Social Profile Psychology and How it Affects Your Business
Do you have a social profile strategy?
The social profile is the least thought about strategy in marketing.
A lot of people don’t even know what it is exactly.
What if I told you that your social profile could attract people to your business, create a sense of trust with your customers and clients, and better build your brand, just by using the correct photo?
Let me explain.
How the Social Profile is Seen
When you think of marketing on social media, if you are like many people, the first thing that you think of is your brand and how you can get more attention from your target market.
The social profile can do this for you, because it is on the front lines of the marketing war you are fighting.
For example, your social profile is the first thing that is seen after someone reads your guest post on another blog. In this instance you are exposed to an audience that doesn’t know you. This is a split-second opportunity for them to judge you based on what you said versus how you look.
Now, I realize that you’re probably not a person that judges people on sight alone, but a psychological study done on first impressions revealed that you don’t get a second chance to make that first impression. You can’t take the chance that everyone is as nice about this as you are.
So, make it a good first impression.
This is where the social profile comes in. I want to work from the perspective of someone that doesn’t know who you are and has possibly never seen your face before.
These are opportunities that you can capitalize on.
For instance, I am not a widely known person, so there is a chance that you have never seen or heard of me before and you would possibly like to get to know me a little better.
What happens at that point? You want to know what I look like.
The social profile is the first thing people will go to when they want to find out more about you. Whether it’s an image of yourself on the blog, or on a social network, a picture will tell your audience a lot about your character and more importantly, what you can do for them.
Why the Profile is Important
People want to see the real you.
This is where I’m going to dive into the psychology of the profile photo.
According to a study done by Stanford University, the social profile is actively used online for businesses as well as personal. In the study, people with a good profile photo on their social media platforms saw increased activity with their marketing.
Can you guess why the profile is so important?
It’s not because your hair is awesome, or because that new suit you’re trying to show off is simply stunning…that doesn’t affect them.
The profile photo is important because of your eyes.
According to this scientific study, the eyes are the windows to the soul. And, they go on to reveal, that we tend to get acquainted with a person’s eyes when we first see them. That is why you see advertisements, whether on television or in an image, that have someone holding the product. They just made it intimate and personal because they are allowing the product to be connected to us by using the inserted person’s eyes.
The markings on your eyes show your deep seeded character qualities and this is why people judge someone in mere seconds. The eyes share a lot.
Show off your best quality in your social profile by making sure your eyes are revealed.
Don’t Do This
Here are some things that you should remember NOT to do.
- Don’t cover your eyes with sunglasses. Never wear them. I know you may look really cool, but remember the eye tip? Hiding your eyes is a product of distrust.
- Don’t wear a hat or anything that covers the head, because the head is also being judged due for approachability on social media.
- Don’t laugh while taking the picture. According to this study, people tend to think you’re laughing at them when they see this in your profile photo, thus killing your chances later down the road.
- Don’t take a side profile shot. Again, this hides some of your face, and one of your eyes to the person viewing the photo.
In other words, you don’t want to make your audience think that you’re hiding anything from them with your hat, sunglasses, scarf, large bulky coats, etc.
Let them know that you are an open person by taking a simple profile picture that shows the true essence of you.
Things to Remember
Just keep it simple.
- Look straight ahead at the camera.
- Smile easy, showing your teeth slightly.
- Keep your eyebrows relaxed, show that you are approachable.
- Open your eyes to the point that you’re not straining to open them any wider, this shows that you are a dominant person that can help them.
- Give them a full face to see. Don’t cut off half of your head. That is a trigger that you can’t be trusted.
- Show your hands by looking around them at the camera or any other way, just make sure your eyes are visible.
- Choose to take the picture from the neck up, or the shoulders up.
- For Men: Wear a tie with a jacket, or just a jacket, but not a tie without a jacket. This shows your nature and your leadership qualities.
- For Women: Hair up or down, both of these options show different qualities about your character. Make sure you keep your hair out of your face.
- Get the best lighting that you can get for maximum profile exposure.
- Think about your background. Is it too busy for your profile photo?
Here’s an infographic that explains it all, give it a share!
Psychological Triggers of the Social Profile
Without even knowing it, people will come to an assessment of you and your brand in seconds by simply looking at your profile photo.
This reaction comes from the Broca’s area of the brain where visual stimulation is born. The brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This is why you should be more concerned with your image on social media.
Your profile picture can tell a story about your brand in a matter of seconds because that is the way the brain processes the information that you feed it.
Here are the triggers: these are findings researched from the PNAS study.
The head shows dominance and whether or not you have leadership characteristics. Don’t hide it with a hat or wear some kind of crazy hairstyle. Studies have suggested (as listed above) that the more conservative the hair, the more attractive people found them in business.
Have you ever seen people where the muscles drew their face up when they smiled? If you are one of these people, and you don’t feel like you can control your face in an ordinary smile, you can still approach this profile scenario like everyone else.
Work with what you have. If you can’t use smile muscles for fear of the “frown-smile”, then barely smile. Studies have shown that a tilt of the head, when someone isn’t smiling with their teeth, works just as well.
We’ve already talked about the eyes but let me explain them a little more in-depth.
You know that your audience looks at your eyes first. It’s a natural reaction. But which eyes do you have? Droopy, straight, flat, etc.? The list is endless, but what you want to portray is a warmth that accentuates your smile.
The smile and the eyes work hand in hand and if you’re not smiling from your heart, the eyes will tell on you.
When you’re ready to take the photo, think of something nice that you like doing and express that feeling outwardly while the picture is being taken. You will capture that moment and the audience will be engulfed in the story that your eyes tell.
Are you nervous, edgy, and stressed? Don’t take the photo just yet then.
Just as the eyes share your heart, the jawline shares your emotional disposition at the time.
Sure, you could remember that happy moment as explained above and smile with your eyes, but if something’s nagging at you in the back of your mind, then your jaw muscles will tense up, causing a rigid jawline and creating a sense of distrust.
Summarizing Social Profile Psychology
You want to create a profile photo that shows you are a leader, confident, and knowledgeable. Showing that you take care of yourself allows your future customer to understand that you will also take care of them.
The best photo really depends on your state of mind at the time you take it.
You didn’t know you would have to get all feely in order to get more attention from your social media, did you?
These are issues that are part of the trust factor.
If you don’t trust yourself enough, or if you aren’t confident in yourself, this will show in your expression – you will always tell on yourself.
The best photo comes from someone who is confident in what they’re doing. Someone who has already accepted that they are going to make some mistakes and that’s just who they are!
So, stand in front of the camera and show the world who you really are. Mistakes and all. People will trust you for it.
Strategize your social profile to allow people to distinguish what type of business, blog, or brand that you run by showing them your story in a split second. It’s more powerful than you think.
Did you find these social profile tips helpful? If so, would you please share this on your preferred social media sites, and with any friends or colleagues that you think should read this too.
Wade Harman is a social media psychology expert showing businesses and brands how to trigger an emotional response from their digital strategy. He loves Star Wars, pepperoni sandwiches, and meeting new and interesting people.