Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Your Social Media Avatar and Conversion

We are well into the digital publishing world. I am fortunate to have my work appear several times a month in a variety of places.

Yet, I still love to see my mug in print, I don’t know why.

So, my digital friend, I thought I would share my mention from Chief Content Officer Magazine (free subscription) and fill in a few more details on the method to my headshot madness.

The Conversion Scientist’s Social Media Avatar Tips

1. Include something unusual in the image, something representative of your personal brand.

I wear the lab coat in every shot, even if it isn’t showing much. The human mind remembers such things.

Brian Massey headshot-Straight on

2. Control the viewer’s eyes with your eyes.

Eye-tracking studies have shown that our gaze is drawn to faces that are looking at us. In fact, we may stare at a pretty girl long enough to forget why we came to your page in the first place. Have several versions of your headshot and aim your eyes at things you want people to see: calls to action, content, headlines, etc.

Brian Massey, the Conversion ScientistBrian Massey, The Conversion Scientist™

3. Be unexpected.

One of the things we want to do is engage the mind of the viewer. Things that will light up someone’s brain activity are the unexpected, off-center and the need to “fill in” an image.

4. Consider integrating action.

You can tell a story with a one-frame headshot. So, tell it. What am I doing in this shot?

I’m talking to an audience. I must be a presenter. Why, yes, I am! But, what am I holding (unexpected)?

Brian Massey

I’m going in for the hug! That means I’m a connector, right??

Other avatar actions: Being passionate, banging a table, thinking deeply, contributing at a homeless shelter.

Our avatars don’t have to be boring, and in fact they can be quite instrumental in engaging with visitors to our Web site, Facebook profile, Twitter stream and more.

Hand-drawn avatar courtesy Kathleen McElwaine.

Headshot logo by David Holston.

Headshots by Korey Howell Photography.

Image with mic courtesy Eugene Hsu.

Contact Brian Massey

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  • http://www.soyculto.com Sebastien Yanni

    Very interesting insights you shared. I have a quick question: Have you been A/B testing the real impact on conversion for each avatar version?

    • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

      Sebastien,

      No, I’ve never done a split test on my avatar. Most of my inferences are based on tests done by others of photography. This post on the Webusability Blog illustrates the effect of using eyes to control attention. http://webusability-blog.com/use-pictures-to-direct-the-users-gaze/

      Has anyone among our readers tested avatars?

      Brian

  • http://twitter.com/NickyElectric nicky fraser

    Brian this is such a great post. It’s so important to stand out from the crowd but also be an inviting and friendly face for people to connect with. Fantastic advice! :)

    • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

      Thanks, Nicky.

  • http://truelifesuccesssecrets.com/blog/ Tammy Matthews

    I love this article. Simple, yet so informative! I have a picture of me with a drawn on crown on my private facebook page and in one of my article posts. I was afraid to use it at first, but I got some amazing responses to it!
    Thank you,
    Tammy

    • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

      Tammy,

      I must admit that I wince when I walk out on stage in my Lab Coat. I even get feedback that people rolled their eyes at first site of it. But I work hard to deliver value. Your crown may seem kitschy, but if people are hanging memories like “remarkable” and “helpful” on the image, it will work for you.

      As we say in Texas, you can’t be all hat and no cattle.

      Brian

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