t use a personal photo, but I would be very curious to see what they look like!
Paul Mnich • Fiona has made valid points – since we are communicating with individuals, it does make the message / contact more personal. Perhaps some people are vain and don’t feel they have a photo which represents them well, others just might not want to be identified by people they do not know. If you know people who do not use a picture of themselves – you might ask them why not? Perhaps those particularly concerned about their privacy should not be on social or business networking sites?
Katharine Perry • I don’t have a photo for a combination of reasons including privacy and prioritising other things. I don’t think that just because you have concerns to keep aspects of yourself out of public view you “shouldn’t be on social or business networking sites”. I am not on a social networking site because I a) spend quite enough time on a computer working without trying to socialise on there as well. I prefer real life for that and b) have concerns about the safety of the information contained within them. However I thought that the business networking site made more sense for the way my life is organised – a large half being the Mother of a small child and the small half being a working individual. I can see that a photo makes a difference but as I don’t feel I photograph especially well I would find choosing one quite tricky. I expect that puts me up there with the rest of the population – vain as anything… or perhaps just not possessing massive levels of personal self confidence. None of the above makes for an untrustworthy person.
Cassandra Harvey-Smith • As Linkedin is a professional site, all my information on here is related to my study or employment and so my photograph must be suited to that. I think anything but my real photo would appear unprofessional in an atmosphere like this one. On Facebook or anywhere else, though, I may not want to identify myself so easily to peers or employers when perhaps talking about tv shows or recipes or my personal life. I think it makes sense to keep personal and professional identities separate when on different websites.
Toby Rollestone • Put simply, yes. I do not think it important to have a picture hence I do not.
Amy Rutter • I think if you are representing yourself as an individual then you should have a photo of yourself – I think it instills some trust. However, as an organisation, although I think it is important to let personalities come through to an extent on social media (people are looking for the person behind it) it’s not always practical to have an image of just one person. For example I work for a digital agency, zero G media, and we have recently changed our Twitter picture from a photo of the Director to our company logo… I guess mainly because it is now me tweeting on behalf of the agency rather than him but that’s just it – I’m representing the agency, I’m not just myself.
Louise Robinson • With regards to a website – if you are a sole trader wanting to be seen as a larger company then I don’t think it matters. However, the services I offer are from me and my clients only deal with me. It is my experience and expertise they are buying hence I think a photo is essential. I recently went away and wanted to book up a holistic treatment and definitely for that I didn’t consider anyone who hadn’t put a photo of themselves on the website.
Delane Cooper • I was advised to use a personal photo vs. my business logo because people connect with people when using online communities such as this. Since I am a board member and fundraise as well, people want to see who they may be working with vs. logo/random image.
Alicia Owens • I agree that there is a more personal connection when using a photo. I use both. I have my logo on the top of my etsy page and throughout my website and then my photo in my profile/about artist.
Pamela Whitlow • I have only had an online site for just over a year and just started blogging and using facebook to help promote my business. I hadn’t thought of having a picture of myself online for that purpose. I’ve never felt photogenic, but guess I should get that taken care of
Kirk Gougasian • I think a personal photo might not be as professional, But putting up merchandise sometimes makes people see what you have to offer…
Valerie Swanson • I too don’t view a personal photo as professional. I see these avatars as an opportunity to build a brand. My logo is how I identify my brand. I would not put a personal photograph on my business cards, professional stationary, or gift certificates so I do not on Etsy or the social network avatars. I have been recognized from one network to the next because of using the “V” avatar; I do not know if that would be the same for a personal photograph.
Patti Panuccio • Putting a personal photo is all ego. I want people to see what I do, not judge my work by my looks. I am not looking for a date
Louise Cronian • I think a personal photo is better than a picture because it tells a person something about you without having to find out. They will find out about your jewelry if you post your FB page below or any page and if you link a picture(s) I think it is important for people to see who they are dealing with. I would not like talking to a picture. My opinion
Louise Cronian • In response to Valerie I agree not to put pictures on business cards and I TOO have a logo and it is my blue bracelet that is on twitter, FB, WEBSITES and they know how to find me BOTH ways. Everybody has their own idea of what is best for them. EGO is a little rude, don’t you think. Putting your picture up all the time or keep chanching it is EGO also. I see your picture but what if I don’t like it what you are about and what you sell and how you say your words are what is going to bring people to you. But don’t put down people that use their picture at least I am talking to you face to jewelry.
Marisol Apostol • I use a product photo which has become my logo. I did it for branding reasons and to look professional. Let me tell you, it was the best marketing strategy! Clients recognize it right away, it gets people to see the type of work I do. I get lots of compliments on it.
Elizabeth Anne Norris • Thanks for your comments and feedback everyone. It’s really good to hear your opinions. Like Marisol I use a piece of my jewellery for my twitter photo (@eanjewellery) as I think it is a good showcase for my work. People do seem to recognise it and I am unsure whether to change it now? I also see that using a personal image can be more approachable. It’s been a good debate but there are differing opinions. I don’t think there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way, just choose what works for you I guess. Thanks again everyone.
Nancy Pace • This is a great discussion! I personally have learned not to trust eggs on twitter, but a product pic your own work is fine with me. I use a personal pic because I didn’t want to limit myself I use too many medias in my work.
Jeanne Wagner • I do not necessarily think a personal photo is considered more professional for jewelry makers. I think that is more for other professions, such as business consultants. And not everyone is as photogenic as the next person. I think that an icon with your logo in it would be professional. If it happens to include an excellently photographed, great piece of your work, that can help draw people in, interest them more.
Valerie Swanson • I think a photo is useful if you sell your jewelry in any of the personal venues: parties, fairs, shows, etc. I personally, am internet only, and will never meet my clients so a photo does not provide additional information about my jewelry. I use the V avatar so my colleagues are able to recognize me in different forums. This keeps me responsible for all of my opinions.
Lizzie Lane • As you see – I don’t use a personal photo. As the company is Cool Cat Contemporary Jewellery and much of our publicity, our blog etc, is done by our CEO or Cat Espionage Officer – who reports on what’s being made in the workshop – it works for us. But obviously that own’t count for many – it’s all about establishing a brand – Cool Cat Nog is ours – and he’s very photogenic!
Melinda O’Keefe • No personal photo. You’re establishing your brand and you need to implement the “look” and “feel” with your identity which should be your logo, or what ever it is that says your company. When you become a huge global presence (we all hope!) it will not be a personal photo that the consumer will identify with, but the brand image that was there from the beginning that they knew and was loyal to over the years. Personal photos work if you’re in the entertainment industry but for this, I feel, use your logo on everything to burn it into the consumer conciousness and stay the course, perhaps tweaking it over the years, but stay the same. A lot of people may not like the “looks” of you (unfortunate) and that can work against you.
Toby na Nakhorn • I agree with you Elizabeth. I have more confidence when someone uses their real photo. If they had a picture of something else, even a logo, I would wonder what they have to hide.
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Elizabeth Anne Norris
Designer / Maker / Teacher / Enamels / Jewellery / Cufflinks
0777 339 4413