Your Profile Image Can Make (or Break) Referrals

Have you considered the importance of your Facebook profile photo to the process of getting referrals? As someone who regularly refers the people and businesses I am connected with on Facebook, I have a message for you: make sure your page name and profile photo makes you easy to find!

When someone is on a smartphone and wants to connect a comment with a referral to you on Facebook, they don’t get much to look at. They start to type and get a few letters and a teeny-tiny image to try to decipher the right profile to connect.

Here’s a screen capture of my latest attempt.

The images are larger here than on my iPhone and  they are still tiny!

When people are on Facebook and see someone in search of a business exactly like yours or needing the exact service you provide, you want to make it easy for them to connect you to that opportunity. This is generally done by commenting on the post with a link to the Facebook page of the person or company.

Here’s my advice to make it easy for people to help you network and be connected to great opportunities on Facebook:

  1. Have a Facebook page for your company! Unless, of course, you are not interested in any business.
  2. Make sure your Facebook business page is named EXACTLY the same as your business name. That is what your well-meaning referrers will type. Don’t make the job harder by using a page name that does not match the name they know.
  3. Always use a profile image that helps someone know it is you. I know there are many causes to support and many cute pictures of your cat to use. Don’t. Do. It. Make sure that tiny little image screams “this is me!” all the time.


100 Million Headlines Don’t Lie

The headline is the most important part of your content. People decide what to read based on the headline. Shared content often includes little more than the headline with the link.

Buzzsumo recently analyzed 100 million article headlines to get insight into what is most effective. The research looked at the most shared headlines on Facebook and Twitter from March to May 20.

Headlines that Work on Facebook

  • The most powerful three-word phrase was “Will make you”
  • Two-word phrases that gained a high level of average engagements included “goes viral” and “most beautiful”
  • Emotional phrases such as “tears of joy” and “shocked to see”were consistently effective on Facebook
  • Headline phrases that provoke curiosity and a sense of voyeurism also gained a high level of engagement on Facebook, such as “What happened next” and “are freaking out”
  • Many of the most engaging phrases contain numbers, and the number 10 is the best performing number to use

Headlines that Work on Twitter

  • The headline phrases that gained the most engagement on Twitter were different from those that gained high engagement on Facebook except for “will make you”
  • Top Twitter phrases have a focus on newness such as “this is what,” “for the first time,” and “things to know”
  • Emotional phrases do not resonate on Twitter

Word Count Matters Too

Buzzsumo also analyzed the number of words in article headlines and plotted this number against the average number of Facebook engagements for all headlines in our sample.

  • Posts with 2-18 words in the headline receive the highest number of Facebook engagements on average
  • As headlines get longer or shorter, Facebook engagements decline
  • 80 to 95 characters is optimal

Add Your Intel

The research also demonstrated that a headline may perform poorly on Facebook but work very well a different social network. While this research provides some great guidance, knowledge of your target customer should be used to refine your efforts.