Social Media – Your Online Image

An Avatar

An Avatar

Every morning when I look into my Twitter, I, just like some love-struck teenager, look for a particular smiling face. Why? Well, this particular avatar is used by a seemingly endlessly cheerful guy who has lots of followers and delivers lots of useful information…and it is nice to look at that cheerful smile. Would I watch for him so closely if he changed his photo to something more serious and corporate. Probably, but in the clutter of information, he would probably not stand out and I’d miss his gems of wisdom.

You and Your Avatar

I looked up avatar in wikipedia. Here’s how they describe an avatar.

In Hinduism,…. usually implies a deliberate descent from higher spiritual realms to lower realms of existence for special purposes.

Hmm. Not a word about the use of avatars in social media or online games but I suppose some social media users see themselves as descending to the lower realms for special purposes. Anyway, if you’ve not heard the term before, your avatar is the tiny image you use to identify yourself online. That image is part of your brand and it’s extremely important.

What sort of avatars work best. Well, if you want to read a full article about it, you can here. To summarize what they say makes a good avatar: an interesting shape, simple, surprising, unique, short and sweet. To that list I would add, attractive. I don’t mean pretty or handsome, I mean an avatar that is compelling. By the way, generally, a photo of you is the best avatar.

What should you avoid? Unless you are selling sex, I would avoid overtly sexy images. When I see them, I assume they are spammers and I am not alone in that assumption. Avoid using the Twitter default. It makes you look uninterested and lazy.

Get it Right, Right from the Start

I use different Twitter accounts for different parts of my business. To avoid appearing as a spammer (which I am not!) I use different avatars for each account. Beware, Twitter does watch for people who use the same icon over and over again on multiple accounts.

Once you begin your social media engagement, you will want to project the same, professional, approachable image across all media. Think carefully what this image should be. I’m very happy with some of my avatars but one is just not good enough. However, if I change it now, I risk losing the interest of some of my followers. How much easier if I had spent just a little bit more time at the beginning getting it right.

Before you decide on your avatar, look at what’s out there and see what catches your eye. If you don’t have a good clear photo of yourself, then consider getting one. There is really no excuse in this age of digital photography.

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