So you’ve had your headshot or personal branding session and now have some great images of yourself. What are your next steps to promote your brand and maximize your investment? From entrepreneurs, realtors, and doctors, to contractors, artists, and chefs, everyone can benefit from having and USING their professional branding photos and headshots.

Meet Kate Houck. She’s the owner of Jolly Good Flower Company, a Richmond business that designs luxury floral arrangements that can be found at special events and in showrooms, corporate spaces, and private homes. She had a personal branding session with me earlier this year and has done an excellent job of getting those photos out there to represent herself, her brand, and her business.

Kate says that using these images has allowed her to place a professional yet laid back and approachable face to the Jolly Good Flower Company. “[That] doesn’t happen all the time in the floral business where sometimes the only “About me” pics are blurry iphone shots of someone hiding behind buckets of flowers.”

Website

In addition to a mission statement or pitch, your best work, testimonials, and other important segments of your website, give your visitors someone with whom to connect. You may choose to use your brand image in the “About me” section or even on the landing page, ready to establish that first impression to your site’s visitors.

Professional Networking

Don’t make the mistake of skipping your photo on these channels! It’s the first thing visitors will see on your profile and this is how professionals will recognize you and associate your brand. With 500 million users on Linkedin, it’s likely that there are people who share your name. Having a headshot makes your profile more reachable and less likely to be lost in the mix. And because these are professional sites, your new brand image can represent the message you want to convey.

Social Networking

Social networking mediums may be more casual than the above-mentioned professional networks, but that doesn’t mean you should slack on your personal image. These days, social media sites are one of the top ways in which we connect to others, both socially AND professionally. So whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or one of the many other sites, use these opportunities to showcase your best self.

Kate used one of her new branding shots to introduce herself to her followers. Her Instagram had, up until then, consisted only of gorgeous shots of her flower arrangements. By giving a face to the brand, someone to associate with her beautiful work, she provided a great opportunity to share a little about her background and connect with her customers. These are the reasons clients choose local companies over corporate powerhouses. Kate showcases the human and personal touch in her social media perfectly.

When Kate first shared one of her images, she included a photograph of her grandparents, telling about a visit to a flower farm in the area where her family established themselves in this country. It wasn’t until her post that she realized, for the first time, how much she resembled her grandmother. Kate says that this post stirred tons of activity and that followers reached out sharing their own nostalgic memories. “It was unintentional on my part, but I like that the history is there and that there is a “real person” presented and that it seemed to resonate with people.” Kate used her branding images to dive deeper into her personal history and who she is. She further humanized herself as the leader of Jolly Good Flower Company and connected to followers, finding commonality in their experiences.

After introducing yourself, don’t be afraid to share a portrait here and there! Remind people of who you are, that there’s a real-live person behind the business.

Here’s a cheat sheet to ensure that you’re using the correct size for optimal appearance and loading.

A few more ideas:

Brochures, Advertising Material

The more mediums through which you share your personal branding or headshot photos, the more you increase your brand awareness, especially on material that can be physically shared, handed out, and posted.

Publications

If you’re featured in a local (or national…dream big, right?) publication, you’ll have a portrait ready to go, without having to rush to book an appointment or task a friend with taking a less-professional shot.

Business Cards

In addition to your name, contact information, social media handles, website links, and other useful content, including a headshot on your business card is sometimes hugely advantageous. While this might not be appropriate for all sectors, there are some in which providing a face to connect to the name you hand out can be very successful and it’s definitely something to consider.  Picture this: you’re at a conference and you leave with dozens of business cards to sort through and from which to make professional connections. While many may jumble together in a pile of names and phone numbers and websites, you’ll remember those on which there are photos. Differentiate yourself from the rest!

Email Signatures

Help your contacts make a personal association in your online communications. Remind them of the person on the other side of the email handle by including a simple and professional image of yourself next to your name and title.

Online Communities/blog comments

This is just one more way to build that human connection that would otherwise be just another virtual persona in the infinite online universe. Additionally, it streamlines your image across multiple sites.

Skype/Video Conferencing

Make yourself recognizable to clients and contacts that you’ve met before you even hop on the video call.

By using these opportunities to showcase who you are, you increase your credibility, streamline your image, provide a face to an online persona, and humanize your brand.

The first step is get those images made (or updated!). Signup here! The second step is to get those images out there, show them off, and see for yourself how it enhances your business efforts. I would love to hear how you use your personal branding photos and headshots! Share with us in the comment section below.