Branding Your #SocialMedia Profile Series #1: Your Social Media Profile Photo

Branding Your #SocialMedia Profile Series #1: Your BSMP Photo

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Branding Your Social Media Profile (BSMP) is a new 1-on-1 program that helps brands bring their social media profile and presence to the next level.

This series of articles is an introduction to some of the techniques and experiments that have been proven to make this underutilized real estate work for you. 

Brands and others looking for customized analysis and guidance specific to their profile(s) can register for 1:1 coaching here.

When you push your sleeves up and start your work on your branded Instagram/Twitter/TikTok/LinkedIn/etc. profile, the best and most effective way is to use it effectively is to tell YOUR* story.

Related: Good influencers should help you seed your story in advance, so when you launch it won’t come …

The goal is to tell your story/narrative, and to share your differentiation vs the other 4 billion social media accounts, by using everything you’ve got at your disposal. When it comes to your profile photo, think colors, facial expressions, coffee cups, smiling pets, the ocean, a yoga pose — whatever you need to make sure your story gets told.

Although real-estate on your profile/bio is limited, you can tell your story through various elements: a 3-5 word sentence, a hashtag, or even through a …URL (don’t believe me? Here is an example: “”)! And of course, your profile photo should tell your story too, since it’s the one of the first things your visitors look at.

So…how can you tell your story through a small photo??? There are three things to nail down here:

1 – Tell the Same Story

The photo must tell the same story as your profile text, your extended name, your hashtags, and even your URL. If they aren’t all talking in same language, you might not be successfully telling your story. And so, if you say you believe in optimism, the photo has to show good world, if you say in your profile that you love suits, wear a suit, be in the swimming pool if your story is swimming, and if you fight for black families’ lives, you might show the people who inspire you, and so on. I think you’ve “got the picture” – you need a unified message.

See the below example- what a great representation of “#AColorStory”, right?

#AColorStory telling a story via instagram pic
#AColorStory telling a story via Instagram photo

Same with Anthropologie (bringing joy and inspiration via vivid, unique colors): bio pic bio photo
A good example of consistency in story telling is this Rose Wine story... it's everywhere, and that's how it should be (no one will confuse Sarah with Cab wine tasting, right...?)
A good example of consistency in story telling is this Rose Wine story… it’s everywhere, and that’s how it should be (no one will confuse Sarah with Cab wine tasting, right…?)
Rosé Season (@roseseason)

2 – The Perfect Size, Perfect Background, Perfect Props, Perfect…

Take the tools and environment available on the social media platform you are using, and perfect your use of it.

Each social media platform has its own photo specs, so – for example – while an Instagram profile photo size is required to be 180 x 180 pixels, TikTok’s is 200 x 200, and Linkedin’s is 300 x 300. Therefore, edit your profile photo to the perfect size so it looks good on every platform. If you don’t, your photo will be cropped and cut-off, like this one:

bio photo cropped cut-off - example
bio photo cropped and cut-off – an example

Don’t be discouraged though – if you designone good photo (or a logo), and save it in a high pixel format, you’ll be able to use it anywhere.

Next – the photo background can make miracles, especially for head-shots:

yellow background - profile photo
differentiation through profile photo background color

Great for differentiation, right? Here is another example – maybe:

Who has a more outstanding bio pic...? Doesn't the blue background really draw your attention?
Who has a more outstanding bio pic…? Doesn’t the blue background really draw your attention?

Next – Using prompts could be a great way to demonstrate what you do in a visual way. If you’re in the mask wearing camp, wear a mask, if you are a flower specialist, hold (or kiss or insert into your “hardware”) flowers. Are you talking about poodle dogs? Show yourself hugging a dog… Demonstrate your personality this way.

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In this example, a swimmer shares a photo of herself swimming (although the photo is not super professional, it doesn’t matter, it’s still a real winner, it brings a great attachment to swimming and to that person!):

Bio - e.g. if you are a swimmer, then a pic with you as a swimmer
If you are a swimmer…
This is a fantastic Linkedin Background photo by Mr. Franoza. It's not only a work of art but marketing-wise it's art in and of itself - it generates curiosity, and so related to to what he does (sound/speaker engineering).
This is a fantastic Linkedin Background photo by Mr. Franoza. It’s not only a work of art but marketing-wise it’s art in and of itself – it generates curiosity, and so related to to what he does (sound/speaker engineering).

Thinking aloud: Who says that there has to be logo on your social media profile photo? How about featuring a product with your logo ON it, for example a white sport sock with your logo on it… Wouldn’t that stand out and achieve more in terms of story telling? #branding

3 – The Rest is Up to You*

All the rest is up to you – zooming, lights, hair style, facial expression, attitude, etc. You can even make it all blurry if that’s your story! Differentiate yourself. Be creative. Dare. Because if you just do what your neighbor from the same area-code did, people won’t “see the you* in you” and it won’t work.

BSMP: Unique, inspiring profile photos
BSMP: Unique, inspiring profile photos

Pro Tip: Test test test… It is our natural behavior to just grab a photo (or logo) we always liked from our past and force it into the platform profile software. The results could be great or… disastrous. And so – upload it, see how it looks on that platform – is it cut off? If yes, what’s the point. It’s OK to make a mistake, it’s OK to leave it open ended, see what works the best and nail it right there. Testing through mistakes is the only way to find out!

PS/as long as it’s YOU*

What Do We Mean by YOU*

*YOU= Since it’s your name, it has to be…you. What I mean is that – yes, you can add attitude, special characters, emojis, a unique photo, wording, whatever, as long as it comes from you, and as long as it reflects your brand, who you are, and where you want to be. You should revisit this constantly, persistently, and methodically. If you need 1:1 personalized consulting on how to do this and what makes sense for your brand, you can sign up now.

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Enjoy the process, my heroes!

Branding Your #SocialMedia Profile (BSMP) Series:

Your BSMP Bio Photo
Your BSMP Extended Name
Your BSMP One Sentence Wordings
Your BSMP Hashtags
Your BSMP Update Line
Your BSMP Emojis
Elina Svitolina BSMP
Your BSMP Social Media Influencer
How to optimize your “Branded Social Media Profile” area
kick-ss CTAs for your branded social media profile
Doing your profile the wrong way
Powerpointed (Mobile Growth Virtual Summit 3.0 – “How to  Transform Your Social Media Branded Profile to a Sales Funnel Machine,  by Dear Mishu’s Dad”)! 

Coming soon:
  Your BSMP Location

Private, personalized 1-on-1 consulting on YOUR social media profile strategy is available now.

Sincerely yours,

Dear Mishu's Dad

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SMI* = Social Media Influencers

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I am the creator of Dear Mishu, a dog character that gives underdog advice to humans on social media. I originally built the account to learn about influencers and how they work. Over time, the account grew and Dear Mishu became a real social media influencer with a community of followers who ask her for advice. I use this experience and my 20 years of marketing experience to help brands understand how to reach their goals through Influencer Marketing and Social media branding.