Do Your Photos Show
You in the Right Light?
It’s standard to have a professional head shot on your company
websites, but is that the photo prospects are seeing when they
search for you online? Often, it’s your social profiles that pop up
first in a Google search. So what kind of a first impression do those
profile photos make? Are pictures with pets and friends acceptable?
What about images taken at social events or in a public setting?
Although there’s no right answer, panelists unanimously favored
agents who used professional photos across online platforms and
cautioned against using any image that appears too casual.
They noted one exception: when a more relaxed picture speaks
to your specialty or business acumen. Gregory Burrus Green, an
associate broker at Village Realty in Nags Head, N.C., sells mostly
vacation homes in the oceanside community. So it was perfectly ap-
propriate for him to use a Facebook profile shot of him and his dog
on the beach, said panelist Carrie Bell, 30. “He’s showing that he’s
part of the lifestyle he’s selling,” Bell said. “If I were buying a beach
house, I would see him as someone who gets what I’m looking for.”
Panelists generally agreed that photos should have a con-
sistency across platforms—especially when it comes to age.
Seattle-based broker Wayne Lubin with John L. Scott Real Estate,
for example, used what appeared to be a recent photo on his realtor.
com® profile, while photos on his company website, Facebook profile, and LinkedIn pages seemed more dated. The panelists’ advice:
Use photos that depict how you look today—with a similar hair style
and color. “It’s about being honest about who you are,” said June
Wood, 67. Photo discrepancies can make you seem disconnected
from the up-to-the-minute nature of online information today, she
Worse yet is not bothering to upload a profile photo and allowing
the ubiquitous gray silhouette to stand next to your name. That
sends the message you’re too lazy or time-crunched, or don’t have
the technical know-how, to upload an image.
Does Your Bio Have a Point?
“About me” bios serve as your informal introduction to consumers.
Here’s where you can get creative, communicating your personal
connections to your neighborhoods or highlighting hobbies that add
value to your real estate knowledge. Make sure that what you’re saying
will have meaning to potential clients and the message you intend to
send is clear.
Avoid vague statements. A professional bio isn’t the place for
stream-of-consciousness musings. Instead, talk about yourself and
your experience. Panelists said Lubin’s note on his realtor.com® profile
that “God isn’t making any more real estate! Therefore, I’ve learned
that buyers buy and sellers sell at any time,” while true, didn’t give o;er
them a reason to work with him. Panelist Matt Bell, 30, said general
statements provide little value. “It sounds like he’s having a beer with
his buddy—not talking to a client,” Bell added.
Get personal—then get to business. You can share personal details—it humanizes you—but don’t belabor the point. Remember that
clients are seeking a pro with business skills first. The panel liked knowing that Green’s family had a 200-year history in his community but
called the details in his bio “overkill.” He should have more succinctly
stated how his family history improves his ability to sell real estate in
the community, noted panelist Carrie Bell. “I like agents that have a
little bit of personal info in their bios, but mostly business,” she said.
List hobbies that reflect your expertise. It’s fine to point out
activities that tie to your business, but hobbies that don’t seem to add
value for the consumer are seen as irrelevant. Diane Werner-Pettinari,
SRES, a sales associate with Grace Realty in Bethlehem, Pa., included
“watching my flowers bloom” among her personal interests. “It’s not
good or bad that she says that,” said panelist Ariella Chavarria, 21, “but
it doesn’t help me decide whether to use her.”
Proofread your copy. The panelists were quick to spot misspellings and missing punctuation in a few of the agents’ bios. The errors in
this case weren’t deal breakers, but they were a distraction.