Helen Green with a paper bag on her head in a garden

In this second part of my four part series about possible unintended consequences of the images you use, I’m going to talk about not using a photo at all.

If people can’t see you they cannot build trust in you and people don’t want to do business with people they don’t trust


Would you go to a meeting with a paper bag over your head? Of course you wouldn’t, but not having a profile photo on social media or on your website is just the same.

Trust is such an essential element in business and depending what you do, there are different levels of trust that people need to have to be prepared to work with us. There are some businesses that need especially high levels of trust like coaching and counselling where our clients share personal information with us and others like being a dentist where our client put their lives in our hands. But we all need to build up a relationship of trust, whatever our line of work.

When it comes to being online, not having a profile photo can raise doubts about your authenticity: people might question whether you are a real genuine person. Or is it a lack of attention to detail: would you want to deal with someone who couldn’t be bothered?

People do business with people. You may think your business is B2B or B2C but actually all business is H2H – human to human. People want to connect with another human being and really want to see who they are dealing with. And that applies whether you are working for a large company or are a sole trader.

Thank you to Louise Jenner for the analogy of putting a paper bag on your head. I first heard this idea at a talk about social media she gave at a networking event and it struck me at so true at the time that I have remembered it ever since. And Louise did indeed put a paper bag on her head to make her point.

So if you don’t have a profile photo you might want to think about what people will read into that and also how that might impact your business.