Your eye draws naturally towards faces, which is why portraits for social marketing are so important. Every marketing “how to” on every social platform makes getting a professional headshot one of the top five points. What this bullet point listicle loses is that this professional portrait should be more than just a map of your face.
Before your portrait session
Even for the shortest of sessions I will ask my subject for three adjectives to describe what they would like to communicate with their portrait. Never has anyone said, “conformist, unremarkable and bland.”
Before your portrait session, I like to have a conversation about your company’s brand and individual personality. This sets us up for success in communicating and eliciting a particular feeling in your social marketing. Headshots are just a tactic within social marketing. Discussing your brand strategy brings your portrait into alignment with the rest of your marketing materials.
Then we can get into the details like hair, makeup, wardrobe, props, location and time of day. These are also important visual cues for your brand. Each element plays an important role in expressing your brand and the empathic reaction you want to evoke.
On shoot day
During our session we will constantly come back to the three words you chose. We want those three words to be recognizable in the portrait we create. This intention helps synchronize the emotions of your viewer with the feeling of your brand. When people relate to that emotion, usually without conscious effort, they feel connected.
Social Marketing Image Selection
After your session, the selection process for your social marketing portraits is intentional. Here is where it becomes clear that we have moved beyond just a map of your face. There will be differences in micro expressions but the goal of expressing your brand is key. The intention is to affectively influence the viewer, to bring their emotions into alignment with the three words you chose.
The power of an effective portrait for social marketing brings people to know, like and trust you on an intuitive and empathetic level.