Unless you have been hiding under your bed for the last few years, you know social media is the new norm. It’s how you meet people, communicate ideas, express your thoughts, interview for a job, grow business and just have fun. The days of a big smile and a firm handshake are no longer by any means a form of introducing one’s self. Your avatar is your first impression as you meet and interact with others on blogs, social networks, and in other online communities.
Your avatar defines you on the web. It represents your personality or interests and can even represent what your business stands for. Ladies and gents, welcome to the new way of branding your business, your blog or simply yourself on the internet.
Why You Need to Create an Avatar
In online communities, not having an avatar can be a fatal mistake. Can you say pure laziness? When you set up a social media account, make sure you have an avatar ready to go. Lack of creating an avatar can create feeling of suspicion, doubt, and frustration from online users. If you cannot see what someone looks like, are they trying to hide something? How serious are they about contacting you and using social media as a means of communication? Maybe, this individual does not know how to create an avatar. In a world were jobs are given through online interviews, does this person lack basic skills? Avatars also create a sense of connection in a world were face to face communication is slim to none.
When creating your avatar, there are many things that you should consider. An avatar is like a first impression; you are either well-groomed and confident or you aren’t! Here are some tips to defining yourself when creating your avatar:
• Know what your brand should stand for. Which words and images best describe the image you are trying to portray of yourself or your organization?
• Do you want to be seen as professional, creative, helpful, honest, etc?
• Create multiple avatars. Consistency is one thing. However, you can use create multiple avatars that are consistent. More than one image can convey the brand and personality you are going for. You could also use a variation of your business avatar for your personal one, so they’re easily associated with one another.
• To establish the most trust, you should create an avatar from a photo. An avatar that uses a photo of you is by far going to earn you more trust than one without a photo.
• A popular and good-looking trend that can put a twist on your photo avatar is to create a cartoon avatar from your photo.
• Be careful when creating avatars using photographs. Using an online editing tool, such as Picnik, PiZap, or FotoFlexer, can add special effects or touch up plain photography. Just be careful not to overdo it. In the event you would ever meet in person, you want to be recognizable.
Careful of Accidental Messages…
Express yourself carefully. Images may have underlying meanings that when creating your avatar you may not even think of. For example, creating a green avatar can indicate involvement in social movement. Even if you are involved in politics or social movements, avoid using these concepts when creating your avatar. People and organizations may steer clear of you if they do not share your views or see that you are promoting a cause or event that their organization is firmly against. First impressions are everything and there are plenty cases of social media campaigns gone wrong we could list. In the online world, it is important to remember that your avatar is your first impression.
Veronica Davis is a freelance writer and internet business columnist for Examiner. She works with and writes for businesses online, and recommends every business create an avatar to call their own.