5 Elements of a Successful Social Media Profile Picture

5 Elements of a Successful Social Media Profile Picture

5 Elements of a Successful Social Media Profile Picture | Social Media TodayIn any lead generation or social media marketing campaign, you need to put your best face forward.

Are you ready to wow potential clients, partners or employers with a headshot that makes you look like a professional in your industry?

The first and most important thing you need to remember is that first impressions are everything, especially online – you have mere seconds to make an impression before they size you up and move on.

While your profile photo should be professional, you also want it to reflect your personality and personal brand.

It can also be a good idea to use the same profile image on all of your social media profiles. This not only ensures consistent branding but also helps make it easier for people to recognize you when they see your profile image on each of the different social media platforms.

Establishing a professional, branded presence starts with a great photo and here are five elements of a successful social media profile image, to ensure that you make the right impression in your lead generation or social media marketing campaign.

1. Have a clean or monotone background

The best wildlife photographers hone in on their subjects and make the details of a butterfly or a flower come to life by allowing the background to fade out of our visual perspective.

A great profile picture should do the same. Make sure the background isn’t busy or complicated so that you can remain the focal point of the photo.

2. Present your best self

Although it’s nice to have photos of yourself with friends and colleagues, your profile picture should feature you exclusively.

Make sure that you don’t ‘cut’ someone out of the photo by cropping it or use that picture you look fabulous in from your last vacation in the Swiss Alps.

I strongly urge you to consider hiring a professional photographer or skilled friend to take a great headshot that features you, solo.

3. Use a headshot

It can be tempting to use photos of you doing interesting and active things on your social media profiles, like posting political activist signs or climbing Mt. Everest.

While it’s great to include this type of dynamism in your extended profile, your profile picture makes a serious first impression and it should be a close-up featuring your face and eyes.

I can’t stress enough just how important it is when making a first impression through a profile photo that the image is a head shot with your eyes visible, looking at the camera.

There’s a lot of science behind why this is so important and if you are interested, you can learn more about the social psychology of social media profile photos here.

4. Showcase your personality with color

social media marketingColor is a great way to incorporate some of your personality into your profile image.

Simply add a little color to your clothing rather than wearing just black or white.

There’s decades of psychological research proving that color affects how people respond to you.

Wear red to convey a sense of power, or hot pink to inspire affection.

Wear emerald green to signify wealth or growth.

Communicate on a subconscious level with people using the color you feature within your profile picture.


5. Smile

It doesn’t matter how conservative the organization is that you work with or how professional you want to appear, smiling creates an instant connection. It also de-ages you and makes you instantly more approachable.

Don’t underestimate this form of non-verbal communication in your profile picture.

Do you have a professional image for your social media profiles? Do you use one branded image on all of your social media platforms? Let me know in the comments below.

The post 5 Elements of a Successful Social Media Profile Picture appeared first on Top Dog Social Media.

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4 Tips for Mastering Your Brand Personality on Social Media

4 Tips for Mastering Your Brand Personality on Social Media

Please take note – your social media manager hates when you ask questions like this:

“Why haven’t we done the mannequin challenge?”

When Hootsuite asked their followers what they hated most about brands on social media ‘linking your brand to every trend’ scored highly, and I have to say I agree. 

Done well, hijacking trends is a popular way for your company to reach new audiences on social media and reveal your human side. But done wrong, it can spell disaster.

Instead of joining in hashtags like #nationalpenguinday or #mannequinchallenge, here are four tactics you can use to show your human side and still stay ‘on brand’.

1. Go #BehindTheScenes

Many content types can be difficult to produce when time (or budget) is tight – that’s where behind-the-scenes (BTS) content comes in. 

With the use of your trusty smartphone in hand and your happy employees all around you, BTS content provides real value-drive and effective posts. Think about it – you’re giving your customers unique and intimate access to your business with a first-hand view of what goes on behind closed doors. Use this opportunity to tease product launches or offer exclusive content. 

A recent Instagram post from Lush does just this. 

4 Tips for Mastering Your Brand Personality on Social Media | Social Media Today

2. Share your infinite wisdom

For companies that offer a service, you’ll be particularly familiar with the struggle of highlighting your knowledge without giving too much away.

The trick here? Strike a balance and don’t be afraid to ENGAGE. After all, it is ‘social’. 

Participate in Twitter chats, hold Q&A sessions and share your tips – all on social media. By doing this, you’re not only demonstrating your knowledge, but you’re establishing your reputation.

It might seem time-consuming but you’ll be surprised at just how much inspiration can come from this to create future content.  

3. Be a Cheerleader 

Celebrating internal successes on social media is one of those gifts that just keeps on giving. If you’re proud of the work your company is doing, say so. 

Whether you’ve won an award or a new member of staff has started, success posts send out the right message about your company. It demonstrates growth, makes a statement about your culture and – as any HR department will tell you – does an excellent job of recruiting future talent. 

The best part about celebrating company successes? Bringing your employees on board is the simplest and quickest way of amplifying your content 

4. Build relationships 

Remember in the previous point when I said employees were your secret weapon for increasing audiences and engagement? Well, there’s more to come.

If you’ve recently completed a project, share your success stories and let your customers do the same. Generating social proof through any social networks can greatly increase the discoverability of your brand.

You’ll notice that you don’t need a marketing department to create any of these types of content, nor do you need the most expensive camera available to you. All you need is yourself and your team. 

Standing in a room shouting about your latest product isn’t going to interest people, and likewise, participating in a viral trend isn’t going to build the right relationships. Follow these steps to build an audience that knows, likes and trusts your brand, and you’re already half way there.

What are your tips for showcasing your brand personality on social media?

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5 Takeaways from Earning Links in 130 Countries

5 Takeaways from Earning Links in 130 Countries

Posted by kerryjones

I was in Peru earlier this year for a digital marketing conference, and I overwhelmingly heard the same frustration: “It’s really hard to use outreach to earn links or PR coverage in our country.”

This wasn’t for lack of trying. As I continued to hear this sentiment during my visit, I learned there simply weren’t a lot of opportunities. For one thing, in Peru, there aren’t nearly as many publishers as in more populous countries. Most publishers expected payment for mentioning a brand. Furthermore, journalists did a lot of job-hopping, so maintaining relationships was difficult.

This is a conundrum not limited to Peru. I know many people outside of the US can relate. When you see the Fractl team and others sharing stories about how we earn hundreds of links for a single content piece, you might think it must be nice to do outreach somewhere like the US where online publishers are plentiful and they’ll feature great content with no strings attached. While the work my team does isn’t easy by any means, I do recognize that there are ample opportunities for earning links and press coverage from American publishers.

What can you do if opportunities are scarce in your country?

One solution is focusing your outreach efforts on publishers in neighboring countries or countries with the same language and a similar culture. During conversations with the Attachmedia team (the company hosting the conference I was at), I learned they had much greater success earning media stories and building links outside of Peru because publishers in surrounding South American countries were more receptive to their email pitches and publishing third-party content.

But you may not need to do any international outreach if you know how to create the type of content that will organically attract attention beyond your borders.

At Fractl, many of our top-performing client campaigns have secured a lot of international links even without us doing much, or any, international outreach. To dig deeper, we recently conducted an analysis of 290 top-performing client content campaigns to determine which content naturally attracted coverage from international publishers (and thus, international links). Altogether, these campaigns were featured by publishers in 130 countries, earning more than 4,000 international media stories.

In this post, I’ll share what we found about what causes content to spread around the world.

1. Domestic success was a key factor in driving international placements for Fractl’s campaigns.

For years, we’ve noticed that if content gets enough attention in the US, it will organically begin to receive international press and links. Watch how this happens in the GIF below, which visualizes how one of our campaigns spread globally after reaching critical mass in the US:


Our study confirmed that there’s a correlation between earning a high number of links domestically and earning international links.

When we looked at our 50 most successful client campaigns that have earned the highest number of media stories, we discovered that these campaigns also received the most international coverage. Out of the 4,000 international placements we analyzed, 70 percent of them came from these 50 top-performing campaigns.

We also found that content which earned at least 25 international media pickups also earned at least 25 domestic pickups, so there’s a minimum one-to-one ratio of international to domestic pickups.

2. Overcome language barriers with visual formats that don’t rely on text.

Maps showing a contrast between countries were the visualizations of choice for international publishers.


World maps can be easily understood by global audiences, and make it easy for publishers to find an angle to cover. A client campaign, which looked at how much people eat and drink around the world, included maps highlighting differences between the countries. This was our fourth-highest-performing campaign in terms of international coverage.

calories-map.png It’s easy for a writer whose primary language isn’t English to look at a shaded map like the one above and pick out the story about his or her country. For example, a Belgian publisher who covered the consumption campaign used a headline that roughly translated to “Belgians eat more calories than Americans”:


Images were the second most popular visual format, which tells us that a picture may be worth a thousand words in any language. One great example of this is our “Evolution of Miss Universe” campaign, where we created a series of animated and interactive visualizations using photos of Miss Universe winners since 1952:

The simplicity of the visuals made this content accessible to all viewers regardless of the language they spoke. Paired with the international angle, this helped the campaign gain more than 40 pickups from global sites.

As we move down the rankings, formats that relied on more text, such as infographics, were less popular internationally. No doubt this is because international audiences can’t connect with content they can’t understand.

When creating text-heavy visualizations, consider if someone who speaks a different language can understand it — would it still make sense if you removed all the text?

Pro tip: If your outreach strategy is targeting multiple countries or a country where more than one language is widely spoken, it may be worth the effort to produce text-heavy visuals in multiple languages.

3. Topics that speak to universal human interests performed best internationally.

Our top-performing international campaigns show a clear preference for topics that resonate globally. The six topics that performed best internationally were:

  1. Drugs and alcohol
  2. Health and fitness
  3. Entertainment
  4. Sex and relationships
  5. Travel
  6. Technology

Bear in the mind that these topics are reflective of our client campaigns, so every topic imaginable was not included in this study.

We drilled this down a little more and looked at the specific topics covered in our top 50 campaigns. You’ll notice many of the most popular topics would make your grandma blush.


We know that controversial topics are highly effective in grabbing attention, and the list above confirms that pushing boundaries works on a global scale. (We weren’t exactly surprised that a campaign called “Does Size Matter?” resonated internationally.)

But don’t look at the chart above and assume that you need to make your content about sex, drugs, and rock and roll if you want to gain international attention. As you can see, even pedestrian fare performed well globally. Consider how you can create content that speaks to basic human interests, like technology, food, and … Instagram.

4. A global angle isn’t necessary.

While our top five international campaigns did have a global focus, more than half of our 50 top-performing international campaigns did not have a global angle. This tells us that a geographic angle doesn’t determine international success.

Some examples of non-geographic ideas that performed well are:

  • A tool that calculates indirect sexual exposure based on how many partners you’ve had
  • The types of white lies people commonly tell and hear
  • A face-off between Siri, Cortana, and Google Now performance
  • A sampling of how many bacteria and germs are found in hotel rooms

We also found that US-centric campaigns were, unsurprisingly, less likely to succeed. Only three of our campaigns with America-focused titles received more than 25 international placements. If your content topic does have a geographic angle, make sure to broaden it to have a multi-national or worldwide focus.

Pro tip: Consider how you can add an international twist to content ideas that already performed well domestically. The Miss Universe campaign example I shared above? That came to fruition after we successfully did a similar campaign about Miss America. Similarly, we could likely reboot our “Tolerance in America” campaign to look at racism around the world and expect it to be successful, as this topic already proved popular at home and is certainly relevant worldwide.

5. The elements of share-worthy content hold true internationally.

Over the years, we’ve seen time and time again that including certain elements in content greatly increases the chance of success. All of our content that achieved international success included some combination of the following:

  • Surprising information
  • An emotionally resonant topic
  • A universally appealing topic
  • Comparison or ranking of multiple places, things, or ideas
  • A geographic angle
  • A pop culture angle

Look back at the content examples I shared in this post, and make note of how many of the characteristics above are present in each one. To increase the likelihood that your content appeals to global audiences, be sure to read this post about the vital role these elements play in creating content that earns a lot of links and social shares.

What has your experience been like using content to attract international press and links? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you — leave a comment below!

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Know before you go, with Google

Know before you go, with Google

‘Tis the season for gift-giving, delicious dinners, and spending time with family and friends. That also means it’s the season of crowded holiday shopping, travel planning and entertaining the in-laws. Never fear, Google is here to help you navigate some seasonal stress.

First up: crowd control. Since introducing the Popular Times feature in Google Search and Maps last year, you’ve been able to check how busy a place typically is at different times of the week. Just in time for the Black Friday swarms, we’re adding a real-time look at how crowded a place is right now, to help you decide where and when to go. Whether you’re rushing to pick up a last minute gift or seeking a lively bar for some festive spirit, check Popular Times for a sneak preview of what to expect when you arrive.


Next up: time management. If you’re playing host for the day, you can also check and see how long people typically stay at a given location. That way you can plan your itinerary to the minute. After all, you want to be sure you leave enough time to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at your local sweets shop before heading to your dinner reservations.  

Finally: department and service hours. Stores, businesses and restaurants can sometimes have multiple hours for different departments and special services. Now on Google, you have access to these various hours, so you’ll know what time to pop by the pharmacy at your local drugstore or supermarket, when food delivery begins at a nearby restaurant (for those not looking to cook!), and what the service hours are at the auto dealership to get your brakes checked before hitting the road to see family.

service hours

All these tips are just a tap away in Google Search and Maps. So shop, eat and be merry!

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Introducing a smarter and more beautiful Google Play Newsstand

Introducing a smarter and more beautiful Google Play Newsstand

Since 2013, Google Play Newsstand has provided a single destination on your phone or tablet for browsing thousands of the world’s leading news sources and magazines. More than 100 million users trust Newsstand every month to follow the stories, topics, and interests they care about.

Today, we are announcing a complete redesign of Newsstand that focuses on three big improvements: personalization, rich media, and the extension of our platform to the web.

A fully personalized news and magazine reader for you

We are applying the power of Google machine learning to Newsstand’s rich catalog in order to find and recommend the most timely, relevant stories for you based on your individual interests.

When you open the app, a personalized briefing shows you a blend of the top stories you need to know, including major headlines, local news, and personal interests. It’s perfect to start your morning, or to get caught up in under one minute during the day.


Below the briefing, Newsstand also recommends a stream of stories from your favorite topics and sources, allowing you to go deeper into the day’s news or to simply feed your curiosity. Each recommendation includes a justification and an option for providing feedback. This way you always know why we’re showing you a story, and you can easily tell Newsstand whether to continue showing you similar stories. In other words, it gets better the more you use it.

Rich images and videos make the feeds come to life

We have improved our support for multimedia content building on the AMP support we launched earlier this year. Scroll through your feed, and you will see autoplay videos, easy podcast controls, and high-resolution, full-bleed images. Every story and topic in Newsstand now comes to life in a more engaging, beautiful presentation. And our Data Saver mode allows you to enjoy it in a way that is aware of data and bandwidth preferences.


Available anywhere you want it, including the web

Finally, we know how important it is to provide access to the news and stories you care about, wherever you are. And that’s why we have not only included Android and iOS in this update, but have extended Newsstand 4.0 to the web with our brand new web app. No matter which platform or device you use, all of your personalization and favorite sources are just a tap or click away.


Altogether, we believe that these changes contribute to a much more engaging and delightful experience for staying on top of the news.

“Newsstand just got better and CNN is happy to be a part of it. Video is more visible and integral, aligning with CNN’s expertise and enabling us to reach audiences around the world in a more visual AND more personal way.”

— Meredith Artley, SVP & Editor In Chief, CNN Digital

“The Telegraph is committed to ensuring that our readers are able to access the content they want, on the platforms they prefer. As part of this, we have been working to grow the Telegraph’s presence on Google Newsstand. Over the last year, this has seen a trebling of our traffic on the platform. As Newsstand continues to evolve, it offers ever better user experiences and more monetisation opportunities for publishers. We welcome the launch of the latest version of Newsstand and look forward to being part of its ongoing success.”

 — Melinda Rogers, Lead Product Manager, The Telegraph

We will be rolling out these changes on AndroidiOS and the web over the next couple of days.

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Google and YouTube can help keep you informed on Election Day

Google and YouTube can help keep you informed on Election Day

It’s Election Day Eve, the day before before millions of people across the U.S. will head to the polls and cast votes for their elected officials. But before you get to the ballot box — and head out with that sticker! — check Google to get the information on where to vote and election results.


Starting when the polls close on Election Day, you will be able to find U.S. election results integrated right into your Google searches in over 30 languages around the world. You’ll also be able to see detailed updates and results of the Presidential, Senatorial, Congressional, Gubernatorial races as well as state-level referenda and ballot propositions.

For the past several months, Google has helped people find information about the democratic process: our search results have helped voters register and explained the voting process with information on how to vote, who’s on their ballot, and how to find their local polling place in both English and Spanish. Since releasing these in-depth search results, we’ve seen millions of people engage with these tools on Google — there’s even been a startling 233% increase in traffic for "how to vote" compared with 2012. In addition to “how to vote,” Americans are actively searching for “where to vote” — particularly in battleground states, as depicted in these county-by-county breakdowns:





Over the past few weeks viewers spent over 20 million hours watching – and rewatching – the presidential debate live streams on YouTube. Tomorrow, YouTube will be live streaming election results coverage from more news organizations than ever before. Starting at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 8, tune in to live coverage from NBC, PBS, MTV, Bloomberg, Telemundo and The Young Turks to keep up with all of the action as it happens. Complex News will also be delivering live coverage during a special election event from YouTube Space NY. And to close out YouTube’s #voteIRL campaign, creators and fans have been posting their #voteIRL selfie to mark that they’re going to vote. And tune in to some special voting reminder PSAs starring POTUS and some familiar-looking furry friends.


Whether you voted early, plan to head to the polls tomorrow, host an Election Night watch party, or live stream the victory speech from America’s new President-Elect, we’re here to help. From the ballot box to tomorrow’s late-night returns, we hope Google’s tools help guide you through Election Day in a simple, clear and informative way.

And one last thing: don’t forget to vote. It matters.

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Saving Magic Cat Academy from catastrophe!

Saving Magic Cat Academy from catastrophe!

Hi, I’m Momo, a student at the illustrious Magic Cat Academy. Heading to class this morning, I thought it would be just like any other day: learn a few new spells, drink some milk, and hang out with my awesome animal and vegetable pals. To my Halloween horror, hundreds of angry ghosts have invaded the halls of my beloved school — fur real! And now, I ask you to join me to try your hand (or paw!) at fending off these ghastly ghosts with today’s Halloween Google Doodle.


With a swipe of your paw (or should I say wave of your wand), you can help turn these Halloween tricks into a real treat. But be warned, your spell casting must be quick and precise. To send these ghouls into a tailspin, you must draw the symbols that appear above the ghosts’ heads on your screen. Wow! Meow!

game demo

That’s not all: show your friends who’s the real expurrrrrt at casting spells by sharing your score after your sorcery is complete. After all, Halloween festivities are always more fun with your full litter!


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Google Testing New Feature for Messaging Businesses From Search Results by @MattGSouthern

Google Testing New Feature for Messaging Businesses From Search Results by @MattGSouthern

A select number of site owners are currently being invited to test a new feature that allows searchers to message businesses directly from Google search results.

There’s a new Google My Business Help guide dedicated to the messaging feature, but it doesn’t provide much information beyond telling site owners to follow the instructions in the email.

There’s no information about how you can get invited to test the new feature, or what types of businesses are being selected at this time. Although the help guide does provide a screenshot of what the new messaging feature looks like in search results, which you can see below:


When it comes to the actual messaging itself, businesses have two options. They can either use traditional SMS messaging, or as an alternative they can use Google Allo.

Be weary though, if you get an invitation to try this feature it’s not advisable to sign up unless you intend on being fairly prompt with your responses.

When a customer messages a businesses they’ll be provided with the business’s average response time. If the customer perceives the average response time to be too long, it’s possible they will move on to a more responsive business.

Google warns that it will even suspend businesses from the pilot program if their average response time becomes gets to be too long. In other words, don’t accept the invitation unless you intend to actively communicate with customers on a regular basis.

However, if you sign up and then later decide having searchers message you isn’t something you’ll be able to keep up with, you can opt out of the test at any time.

It’s interesting this news about Google’s new messaging feature comes just one day after Bing announced it is rolling out a similar feature. The key differences are Bing’s new messaging option appears to be getting a much wider rollout, and businesses have the option to chose whichever messaging service they want. Whether it’s SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and so on.

At this rate, it won’t be long before the option to text a business from search results is as commonplace as the option to make a phone call.

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Waze Does Display Advertising Right

Waze Does Display Advertising Right

There was a time when I thought all display advertising was "meh." 

I have reasons (and deep) rationale to think this way. Few were around selling banner ads when they first came out, like I did. I was on the front lines of the dot com boom, bust and echo. I was there when search engine marketing first became a thing. I was there when the IAB came online, and standards became part of the formalization and validation of this advertising channel. This was before search engine marketing became the online advertising juggernaut that it is. Back then display (known as banner advertising) was much bigger than search. Now, it’s becoming abundantly clear: publishers can’t get off of the drug of display advertising. Still, consumers are pushing back with ad blocking, and marketers need a place to park the massive ad spend from dollars that are shifting over to digital. From brands to media companies to publishers, I have spent the vast part of the past two decades selling, promoting and watching this form of online advertising evolve. From the initial promise of performance and analytics, to its current state of branding.

Most of the time, display advertising is an afterthought. 

As online advertising evolves, my feelings have changed as well (I trust that yours have as well). Display units have become a necessary but complex part of publishing, and have not adjusted to replace the dollars that publishers have lost in their other traditional business models. Candidly, I had accepted them for what they are. That is until I started using the mobile app and awesome navigation tool, Waze (which was acquired by Google for over $1 billion in 2013). 

Waze does display advertising right. 

Like most display advertising formats, I was initially frustrated by the interruptive nature of Waze’s display advertising. After about ten minutes, I was in awe by how well done it is… and, more importantly, by how well done it will be, as it evolves and matures. Waze takes display advertising, and adds two components to it that make it so glorious. It’s not only relevant and powerful, but perhaps one of the smartest applications of display advertising online that I have come across:

  1. It’s only there when you’re not moving. Waze is great. Waze is free. It amazes me, because of what the typical cost of navigation systems have been in the past, and also because of the high level of user-generated value that is layered on top of it. Road closings, accidents, where the cops are hanging out, and more… in real time. This is the type of app that I (and many others) would probably be willing to spend some serious dollars on. So, if the "cost" of usage Waze is advertising, I’m willing to power through it. There are tons of dubious ways that Waze could have deployed an ad platform (banners along the bottom, interruption interstitials as you tap in your coordinates, etc…). The first thing they do brilliantly, is that you only see an ad when your car is at a red light or stopped for a longer period of time. At first, it was still an interruption model, but as soon as I realized how the creative was being initiated (and how it gracefully departs when the vehicle moves), it felt like a really smart execution.
  2. It’s hyper-local… or, at least, it can/should be. Almost all of the ads are relevant to where you are or what you’re doing. Gas stations, fast food dining, local merchants and more. If there is a lack of local advertising, Waze adds in a major chain (think fast food, gas stations, etc…). So, the ads are (or can be) super relevant, super local and super useful. This part is not perfect, but you can see that it can be, from the advertiser’s perspective (being able to target specific types of drivers in a range of distance from their business). Plus, it tells you how far that advertiser is from your current location, and wisely allows you to add them as a stop along your way.

What makes a great ad?

Relevant, timely, easy and valuable. Waze’s advertising platform is not perfect. It’s not always relevant and timely, but you can feel that this publisher has put a significant amount of effort into making the advertising experience valuable to the brand, and relevant with a hint of additional value to the user. Huge win in a world where most (including me) have become skeptical of display advertising efficacy and evolution.

You can’t ask for more, when it comes to display advertising


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