Consistency in Team Headshots Improves Social Media Marketing
Web designers will tell you that one of the keys to a great company website is consistent, high quality headshots of your team. Headshots that exemplify your brand, and provide an insight to your values, culture, and who you are send a powerful message to prospective customers, partners, and future employees.
A consistent look across all your marketing channels multiplies the power of your message and stands a greater chance of a lasting impression. Iconic brands such as Coke have been using this strategy for many years – the Coke logo, color scheme, messaging is consistent throughout the world, in different languages, whether on social media. packaging, on billboards, magazines, TV ads, etc..
While your business may not have the size or footprint as Coke, you can utilize a similar strategy to promote your brand in your marketing, including social media.
To start, define your brand and the look of your headshots that will best convey your brand. A look has a number of key elements:
a. Business formal vs. business casual – for men, business formal generally refers to suit/tie. But there are many variations as you move towards business casual, for example in men’s clothing (in order of more formal to less formal):
i. Shirt/tie with no jacket
ii. Shirt/no tie with a jacket
iii. Shirt/no tie/no jacket
One of the most impactful elements of a look is the expression on people’s faces. Expressions in business generally are in the range of happy to a somewhat neutral/confident look (haven’t really seen a sad look for a business headshot). The expressions can vary by individual, function, rank, and so on, but should be reflective of the business you’re in, the company culture and what you want to convey, and most importantly what your clients want/expect to see. For example, principals at a graphics design firm known for their creativity will likely have a more casual/friendly look vs. criminal attorney’s office.
The type of expression may also be different depending on where/how the image will appear. For example, if your company website’s “About” or “Team” page is generally oriented towards investors, you probably want a more serious looking headshot for people on that page, vs. if one of those team members was posting something on a social media page such as Facebook; and the image for LinkedIn may also be different in terms of expression/formality.
Lighting can convey different moods/feelings and should be both consistent across the images on the page, as well as with the subject’s expressions. For example, lighting that falls off to shadow on one side of the face is a more serious/dramatic look – you likely wouldn’t want to couple that with someone laughing/or with a wide smile.
You’ll also want the lighting to be consistent – this is another reason why outdoor images are not necessarily the best solution, unless artificial light is used to light the subject. Sunlight looks different depending on the time of day, year, weather, and location. Shooting in the studio allows you to control the light and achieve consistency.
4. Other elements to consider
a. Background color
In many cases, you don’t want the background to distract the viewer from the headshot, so a solid color background is best. Staying with a neutral color, such as white, grey, or black, in general provides greater latitude and a better look with the variety of people’s clothing, faces, skin tones, etc..
There is a style of background called environmental headshots, where the background is where the person works or the business you’re in – eg, a lab for a company in the sciences, or a bookcase full of law books in a lawyers office. It’s generally good practice to keep the background out of focus so as to not distract the viewer from the subject’s face.
b. Portrait vs. headshot
This is generally choice based on where/how the image will be shown, and how large the image will be. Remember that viewers want to see the person’s face to see who the person is, so the more of the body you show, the less the viewer will be able to see the eyes/mouth of the person.
Headshots and Social Media Marketing
One way to think about your business headshots is that each one is a form of a business logo. Most business have a single logo that is their brand – think of business headshots in a similar fashion. A consistent look amplifies your message, and not only looks professional, but more memorable. That doesn’t mean you’re limited in whose headshot you post – you just want a consistent look. For example, if you have a business page on Facebook, images of staff should be consistent.
When thinking about social media, it’s important to understand the different platforms, who the typical audience is and who you’re targeting, the content/theme of your postings, and what you want to convey to them with your images. For example, on Facebook, you may post announcements for upcoming events, or share images/comments about an event that already occurred, or other content/articles that may be of interest. These are business oriented posts, and the profile image associated with the person posting should be as professional as a similar post on LinkedIn. This is another reason why you’ll want a professional headshot for employees on their LinkedIn/Facebook profiles. This is not the place to have a profile picture with the person in sunglasses, sipping a beer on a sailboat!
For more information on how to achieve great, consistent headshots for businesses, download my ebook: “Marketer’s Guide to High Quality Team Headshots” here: