No More Duck Lips or Blurry Dogs! – By Michelle Held

by Sara Szado on January 25, 2016

feedfront-33 cover-188x240We all know someone who uses their pet’s picture as a social media profile photo. I am connected on Facebook with acquaintances of “real friends”, and it can be years before we ever meet in person. I always thought this one guy was actually a dog until we finally met up at a conference.

Ok, not really! On Facebook, his profile photo is a sable and white, rough coat Collie. On LinkedIn, he uses a placeholder avatar (a human silhouette, not a Collie). So, why does it matter what he looks like?

Many job seekers have a LinkedIn profile that includes an irrelevant, ugly, or blurry photo accompanied by an outdated bio. According to CareerBuilder, more than half of hiring managers review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. You are not making the best impression when your profiles aren’t looking ideal. That means those duck-lip selfies need to be replaced with a clear, quality headshot.

One connection of mine has a dark photo of a stage as his LinkedIn profile photo. Although he is in the entertainment industry, he is not a bio-human collection of scaffolding and lighting. No matter who you are: a DJ, public speaker, a start-up seeking funding, freelancer, or ecommerce site, branding should be important to you. Your online photos are critical to your public perception.

The image cleanup doesn’t just apply to social profile photos; it’s important for website product shots to look good as well. According to the National Retail Federation, 67% of consumers say the quality of an ecommerce site’s product images is very important to selecting and purchasing a product. An amazing 63% of consumers feel that the quality of a product’s image is more important than product specifications and description.

Not only does the quality of your online images matter to potential buyers, but your images are also a way to encourage your readers to share your offerings on social media. Using images in social posts increases user engagement. Twitter states that tweets with photos average a 35% increase in retweets. Tweets that contain videos get a 28% boost in retweets.

On Facebook, posts with photos also get more user engagement. Kissmetrics data shows that Facebook posts with photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs than posts that only contain text. Of course, page owners need to carefully choose relevant, quality images that readers will want to share!

The importance of images in social media is evidenced by the rise of highly visual social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. Snapchat’s video views are closing in on Facebook, having more than tripled in the last six months. Snapchat gets about 6 billion video views a day.

Join me at Affiliate Summit West 2016 in Las Vegas, on January 10th where I’ll be talking about images in my session, “How to Optimize Images for Social Media Sharing.”

Michelle is an author and digital agency owner who blogs on and

This article appeared in issue 33 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2016.

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