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  • Dan Bowsher | Sett Social

#SettUpForSocial: Is your WhatsApp profile pic an achilles heel?


Have you double-checked your WhatsApp profile photo recently?


Officially, plenty of businesses ban or discourage using WhatsApp for work purposes – with good reason when it comes to confidential stuff, I’m sure – but I know I’m not alone in using it to arrange meetings, nudge on approvals, and even hold the odd video meeting when its convenience trumps everything else.


And it’s because of this that I’ve seen some absolute corkers (read doozies) of profile pictures when others use their ‘personal’ WhatsApp for work.


Some people don’t have one showing at all. Boo!


Some people – like me – use the same picture as their LinkedIn profile.


Some people use a shot of their family or pet.


And others, well let’s just say stag-do/bachelor party outfits or other drunken exploits feature more often than you might think.


We’re all entitled to put whatever picture we want on our social media profiles, of course, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest some people don’t see WhatsApp in the same light as, say, LinkedIn when it comes to their professional persona.


Here’s the thing, though. If you do use WhatsApp at all, and your work and personal numbers are one and the same, the moment a colleague, prospect, boss, or customer adds your number to their contacts, they’re likely to be informed you’re on WhatsApp. And that means they can potentially see your profile picture, so giving some thought to what you use there might be more important than you previously thought.


What to do about it, though? As always, it’s down to your personal choice, but here are a few things to consider:


Is your image visible? Privacy settings can manage this, making it available to all, only contacts (note, that means people with whom you’ve exchanged messages on WhatsApp), or nobody at all.


Is your image clearly you? A close-up headshot is best, rather than one in which you’re in a group somewhere off in the distance. You may have access to professional shots – perhaps re-use the one you have on LinkedIn, if so – but a half-decent selfie can work just fine.


Is your image appropriate if you use the number for work-related discussions? This is more subjective, and possibly one to get a second opinion on, although it’s fair to say a shot in which you’re wearing a black PVC outfit and brandishing an inflatable sheep under one arm may not be the best career move you’ve ever made.


Of course, you could argue that an ‘interesting’ image is one that has the potential to spark a conversation, but I recommend you do that with intent rather than inadvertently.