Welcome to the future
It’s 2022 and the internet reigns supreme. Whatever business you are in, having high quality, current headshots is vital to your marketing. There are a million things engineered to distract, all vying for your visitors' attention.
You need to ’stop the scroll’, and there are few better ways to do that than with some good old-fashioned company photos!
It used to be that real estate agents and corporate finance leaders were the only ones required to have such images taken, but today everyone benefits from improving their online presence.
Headshots and corporate portraits serve as a great way to get your company noticed. Images increase engagement, regardless of medium or platform. A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research in 2019 found that professionally shot images consistently lead to higher engagement on social media.
Further research by LinkedIn found that profiles with photos receive up to 21 times more engagement, and up to 9 times more connection requests than profiles without. Yet more research concluded that Facebook posts with photos garnered almost 40% more engagement than posts without.
From LinkedIn profiles to Facebook posts to company websites to coffee table books; images are important, they get our attention. And photos of people visible on profiles or websites build trust. When we can put a face to companies we can better picture ourselves doing business with them.
It’s a trust thing
Why is this? What difference should it make to a potential customer whether or not they can see photos of team members? After all, people are shopping for goods and services, not people, right? Well, yes, they are shopping for goods and services. But they want to feel comfortable with the people they are buying from. Because it’s the people that make the difference. We’re not just buying goods. We’re buying into relationships.
It’s rare for a company to have a monopoly on a given good or service. We have choices. It should go without saying that the quality of the product is important. But just as important is the service we receive. We want to feel taken care of. We want to feel that we can trust the vendor. We want assurances that, when there is a problem, we won’t be left high and dry.
People want to do business with those that they know, like and trust. That’s one of the most oft repeated axioms in marketing; it’s also, along with ‘first impressions count’, as true today as it ever was.
Whether we like it or not, every website we visit, every face we see, is the basis for a surprisingly snappy judgement call. People form an impression about another person in about 1/10 of a second. Think about that. Virtually instantaneously we’re judging people, and all on auto-pilot!
Such a statistic tends to surprise when first encountered (did you think ‘yay, go brain’ or ‘that’s kind of creepy’?). But without digressing into a discussion about evolutionary hangovers or early man’s fight for survival informing modern behaviours, it does make sense.
We need to know whether the new acquaintance can be trusted. Do they mean us harm? Is it safe to continue interacting with them? Will they smell nice? Do we even want to engage with them at all? Call it ignorance, survival instinct or even prejudice, it’s what we do. And although the process is subconscious, automatic and extremely rapid, it doesn’t stop there.
What really counts about first impressions isn’t the fact that they happen, or that they do so quickly and automatically. They count because they can last for months.
Those first impressions can persist even in the face of subsequent evidence which challenges that impression. Wow! First impressions are not infallible, with around 35% found to be ‘incorrect’. But they do play a major part in determining whether we progress any relationship far enough to discover how correct that impression was.
Professional images help create a great first impression by giving you a consistent look throughout your materials, adding to the overall impression of competence and professionalism. And, perhaps most importantly, they allow your visitors to see who they are dealing with.
Viewing your company headshots as a powerful marketing tool can give you an edge over the competition. You get to introduce yourself to potential clients and customers before even meeting them; with many business relationships beginning online, this counts.
If you were to meet a potential client at their offices, you would likely dress to impress. You want to look and feel smart and professional, because that’s how you want to be perceived. The same applies online. Put your best foot, or face, forward. Make the best first impression you can.
Another great thing about headshots is their versatility. LinkedIn, website and social media profiles are obvious uses. Add email signatures to that to enhance the personal touch. Headshots also work brilliantly with conferencing applications like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, GoToMeeting, the list goes on.
If you are not so IT savvy, your photographer should be able to provide you with suitably resized images. As always, the more the photographer knows about what you want to use your images for, the better the outcome.