What Do Your Online Profiles Say About You?

Hey y’all, Thea here again, just back from another New Media Breakfast in Glasgow. Today’s fantastic presentation was given by a rather enthusiastic, Jennifer Holloway, of Yorkshire-based Spark Branding.

In a  Malcolm Gladwell sort of way, Jennifer kicked off asking the audience to hazard a guess at a variety questions like where she’s from, how she voted in the last election, if she was in a relationship (and if it was with a man or woman) etc.

The idea being that we form an opinion of someone in the first seven seconds of contact. Incidentally, Holloway asserts this holds true even if that contact is online.


Have a think for a moment about what your profiles, for instance on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook – say about you, your business and your personality.

I don’t think I was alone in leaving the room wondering about what mine say about me, and vowing to do an audit of each before the day’s end.

Much emphasis of Jennifer’s talk was placed on LinkedIn which, of course, most of us realise is a valuable tool for business and networking. (You may have read my post last winter 8 tips for Getting the Most out of LinkedIn…)

We all need to promote our personal brand according to Jennifer and to add personality to it – even on LinkedIn.


The talk really boiled down to one, simple premise – “we do business with people we like” (well, at least whenever possible). So we need to be as likable as possible – both online and in person.

The thing is we all need to put our best foot forward, of course we do, but we also need to keep in mind that we’ll never be able to control how other people perceive us.  There will always be people who love us (our company too) and those who loathe us. We don’t have any real control over either group.


Jennifer Holloway picOne gentleman thought Jennifer’s own profile picture was “shifty” whereas others liked it and even called the picture “cheeky”. It reminds me of my favourite quote that “perspective is a mirror not a fact”.

It would stand to reason that the one most likely to do business with her was the one who found her “cheeky”.


Have a look at your own LinkedIn profile, if you have one that is. Is the profile picture a professional one? It should be.

Leave out the glam wedding day shots, or the one where you’ve cropped out your best mate in a face-lock.

Instead opt for a clear head shot with a hint of personality. [NOTE: One amusing example showed was a woman who looked like a vamped-up sex kitten, but was actually a lawyer; she, arguably, went overboard on trying to show she wasn’t a stereotypical lawyer, I’m just sayin’…]


As for the words filling your up your profile be sure to add something interesting. For instance, a prime example comes our very own MD’s profile. In addition to talking about all of the ways NSDesign can help you and your business, – there’s a little bit about Gary’s own personality in there too:

“A true people person, Gary’s other interests include magic and juggling, which he often uses to entertain the masses – from local playgroups to conference delegates!”

I love it. This, I’ve no doubt, will be a conversation starter with some people out there.  It won’t interest everyone of course, but it might just the line that causes someone out there to do business with him.


  • Take a look at your own profile/s online and assess the photo and the copy.
  • Put yourself out there and promote yourself (and your business) with “conviction”.
  • Ditch any “Old School” worn-out patter, add some personality and  blow your own trumpet (at least a little).
  • Find your own balance between under-selling and over selling yourself.

On that note, I’m off to critique and revise my own profiles and maybe add a little about that Road Trip I did back in ’06 – and the documentary about it I hope to one day make…

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2 Responses to “What Do Your Online Profiles Say About You?”

  1. John Clark

    Congratulations on a great blog. It is a great commentary on the New Media Breakfast and Jennifer’s personal branding presentation.

    • NSThea

      Thanks for that John. I got a lot out of her talk. Was a great morning all around! 🙂