Your Instagram profile picture is one of the first things potential followers see when they visit your account, and it could be the deciding factor between gaining a new follower or not. Your profile picture, or avatar, should be kept the same across all social media platforms for your business accounts. Being consistent is key to brand recognition and gaining new clients.

Your Face Says It All

It’s innately human to pay attention to faces while glossing over logos. We connect with faces, simple as that. So here we have hack number one, use a face. A photo is preferable to a logo; generally, you should only be using a logo if you’re a giant corporation like McDonald’s or Starbucks. You need a professional yet personable photo if you’re intending to your Instagram for marketing; don’t be stern but don’t be hysterically laughing either.

Hire A Professional

Don’t Be Overshadowed

You’re the star of your Instagram account, so make sure you are the star of your profile picture. Don’t let a cluttered or monumental background steal the show. That shot of you hiking Machu Picchu is wonderful, but it’ll steal the thunder from your face. Try to choose a neutral, blocked color background, without clutter; and if you use a colored background, ensure the color flatters your natural colorings. Tip: A mustard yellow room generally doesn’t do anyone any favors.

Shine A Light

Once you’ve found your perfect background, find where the natural light is coming from. A window or open shade outside, whatever it may be, face the light. Backlights require a more professional hand to pull off, and spotlights create too much of a shadow for a profile picture. The best time to take a photo for your profile picture is at Golden Hour, i.e. an hour or so around sunrise or sunset.

Crop Wisely

When you go into Instagram to update your profile picture, keep in mind that the photo is tiny. This is why it should be cropped to just your face, otherwise, people won’t be able to tell who you are or what you look like. Crop out your body, and people will be able to learn to recognize your face and attach it to your brand. As your brand becomes more and more recognizable, you’ll get more followers on Instagram.

Style Yourself In Line With Your Niche

Mostly your profile picture is of your face but try and style what is on show appropriately. For example, if you’re an Influencer for beach fashion, wear a shell necklace with your wavy hair down; whereas public speakers should have a formal hairstyle and wear a suit as if they are about to walk on stage. Another option is to wear your brand’s color as a subtle nod to what you stand for.

Props To You

Setting yourself apart from other profile pictures could mean adding in a little prop to signify something about your brand, or who you are. For example, if you’re a writer, pop a pen behind your ear; if you’re a baker, how about holding up a decadent cupcake to your lips; or a makeup artist could be pretending to apply lipstick. Use this only if it’s something subtle and small, and works for your brand. Also, be sure not to hide your face, if you’re a photographer, don’t have a camera covering your face, have it slightly to the side so users can see both. Hiding your face is basically hiding your identity, making your less likable, less accessible and less likely to gain new followers.

Smile, You’re On Camera

Strike a balance between looking professional and ready for business, and seeming friendly and approachable to clients or customers. Instagram is a great place to build up an organic following and relationships with people you can mutually trust, like and know. The first step to all of this is simply to smile at them.

The Right Angle

In the age of the selfie, hopefully, by now everyone knows not to take a photo from a low angle. It’s not good for anybody, the model of the photo or people who have to look up your nose and at your double chin. Use an angle from above, which is way more flattering, and then experiment with which angle to tilt your head and which side to take the shot from. The great thing about digital cameras is we can take as many as we want, and choose only the best.

#nofilter vs #allthefliters

Don’t be afraid to retouch your profile picture on Instagram. We all do it, even if we don’t admit to it. There is a reason photos in magazines get retouched – they look better. And if celebrities can’t pull off natural #nofilter looks, how can the average Joe be expected to? Instagram provides an abundance of filters (Clarendon being the most popular), and there are plenty of editing apps out like, like Photoshop or SnapSeed.

A Timeless Classic

Even though it can be tempting to add a Santa hat or Easter bunny ears to your profile picture, these quickly become outdated. Try to ensure your picture is something that won’t go out of style, or out of season quickly. An outdated profile picture is a turn off for a lot of potential followers. Avoid scenery like snow, because the minute it gets warm in any of the locations your followers are in, you’ll have to have another photo ready to go. Ideally, you’ll keep the same photo, so people can come to recognize it more easily.

The size for an Instagram profile picture is only 110 x 110 pixels but you can upload any size and then scale and crop it once you’re on there. Make sure any editing is done beforehand as you aren’t given the option in Instagram. Once you’ve updated your account with your new and improved profile picture, don’t be afraid to update your bio too. These are the first two things people see, and if done correctly can help you get more followers on Instagram.