This post originally appeared on AgentApplause.com which has been merged with Harmon Enterprises. It's the same team creating the content...but now you can find it all under the HarmonEnterprises.com web roof!
It was the eye catching photo of Scottsdale Realtor Dru Bloomfield on Facebook that drew my attention. Her head shot stands out and is a beautiful example of a modern day Realtor portrait. The importance of your photo in social media marketing cannot be understated. Without a photo, there is no trust. And for agents looking to put the power of social media to work in their business, extra consideration should be given to your photo. This isn’t the first time Agent Applause has addressed the issue of your online portrait, or your avatar as it is know in social media marketing, for your business. Realtor Laurie Covington was highlighted for her clever Twitter avatar and many of the elements discussed that make her avatar successful are at play here as well.
Dru’s photo is successful for many reasons:
- It is professionally shot – Dru paid to have this portrait taken by a professional photographer. Invest in a good head shot from a photographer who can capture the essence of who you are. In Facebook and Twitter, Dru describes herself as “Realtor, blogger, Creative, strategic, collaborative, effective, connected. Energetic, healthy, happy. Tad irreverent. Focused. Fun.” This photographer is spot on with Dru.
- It is cropped asymmetrical and square – The asymmetrical nature of the crop makes the photo interesting. The image is has also been cropped square which is important for most online sites which display your profile photo in a square format (vs. the rectangular format associated with most real estate print advertising). Free sites like Picnik.com can help you to crop your photo.
- There is color, but it is one color – She is wearing blue, which really pops out at you. It is also a solid color and the only color that is in the shot. The background the photographer selected is a different shade of blue which gives the photo some contrast not only against her, but also against the white backgrounds of sites like Facebook, her blog, and Flickr.
- It looks like her – I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dur at RE BarCamp Phoenix and her photo looks just like her. The real magic in social media is the deepened connections you get with people offline as a result of the relationship development you do on-line with them. Make sure they aren’t walking right by you when you run across them out in your community at the grocery store or soccer game because they don’t recognize you from your avatar.
- It is not business formal, but its professional, and consistent with who she is. Social media marketing can be far more casual than Realtors may be used to in their print marketing. This is based in the authenticity that is often associated with success in the medium (which is really the key here). Your photo should reflect your authentic self. If your authentic self is always in a suit and tie, then business formal for your avatar may be the best way for you to go. But know that professionalism can be conveyed with less formal clothing and Dru’s image is an outstanding example of this.
I often discuss with Realtors that whatever they choose to do on line, they should be visually consistent (see my presentation from Inman’s Agent Reboot on Managing Your Content and Reputation on the Web). The consistency builds trust and paints a picture about your level of professionalism. Agent Applause has covered this topic before with our review of Walter Burns who has invested in a strong visual branding that is reflected across all his online sites (and a few off line as well). What Walter has done requires a financial investment that not all Realtors may be prepared to make (despite its effectiveness). Much of the same effect can be gained for free (or the cost of a professional photo), by simply using the same avatar across all web sites that you are on. This is what Dru has done. When dealing with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr, the only real choice you have in terms of visual consistency is your photo selection – and Dru presents this same photo across all of the web properties that she is involved in.
Following are screen shots of her online web presence – as you can see, it paints a picture of consistency:
For the minor investment of a professional head shot, this is something that any Realtor can do to best position themselves in the world of social media marketing. Great applause go out to Dru for her outstanding execution.