Thursday, August 7, 2008

Do these photos say "follow me" online?

Updated 9.30 am.

No, I am not talking about "those" kinds of photos.

Photos seem to be getting more important online, particularly in social media. The name and the photo is that person's brand, often used over and over whereever they go online.

A good photo makes me want to buddy up, join that person's group, visit their Web site, read their blog posts, follow their tweets online and check out their LinkedIn pages. Others send me clicking away squirming.

My interest in photos started a while back when a sales rep from a big company contacted me. She sounded serious, she seemed professional and she appeared to know a lot about the online world. When she followed up with an e-mail containing a signature line with a link to her social media profiles, I clicked and stepped into her private world.

Her Facebook page showed her with lots of cleavage, a glass in hand and a few men hanging around, giving her big big girls a big big look. Get the picture?

That booby call made me start asking people about the photos they used online.

At the Bridge conference recently, I met and wrote about Jonathon Colman from the Nature Conservancy.

Jonathon Colman from with puppy Here he is with the cute puppy. I've been one of his disciples on Twitter for a while and I had noticed the change in photo.

Jonathon said he'd experimented with a bunch of different photos but kept this one because people responded better to it. It sure makes him look trustworthy and honest. Since he's started using this photo for all his social media accounts, more people respond to his posts, follow him and click his links. (You can follow Jonathon too on Twitter .

Same goes with "Mutha Mae" Mason, a voiceover artist.

She originally used a boring image of a microphone, in keeping with her job. But when she started using this more flamboyant image with her wearing a feather boa, people started to take more notice. Mae with boa. She says it loses a lot of feathers. Achooooooo ....

Mutha Mae says people are always asking her about her boa. (By the way, she does have a great voice. You can see her here on YouTube. )

I also love this photo of the PublicityHound Joan Stewart. Joan Stewart, the Publicity HoundTo me, it is a knockout punch. It says, "I am not afraid to be noticed." Good stuff for someone in PR.

Last but not least, I love this photo of PopDaddy, another person who I follow on Twitter. He's a Pop Daddy

It makes him look open, trustworthy and like someone you'd want to be friends with.

What makes these photos work?

  • They've got big beaming smiles
  • They're front on (except Jonathon's)
  • They've got big eyes. Someone once told me to do big eyes for a good photo, and
  • They look happy and trustworthy. Not like people who'd do you harm.

One study, "Face it - Photos don't make a Web Site Trustworthy," found that using photos is a risky proposition. They seem to work in social media, but even then they can just as easily win people over as send them running.

A bad photo can make you worry that you are linking up with your next stalker.

Julie hiding behind the Internet Marketing Report Online
Me? I'm still hiding. Should I reveal my mask? Could be ugly.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power on Thursday August 7.



Jonathon D. Colman said...

Hey Julie, thanks for the mention in this post.

What it makes me wonder about is if pictures of people can have more of an impact than brand/logo-driven marketing efforts. That is to say: do people on social networks and the Internet in general want to engage more with other, real people or with relatively face-less corporations?

Care to comment? :)

Anonymous said...

Julie, I like your photo because you are a writer and it really suits your behind the written word persona. If you wanted to transition to being on camera, I'd suggest coming out from behind the paper. Otherwise, I think it's catchy and suits you perfectly. Thanks for featuring my wacky photo!!