Small Business Marketing Services(412) 228.0504


5 Key Elements Of Highly Effective Social Media Profile Pictures


Robert Caruso Twitter profile picture

You can tell a lot about someone from their profile picture. It’s the window to our social souls—that one thing that can reflect our unique personality better than anything else. 

When we get it right, people are unavoidably drawn to us.

When we get it wrong, they usually move on to someone else without batting an eyelash. 

Whether you’re a small business owner, Fortune 50 corporation, or somebody who just loves talking about bacon, your profile picture defines who you are and what you’re all about in a few short seconds. Before someone reads one word of your profile, they’re going to see your picture…that is, if you even have one.

A few months back, I stumbled across Robert Caruso, CEO and Founder of on Twitter (@fondalo) and I was immediately fascinated by his profile picture.

At first glance, I wasn’t sure if he was an amateur superhero, aspiring boxer, or auditioning for a boy band (see above photo).

But there was just something about his phantom punch that made him stand out from other folks. Over time, it has become clear that it is a great expression of his personality and even his personal brand.

That profile picture ultimately led to a phone call. Like two Glamour Shots photographers separated at birth, the more we talked, the more we agreed. And what resulted was this handy dandy list of profile picture imperatives:

1) Always know your purpose.

Profile photos help to establish personal connections--they capture our personalities, passion, and make our profiles more human. 

To determine your purpose, start by answering the following 3 questions...

  • Do I want my social media first impression to be that of a “pitch”?
  • Do I want the impression to be some logo or brand image they don’t know or even care about?
  • Do I want the impression to leave them wondering WTH?

Now, if you are using social media for fun and not for business, not much of the above really matters. If you are, it matters significantly. The answers you give will reflect your true understanding of social media and how effective you wish to be using it for marketing.

2) People connect with people, not logos.

We want to make connections in social media that lead to real human relationships. That is the real power of this medium.

We know people hang around people like them, relate to people like them and most importantly buy from people they feel they know and like. I can’t have a relationship with your logo. I can with a person from your company.

3) Leave the Glamour Shots for somebody else. Seriously folks.

I know most Realtors are the biggest offenders here, but can we be real?

If you have your 1987 high school photo on your business card like many real estate agents do, you are in for it within the social graph. You’re not fooling anyone in person and you most certainly won’t in social media.

4) Let your freak flag fly.

I’m borrowing this tip from Eric Boggs from Argyle Social because 1) it’s totally on point and 2) I’m a huge fan of the alliteration.

Caution: your freak flag doesn’t actually have to be “freaky” at all, it just has to represent you—your unique personality and your unique style. When you get that right, your profile will be memorable and that’s really what it’s all about.

5) Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little.

Your Facebook “you” should relate to your Twitter “you” but that doesn’t mean your pics have to be identical across all of your social media profiles. Sure you want them to be unified but they can still be unique.

Be real, make it fun and get noticed.


digital marketing audit

Leave a comment

"When we first started working with Shawn we had 20 clients and have since grown to over 50 clients worldwide."

Nick End, Shoefitr

Free Marketing News & Updates

Get free marketing tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox.