• personal branding tips

    9 Ways to Use Social Media to Up Your Personal Brand

    Hey, you!

    Yeah, you!  The Social Media Extraordinaire who can navigate Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the blink of an eye!

    Those cat pictures are really cute, aren’t they?

    And oh man, those pictures from Mindy Pickens’s 21st birthday party back in college!  Good times, good times!

    Hey, another Bad Luck Brian meme just popped up on your feed!  Time to like and repost!

    Yeah, it definitely seems like you’ve got this social media thing down pat.

    Except you don’t.

    What you need are some personal branding tips. Why do you need them?

    Because while you know how to work the tools, you aren’t making the most of them.

    And in a digitally-driven world, how effectively you market your personal brand can make or break you.

    Why is personal branding so important?

    Consider this:

    Your social media features your full name, pictures of you, your place of work, and where you went to school.

    Anyone who wants to find out more about you could very easily Google you and find all of this information.

    Anyone, from that cute guy/girl you met at your pal Ben’s Valentine’s Day thing last night to, oh say, a potential employer.

    That changes the game a little, eh?  Especially considering how competitive the job market is now.

    You want that job.  You crave that job.  You need that job.

    So you’ll want your social media to reflect that need, to show that you were conceived and tailored for that job.

    And hey, you probably don’t want your future boss seeing those photos from Mindy’s birthday bash (especially given 92% of employers search social media prior to hiring a candidate).

    He or she might not want to be your future boss if he or she sees them.

    Plus, remember that cute guy/girl from Ben’s V-Day thing?  if you’ve got anything too questionable or silly on your social media, he or she might not think you’re so adorable after friending or following you.

    But the thing is: you don’t know where to start.  You need some personal branding tips.

    Not to worry, sir or ma’am: that’s why you’re here!

    And boy, have we got a selection of personal branding tips that are sure to help you out!

    Check ’em out below.

    Personal Branding Tips 101

    1) Clean up your profiles

    Delete anything that employers might find questionable, negative, unprofessional, or downright silly.

    Those old pics from Mindy’s party?  They need to go.

    That dumb Bad Luck Brian meme?  Give it the boot, too.

    And those comments that you left on Ben’s profile pic?  Where you guys were just horsing around and dropping the F-bomb?  Yeah, delete those suckers right away.

    2) If you don’t have any profiles, get some

    Back in the day, social media was an optional form of self-expression complete with fake photos and clever usernames.

    Not anymore.

    Nowadays, employers get tons of resumes, so it’s hard to stand out with just a list of accomplishments and skills.

    They want to see those skills in actions.  They want to see how you earned those accomplishments.

    And the best way to do that is with thoughtful, knowledgeable, easily accessible posts on social media.

    3) Keep a list of your profiles

    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, LinkedIn–there are so many different social media platforms out there.

    It’s really hard to keep track of them all. Think about the bank transactions you make, the groceries you need to pick up, and the errands you have to run.

    What do you do to keep track of everything? You make a list.

    Make a list of which social media accounts you have.  That way, you can keep track of your accounts more easily.

    4) Use the same name across all of your profiles

    Most people use more than one social media platform.

    As an up-and-coming professional, you’ll want to make sure you can be found easily on every platform.

    Why? So people who follow you on one social media platform can easily find and follow you on others.

    Plus, it’ll help you increase your outreach.

    5) Use the same format across all of your profiles as well

    Remember: you’re not just advertising your name; you’re advertising your brand as well.

    So something else you’ll need to do is use the same look across all platforms.

    For example, let’s say your buddy Ben has done what you’re doing.

    Let’s say he started his personal brand on Twitter.  His profile has his logo in his header accompanied by a sea green color scheme.

    When he expanded his personal brand to Facebook, he used the same logo in his header with the same color scheme somewhere on his profile.

    The same goes for when he expanded to Instagram, and when he updated LinkedIn to include his brand.

    Like with your name, your brand makes you easier to identify among the millions of profiles out there.

    6) Decide what your brand (that is, you) specialize in

    That beautifully wrapped box of chocolates isn’t worth much unless there are actually chocolates inside.

    Likewise, your accounts need to offer something–a specialty of some kind.

    Maybe you write.  Maybe you bake.  Maybe you’re an amazing trapeze artist.

    Regardless, part of your personal brand is what you do, which in turn defines what you know.

    It also helps you set you apart from others in your field.

    7) Post relevant content, and often

    All of the knowledge in the world won’t help you if you’re not interested in your area of expertise.

    And if you don’t post relevant content to your social media, and often, you look like you’re not as interested in it as your resume professed.

    The rule of thumb?

    Post something relevant every day, and cross-post it across your various accounts.

    8) Use a clear photo of yourself

    This one can help you professionally as well as romantically.

    Whether it’s an employer or a date, whoever’s contacting you’ll want to know what you look like.

    So you should avoid photos that:

    • are blurry;
    • show you in a group;
    • aren’t consistent with your other profiles; and/or
    • don’t look like you

    9) Interact!

    You might be a brand now, but you’re still a person!  And people are social by nature.

    Plus, your friends and followers will appreciate a little engagement from the name and face that they decided to friend and follow in the first place.

    Not to mention, talking on social media gives you a chance to show off your expertise.

    Follow these personal branding tips, and you’re sure to have a more fruitful experience with your social media accounts!

  • brand yourself

    How To Brand Yourself in 2017

    In 2017, everybody knows that branding is important.

    You know how a brand can resonate with a consumer and drive key purchasing decisions.  You also know that strong brands can endure harsh economic climates

    You know that businesses need brands, but do you know how to brand yourself?

    Why you need to brand yourself

    Right now your personal brand is almost as important as your businesses brand.

    Branding yourself can help you achieve clout in your chosen profession, and could mean the difference between getting your next job or landing a big contract.

    The truth is that branding yourself and branding a company or product doesn’t have to be that different.  If you follow these simple tips, you’ll have a strong brand for yourself in no time.

    Be an expert

    Do you want to be the best accountant in your town?  Then you need to be up to date on the latest accounting tools and practices.

    Are you striving to be the most desirable candidate for your next marketing job?  If so, recruiters and employers should be able to sense your deep industry knowledge as soon as they look at your portfolio.

    If you want to build your brand, you have to make yourself an authority in your business or industry.

    Remember, if you’re going to talk a big game you need to be able to back it up!

    If you don’t feel like you have that expert-level knowledge yet, there are simple ways to fix that.

    Attend a few industry related meetup groups in your area so you can learn about what other professionals in your field are talking about.  Or take a few online classes to brush up on your skills.

    Consider your persona

    Are you the industry expert that spent decades honing their craft?  Are you the brash newcomer that always seems to be able to predict the latest trends? Will you always be smiling in profile pictures surrounded with others, or will your pictures be serious selfies?

    Before you brand yourself, you need to decide who you are.  An easy way to do this is to take time to build your persona.

    Think about if you have a wry sense of humor or if you’re always going to be the straight shooter.  Take time to consider what your personal brand has to bring to the table and what sets you apart from the rest.

    Keep a big network

    If you’re going to brand yourself people need to know that your personal brand exists.  The easiest way to spread awareness of your personal brand is to have a large network of people.

    Networking is an essential part of professional development, and if you have the right contacts news of your personal brand will spread like wildfire!

    The easiest way to network is to go to professional conferences and events, but that isn’t the only way to do it.

    Look around Facebook and Twitter for mentions of industry related meetups and happy hours.   Also, make sure that your LinkedIn and other professional profiles are up to date.  And always be sure to have a business card and a story handy when you’re out.

    Give talks

    An easy way to brand yourself is to ensure that you’re always in front of your audience.

    If you want to be visible, try to give more talks.  This can be as big as being a keynote speaker at a conference or casually doing a Q&A session for a professional group.

    Don’t feel like you’re ready to do public speaking? You don’t need to physically be in front of an audience to talk.

    Livestream a quick five-minute video about a hot topic people are talking about on Facebook.  Participate in a Twitter chat or even host one of your own.

    It all ties into making yourself an expert in your field.  When more people hear and see you out in the world, your personal brand will start to grow.

    Don’t go for shock and awe

    There’s an old saying that some people swear by: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

    That may be a popular phrase, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when you’re branding yourself.

    Some people pay attention to others that do and say outrageous and attention-grabbing things.  But people who do that are a dime a dozen, especially in the internet age.

    Don’t try to get people’s attention by being the wildest or most entertaining person in the room.  Build your brand with mutual respect and knowledge.

    Remember, having someone’s attention isn’t the same thing as having their respect.

    Be authentic

    If you’re going to be anybody in this world, you might as well be yourself.

    When you brand yourself, don’t try to copy someone (even if they’re your personal hero).  It’s okay to try to emulate traits in other successful people, but above all your brand needs to reflect the real you.

    Think about what makes you different and own it.

    Don’t be late

    When you brand yourself, timing is everything.  Whether that means always showing up on time to a meeting or staying on top of the latest trends, you need to be on time.

    Currency is everything when it comes to branding.  If you’re going to be an authority in your industry or business you need to know about what’s going on.

    Make yourself known as someone that always knows about the latest trends in your industry.  Start your day by looking at industry news and utilize social media to stay on top of things.

    Write your heart out

    Marketers that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI.  If marketers can achieve that, imagine what personal branding could do for you.

    Just like public speaking, frequent publishing can help establish your personal brand.

    Start your own blog on your website, write a lot of Facebook notes, or start a Tumblr.  It doesn’t matter what platform you use, just make sure that you’re publishing.

    While you’re at it, don’t just stick to platforms that you own.  If you want to brand yourself you need to be published on other websites and publications.

    Questions?

    We just covered a lot of information on how to brand yourself.  Do you still have some questions? Contact us so we can talk more about how to build your brand!

  • meet people online

    Which are the Best Sites to Meet People Online?

    It wasn’t very long ago that looking for love online was seen as scraping the bottom of the barrel. If you couldn’t find love in “real life” then there was something wrong with you.

    That couldn’t be farther from the truth today. But today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or met their spouse online. It is no longer taboo to find the love of your life online.

    But if you want to meet people online, you need to know the best places to do it. There are plenty of online forums from the most legit to the shadiest. But which one should you pick?

    We’ve put together a sweet little list of the best online dating sites out there today.

    Meet People Online With Match.com

    You’ve probably seen the commercials with the old white dude guaranteeing success on Match.com.

    Despite the fact that the man has the voice of your most boring professor, his website, Match.com is one the biggest successes in online dating.

    With over 17 million active users, you’re bound to find someone you like.

    Match is free up to a point. But they have a pay wall. And if you actually want to contact your matches, you have to pay the big bucks.

    We’re all quite used to free services on the internet. Free social media, free tv, etc. But when it comes to something like online dating, free doesn’t always mean the best.

    Pay walls weed out the lookie-loos of the internet. This filters your choices down to people who are actually looking for love (hopefully). This helps the service gear toward more serious people who aren’t just looking to hook up, but might be looking to go on a few dates or even be life-partners at some point.

    Get Some Tinder For Your Relationships

    On the complete opposite side, we have Tinder.

    Tinder became a social phenom a few years ago when the term “swipe right” broke out of its contextual bounds and jumped on into the mainstream.

    “Swipe right” essentially denotes approval of something. And in the Tinder mobile app, to approve of someone you like, you swipe right on your screen.

    When you swipe right, you add the person to your “like” list. If someone you “like” likes you, then you are able to talk to them.

    This is speed dating for the tech age. It’s not full on matchmaking, and it’s usually all about appearances, which can be kind of dangerous. But isn’t that how you choose to introduce yourself to in the real world anyway?

    The only real downside to using Tinder is that you have to have a Facebook profile. The site relies heavily on your Facebook information and the site won’t let you play until you log-in with your Facebook.

    If you don’t mind giving over your Facebook information to Tinder, then this is a bloat-free app that will get you meeting people online with a quick swipe of your finger. So, we totally swipe right on Tinder.

    Meet Up With People On Meetup

    While not exactly a dating site, Meetup is still a great place to meet people online who have the same interests as you.

    Meetup is essentially a forum meant to connect people with similar interests nearby and help them Meetup to do fun or interesting things in real life.

    Some of the best dating relationships actually happen around things you like to do together. Look at all the movie stars who hook-up and get married on set! Well…only a few of them might actually be a wholesome example.

    Meetup is free. And, despite the fact it’s not primarily a dating site, a lot of singles groups have cropped up on there.

    Now you don’t have to join a church to find good looking singles groups. Just get on Meetup!

    Plenty Of Fish In The Sea

    When you broke up with your first love, did you mom ever tell you that there are “plenty of fish in the sea”?

    Well, someone took that phrase to heart and created an easy to use dating site built around the concept.

    Plenty of Fish is a comprehensive dating site with the simplicity of Tinder and the robust brains of Match.

    Just like Tinder you “like” people. But the people you see will become more accurately matched to you if you put more into your profile.

    You have to options for fishing. You can choose speed or accuracy. You can’t have both. What do you think this is? Elder Scrolls?

    You can either used the MeetMe feature and quickly find singles in your area that match your interests. Or you can filter by interest or by people who live nearby.

    If you put a lot of effort into your profile, the latter will be fairly accurate and you should find someone to date pretty quickly.

    It’s all free and you can download it to your phone.

    Ok…Cupid?

    Despite the fact the title of this site gives you uncomfortable images of weird baby angels shooting you with arrows, it’s a free online dating site with an interesting twist.

    You get to go through a personality test. The test allows OKCupid to match you up with people who are compatible. If you feel like you’d do well on a personality test, you might meet people online through OkCupid.

    It’s a bit of work to get thoroughly tested. But once you finish, you’ll feel accomplished and hopeful.

    If you’re hesitant to leave your meat locker too hastily, then OkCupid might be for you. You can use their Quickmatch to quickly rate and connect with matches. You can even get notifications on mutual interest as you go.

    If you want advice on how to become an expert on OkCupid, check out the OkCupid subReddit.

    Conclusion: So Many To Choose From

    Our advice? Peruse our list and just pick one.

    All of these sites will be instrumental in helping you meet people online. Once you meet people, you’ll find out what you like and don’t like about the services.

    What are you favorite dating sites online? Let us know in the comments below. And, as always, make those profiles count!

  • Online dating conversation starters

    10 Best Ideas For Online Dating Conversation Starters

    Today, 22% of relationships start online. Aside from being introduced through mutual friends, online dating is now the second most popular way to meet someone.

    But to avoid ending up being featured in articles about the absolute worst in pick-up lines, you might need a little help coming up with that perfect first message.

    In this post, we’re offering you our top ten online dating conversation starters that are creative, funny, and really allow you get to know someone beyond the superficial level.

    You can spend forever crafting the perfect online dating profile, but it won’t matter if you don’t know what to say!

    Use these to help make you comfortable around each other before the first date rolls around!

    1. Learn What They Don’t Like

    One of the best online dating conversation starters we’ve heard:

    “So, what’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?”

    It may seem bold, but this reminds the person you’re messaging that we’re all in the same boat when it comes to online dating. It’s a great way to make talking feel less like an interview or an audition and more like a chance to commiserate.

    Plus, by asking this question, you can avoid making the same mistakes of this past partner. You’ll learn what food they hate, if they’re turned off by people who come on too strong, or just where they definitely don’t want to be taken.

    It will also help you to weed out people whose expectations are too high, or who just seem rude or cruel to others.

    2. Reference A Blast From The Past

    Nostalgia is everywhere. Show you’re in on the trend – and throw an unexpected online conversation starter someone’s way – by asking what they think a celebrity, band, or reality show star is up to now.

    Ask something like, “When do you think Ja Rule is gonna drop a new single?” or “If you had to hang out with a Spice Girl, which one would you pick and why?”

    People hear the same three lines every day online – go beyond the mind-numbing “hey what up.”

    3. Their Favorite Place

    Asking someone “What’s your favorite place to go in town?” won’t just help you to plan the perfect date. It will also give you a clue into what they like to do in their spare time.

    If they’re readers, maybe it’s a bookstore. If they’re into music, maybe it’s a concert hall. Plus, you could always “accidentally” run into them.

    4. The Last Thing

    Starting a question with “What’s the last thing” allows you to fill in the blank with pretty much anything you want. Ask them what the last concert they bought a ticket to, when was the last time they called their parents, or what the last movie they saw was.

    This is an easy question that will also give you insight into the kinds of things they like.

    5. Share Vulnerabilities

    Reality check: we all fall on our faces from time to time.

    But you’re looking for someone who is OK with laughing at their mistakes. Asking about embarrassing moments means you can also gauge their comfort level with you, depending on how much they choose to reveal.

    6. Ask About Pets

    This may seem like one of the more standard online dating conversation starters, but remember that whether or not they own a pet will have a big impact on how much time they can spend away from home.

    Asking if they have a furry friend will help you decide if you need to plan a date closer to home, so they can take the dog out if you decide to make the evening last a little longer.

    7. Ask About Their Schedules

    No, we don’t mean boring things like “What time do you get to work?” Ask if they’re early birds or night owls.

    What’s the first thing they do when they wake up? The last thing they do before they fall asleep?

    Do they have something they have to eat for breakfast every day?

    Asking this shows an interest into the little details of someone’s life.

    8. Dream Big

    The best online dating conversation starters are those that play into the sense of possibility and excitement that come from a new relationship.

    Play into that by asking things like, “If money were no object and you could quit your job tomorrow, where would you go and what would you do?”

    Everyone likes to have a fantasy, and asking someone you’re chatting with about theirs will help you to get to know what they value most in life. Plus, it puts them in a dream-like state of mind.

    9. Play Desert Island

    Asking them to play this well-known party game is both fun and revealing. Message them and ask them to tell you which book, which movie, and which tv show they would take with them if they were going to be stranded on a desert island for the rest of their lives?

    You could also ask which objects from their life they would take with them – sure to reveal a lot about a person and their priorities.

    10. Ask For Their Advice

    People love feeling like their opinion matters – show the person you’re chatting with you care about theirs!

    For example, if someone’s profile has a lot of travel pictures, or if their profile photo references a clear hobby, ask something like, “Hey, I noticed you seem to travel a lot. Any suggestions for my 4-day weekend?”

    This will allow them to talk about the things they’re passionate about – which is one of those great online dating conversation starters that helps you to really learn about a person, not a profile.

    You’re Ready To Talk For Hours With These Online Dating Conversation Starters

    Awkward silences can happen – even online. These awesome conversation starters will help to prevent them, encourage the person you’re chatting with to let their guard down, and even help you to feel more relaxed!

    There’s nothing wrong with planning ahead, especially when it comes to making a great first impression.

    For more tips on how to create the perfect online profile, ideas on what to say, and advice on how to present yourself online, check out our blog.

  • profile picture

    What Your Online Profile Picture Says About You

    What does your online profile picture say about you?

    Ever stopped to think about it?

    Even so, are you sure the picture you’re sporting says what you think it says?

    Your profile picture does say something about you, and probably more than you realize. We’re online profile pros, and we’re diving into the secrets yours reveals right here. So, read on.

    Researchers say your profile picture says something about you…

    That’s right.

    We’re not the only ones who think that your picture reveals your personality.

    A team of international researchers studied more than 66,000 Twitter profile pictures and tweets, then gave hundreds of those users a personality test, too.

    They divided the profile picture features into two categories: general image features and stylistic facial features. They looked at differences in color, composition, and expression. Then, they looked to see if the categorized pictures shared similar results on the big five personality traits test.

    They uncovered some telling patterns.

    Just by looking at your online profile these experts can make a good guess at whether you’re extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, neurotic, or open to new experiences.

    Want to know how?

    Okay, tell me. What does my profile picture say about me?

    We thought you’d never ask!

    You’re extroverted…

    If you’re an extrovert, your picture is likely to be colorful and youthful.

    You look younger than you are, or you’re posing with a bunch of younger friends.

    And even though you’re having all sorts of fun in the photo, maybe even with a few friends along, the quality of your image isn’t likely to be very high. You’re not so concerned, it seems, with aesthetic when you’re choosing a picture to represent yourself online.

    You’re agreeable…

    If you’re agreeable, you’re probably sporting a bright and colorful profile picture.

    Surprise. Surprise.

    You’re almost certainly posing with a couple other friends. Of course, you are. Because you’re agreeable, and that’s marked by your ease with social harmony and cooperation.

    You’re too busy having an easy time to worry about how aesthetically pleasing your picture is, though. It’s blurry, and it’s busy. It’s crowded, even cluttered.

    It’s the moment you were in, without any edits or framing.

    You’re conscientious…

    If you’re conscientious, you’re orderly and disciplined – and so is your profile picture.

    It’s a picture of your face. And it’s a good one.

    It’s natural. And it’s colorful. It’s notably brighter than the pictures of other personality types.

    You’re a member of the most expressive bunch.

    And perhaps that’s because you know (or think you know) that you’re supposed to appear upbeat and joyful in your profile picture. You’re supposed to put the “I’m doing great” face forward. You’re supposed to share your positive mood, and keep your negative mood to yourself.

    You’re neurotic…

    If you’re neurotic, you’re likely to choose a picture that takes focus away from you.

    You’re posing with your pet, or you’re holding some inanimate belonging you love, and you’re probably not looking right at the camera. Maybe you’re doing all three of these things at once.

    Somehow, you’ve obscured your face. Maybe behind thick reading glasses. Your pet, or the book you’re reading, or the phone you’re holding is in better focus than your face is.

    And, whatever you’re posing with, you’ve chosen a muted color palette, something we’d associate with negative emotions or emotional instability. That goes along with your facial expression, which is neutral, or pensive, maybe wistful. You’re certainly not showing any outward happiness.

    Your profile picture is simple, especially when compared with those of other personality types.

    You’re open to new experiences…

    If you’re open to new experiences, the study says that you’re likely to have taken and shared the highest quality profile picture – lucky you. You’re boasting a picture with increased contrast, sharpness, and saturation, plus less blur.

    At the same time, though, your profile picture is the most likely to convey negative emotions, even anger and sadness. And it’s among the least colorful in the bunch.

    You’re a non-conformist by nature, and your profile picture proves it. Like your friends, the neurotics, you’re probably posing with something else, like your guitar or your snowboard – whatever it is that you’re new to lately.

    What does this all matter?

    If you’re trying to attract someone – a lover, a friend, an employer – it’s good to know the signals you’re sending out.

    We’re better at picking up the clues that someone else is leaving than we are at picking up the clues we’re giving up about ourselves.

    Think about it.

    Your friend posts a new picture, and you’re sure you know what they’re trying to say with it. Or you’ve got a theory. Maybe two or three.

    Well, what foot do you want to put forward?

    And what picture makes sense for each medium?

    We’ve all got so many online profiles these days that there’s room for a range. What’s right for your LinkedIn could relax itself a bit on social media and dating sites. Then again, going for a single brand no matter the platform is a strategy, too.

    The point is to be purposeful about what you put out there.

    Let us help you find the profile picture that captures you…

    Now that you know all this, what do you think your online profile picture says about you? Does it say what you’re hoping it says? Want to say it all even better than you are right now?

    Online Profile Pros provides premium online profile enhancement services.

    We operate a network of syndicated professional photographers, profile writers, and image consultants across the US and Canada.

    Our photographers understand the technical necessities and artistic nuances of online profile photos. They’ll work with you to design a photo shoot to make you feel comfortable and look natural, never posed or over glamorized.

    Want to improve your online game? Want to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons – all the reasons that make you, well, you?

    Book your photo session now.

  • second date ideas

    8 Great Second Date Ideas

    Okay, so you’ve made it past all the awkward fumblings of the first date.

    Congratulations!

    No matter how you slice it, first dates can be rough. Often they feel more like job interviews, and for some, these interviews can feel anywhere from downright terrifying to painfully dull.

    But you kinda have to get through those basic interview questions to make sure the other person isn’t a serial killer, right?

    Well, once you’ve concluded the person you’re with is, in fact, not a serial killer, and you realize the date wasn’t the epic monstrosity you were imagining (hey- maybe you even had a killer time- no pun intended), it’s time to start cracking on some second date ideas.

    While there’s nothing wrong with taking the traditional dinner route for date number two, it can be fun to mix things up a little for the second date.

    Let’s face it- the small talk has probably all dried up. And sitting across a table and staring at someone isn’t exactly the best environment for organic conversation, especially if you still got some nerves going.

    Not to mention- the traditional dinner route can put a dent in your wallet pretty quickly.

    To make sure that spark from the first date carries over into the next one, we’ve got eight awesome second date ideas that will sweep your love interest right off their feet and have you two riding off into the sunset together ( Well, maybe not- but at the very least you’ll have a fun time together.)

    1. Explore the Great Outdoors

    Hikes, walks, and bike rides are all awesome ways to spend a second date while also enjoying some sunshine and fresh air.

    Dinner dates can be especially cringe-worthy due to the fact that you are most likely sitting face to face.

    Chances are, you aren’t quite at the “let’s gaze longingly into each other’s eyes for 5 minutes” phase yet.

    These options eliminate that weird face to face predicament. And with a physical activity to focus on, you should be more relaxed when it comes to making conversation.

    Bonus tip: Take your date on a stroll that provides some breathtaking scenery.

    Double Bonus Tip: Show em’ your thoughtful side by packing a little picnic for the journey.

    2. Play Games

    No, not mind games- don’t be that guy/girl.

    Actual games- like pool, darts, bowling, cards, board games, or shuffleboard.

    A lot of bars have these games on hand, so find one that does and let the friendly competition begin.

    Bonus Tip: You can add a little spice to the friendly competition by placing some harmless bets along the way- i.e. loser has to buy next round or loser has to give the winner a kiss (eeeek!)

    3. Play Tacky Tourist For a Day

    Pretty much everyone is guilty of being a terrible tourist in their own city.

    Use your second date as an opportunity to hit up your city’s most famous attractions that you haven’t gotten around to visiting.

    Museums, monuments, zoos, and aquariums are all up for grabs- you could even make a DIY mini tour of it!

    If the tourist sites in your city are truly a nightmare to experience, consider taking a quick half day trip to a nearby attraction. Even checking out the neighborhoods of a nearby city can be fun.

    Bonus Tip: If you’re worried about making conversation on a long car ride, just pop on the radio or introduce your date to your new favorite podcast. You could even play some classic road trip games to help pass the time!

    4. Channel Your Inner Iron Chef

    Whether you’re a regular Martha Stewart or your idea of a home-cooked meal is a bowl of cereal, cooking together can be a seriously fun and challenging second date experience!

    If you’re still unsure about how you’re feeling about the other person, you can make the date a quick in and out by attending a cooking class together- these usually only run a couple of hours.

    On the other hand, if things really seem to be meshing, you can make a whole event out of it- scroll through Pinterest together to decide on some recipes, make a list of ingredients and go grocery shopping, then start whipping up your feast.

    Bonus Tip: Pop over to a wine shop to find the perfect pairing for your entrees.

    5. Get in Touch With Your Creative Side

    If you’re not feelin’ the Martha Stewart idea, how about Picasso?

    Many cities offer paint and wine classes, but you can also have some fun by going DIY and buying the paints yourself.

    Bonus Tip: Paint portraits of each other- the worse they are, the funnier the date will be.

    6. Try Something New

    It’s always refreshing to try something completely new, right?

    So, why not try it with this new person in your life. Swing dancing,  salsa dancing, rock climbing, pottery, candle making, archery, yoga, ice skating, frisbee golf- there’s gotta be something you haven’t tried. And hey, if the date doesn’t go well, maybe you’ll get a new hobby out of it.

    Bonus Tip: Pick an activity that you both will be equally awful at and let the hilarity ensue.

    7. Hit Up a Special Local Event

    Pick up a local newsletter or magazine and find a special event for that special someone.

    If the weather’s warm, there’s a good chance there’s some type of street fair, festival, or outdoor movie going on.

    Bonus Tip: These types of events can make for great people watching- you can actually print off people-watching bingo sheets and try to fill them out as you go about your date.

    8. Get Festive

    It seems like whenever one holiday ends, there’s always another one right around the corner.

    For Americans, it’s truly never too early to start celebrating an upcoming holiday.

    Get yourself and your date in the holiday spirit by doing a holiday-themed date.

    Christmas time? Crank the carols and make a gingerbread house while sipping on some eggnog. Halloween? Watch a scary movie and carve some pumpkins together. Easter? Decorate some eggs together while munching on some jelly beans. Valentine’s Day? Easy tiger, not quite there yet…

    Halloween? Watch a scary movie and carve some pumpkins together. Easter? Decorate some eggs together while munching on some jelly beans. Valentine’s Day? Easy tiger, not quite there yet…

    Easter? Decorate some eggs together while munching on some jelly beans. Valentine’s Day? Easy tiger, not quite there yet…

    Valentine’s Day? Easy tiger, not quite there yet…

    Second Date Ideas Wrap Up

    Hopefully, one of these second date ideas strikes your fancy.

    For the second dates and beyond, always try to pick something that both you and your date will truly enjoy doing. That way, even if the chemistry isn’t there, at least you can say you had a fun time and made a good impression. 

    Got any other second date ideas that weren’t on this list? Or how about some second date ideas that you thought were awesome but turned into a total disaster?Drop us a comment below!

  • Online dating mistakes

    9 Major Online Dating Mistakes to Avoid

    The stigma of online dating has changed since the early 2000’s. Today, according to a Pew Research poll, 59%+ people feel online dating is a good way to meet people.

    Unfortunately, we aren’t all that great with communicating our emotions online.

    We’ve all made online dating mistakes. We either:

    • Aren’t able to convey the sarcasm
    • Seem overly attached
    • Can be aggressive or too standoffish

    Plus the whole element of people “catfishing” others.

    But let’s say things start off good:

    • You’re just getting started and have a nice profile
    • You’ve found someone you’re interested in and they feel it back
    • You’re keeping up with the conversation but there isn’t a “click”

    There are a lot of online dating mistakes that can happen during those early periods, during, and after you’ve met the individual. This article will help you identify those online dating mistakes and what how to avoid (fix) them.

    The Nine Most Common Online Dating Mistakes

    Online dating is hit and miss.

    Some have great success while others fall flat. The least you can do is to learn from your online dating mistakes:

    #1: Lazy Openers

    Some people are able to make a great impression with very little to say based on their looks or a very attractive profile.

    But, the majority of us need to put in the extra effort when making the first contact.

    The top of the online dating mistakes has to be: lazy openers.

    This happens when you go with the typical “Hey”, “How are you?”, or whatever other generalized, canned opener. It’ll get you nowhere because it doesn’t start a dialog (plus it comes across as lazy).

    What to do: Dig into their profile and open with a question about one of their major interests which you happen to share. It’ll start a casual conversation which can later become something more.

    #2: Lackluster Photos

    Have you ever cross a profile which had pictures of the person doing something you hate (maybe smoking?), outdated (from years ago), or doesn’t really show their angles?

    That’s the easiest online dating mistakes you can make.

    There’s no reason not to have a few good pictures on your profile considering you probably have a Facebook profile to pull them from and the fact you have a phone or camera to take new ones.

    What to do: Put your best picture forward. Upload the high-quality photos showing your activities and really show off who you are. People want to see someone having fun and get an idea of their body (since physical attraction is a major thing).

    #3: Boring (Empty) Profile

    Some people have terrible profiles.

    They’re barely filled out or if they are then there’s not much to it for others to ask questions and really get to know them.

    You need to take the time to fill in the information and answer surveys/quizzes.

    What to do: Have your friend read your profile and get a real assessment on how well it represents you. Get a few girl or guy friends to help out, too! Write who you are — don’t hold back and don’t be a fake — because eventually, you’ll find out this stuff about each other anyway.

    #4: Skimming Profiles

    Online dating mistakes stem from being too “thirsty” and not taking the time to understand the person — that’s the purpose of the profile.

    You need to be reading the profiles so you can create a conversation and know whether you two are a match.

    What to do: Go for less. Remember quality over quantity. Not only will you increase your response rate but you’ll also have better conversations which help you with the whole online dating thing in the long-run.

    #5: Chasing Everything

    Don’t be the person that blasts each and every profile with a blanket opener in hopes that it sticks.

    Sure, sometimes this may get a response or two but you’re spending double the amount of time on people that may be responding based on courtesy — you’re probably not creation a genuine connection.

    • Take time to prune through the profiles
    • Learn something about them
    • Create a good opener
    • Keep the conversation going
    • Cut out the ones that aren’t going anywhere

    What to do: Get to know the type of person you want, contact those types, and learn from your mistakes from previous interactions. Don’t go crazy contacting everyone otherwise you’ll waste your time (and theirs).

    #6: Leading On and On

    You need to close.

    Frequently, online dating mistakes amount to getting chatty leading it on and on to the point that if you were to meet — there isn’t much to talk about.

    This seems to happen after 3 days in many situations.

    You burn through all the excitement to the point there really isn’t much of a drive to meet up because now each person is acting on emotion and more on the logical side.

    The point of online dating is to do that: go on a date and get to know each other.

    What to do: Going on, for days or weeks, kills the opportunity. It’s better to try early on rather than seeing it fizzle out from boredom. Try to do something more than talking within the first few days after the initial contact.

    #7: Being Too Aggressive

    A big turn off and online dating mistake is being too aggressive and pushing the person to share personal information or meet up well before they’re comfortable with you.

    You have to take things slow (but not too slow — as explained above).

    What to do: Give it a few days of back-and-forth, really exploring interests, and then make a move versus trying to just “hook up” the same day you’re getting in contact else you’ll alienate them and send them packing.

    #8: Getting Creepy

    There’s really not much to say here other than this: don’t be that person that’s creepy with the whole online thing.

    What to do: Don’t stalk them or berate them if they shut you down. And this isn’t just for men, women do it too.

    #9: Connecting Too Quickly

    Things are hitting off and you want to meet each other. Great!

    One of the online dating mistakes you may make is trying to connect through social profiles and exchanging phone numbers too quickly. Sure, they’d like to meet but they may not want to become Facebook friends and divulge too much information all at once.

    Exchanging FB profiles too quickly cuts out a lot of the opportunities to explore and learn things about the person. Plus, it can come across as aggressive or creepy if you’re suddenly liking and commenting on past social shares.

    What to do: Exchange numbers but do it so you’re able to meet up but wait until after the first date/outing to see if you want to get into a social exchange.

    Your Turn

    Which sort of online dating mistakes have you made? Share your experiences and ways to avoid the problems with a comment!

  • profile picture

    Data-Backed Study: Your Profile Picture Leaves a Real Impression

    Whether you’re seeking the perfect partner online or searching for your dream job, your profile picture is always speaking for you.

    The question is, what is it saying?

    Be it on dating websites, or professional networks or any social media platform of choice, the power of your profile picture is truly immense.

    And, though most of us would never like to admit that we judge people based on a photograph, data-backed studies suggest that in reality, that is exactly what we do.

    Your Profile Picture

    As children, we were all advised to ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Though we all absorbed this message when we were younger, the digital world that we now inhabit has totally changed the game.

    First impressions don’t just count; they last. And for many of us, our online avatars contribute hugely to how we are perceived by others.

    And it works both ways.

    When we look at a person’s picture, we immediately draw conclusions about that person, even if those conclusions bear zero resemblance to reality.

    Yes, your photograph really does leave a lasting impression, and data-backed studies prove it.

    Let’s take a closer look.

    Your Picture Leaves a Real Impression

    First Impressions Last… and Last… and Last

    Over the past few years, social and psychological research has been throwing up some interesting findings. And, if we are honest, a lot of these findings go some way to confirm what many of us already implicitly know.

    When we see a picture of someone, we immediately start to make assessments of that person in our heads.

    Even though we know we shouldn’t, we do it anyway.

    Cornell University Study

    Researchers at Cornell University have some compelling findings from a study they conducted recently.

    They wanted to find out how our initial impressions of someone – based purely on seeing a photo of them – would influence us when we met that person face-to-face at a later date.

    Here are some parameters of the study:

    • Around 600 people participated
    • Each participant was shown portraits of four different strangers
    • Based only on those photos, the folks were asked to judge each stranger on three different things: Likability, attractiveness, and personality
    • They were then asked how much they would like to be friends with each stranger based on a scale of 1 to 7
    • A month or so later, the participants met the strangers whose photo they had viewed
    • After the meeting, each participant was asked to rate the person on the same three criteria as before: Likability, attractiveness, and personality.

    So, did the participants change their first impression after they had met each stranger?

    Surprisingly, they did not.

    Based on the testing criteria – likability, attractiveness, and personality – the initial judgments that each participant made remained remarkably consistent, even after they had met the stranger in person.

    As a consequence, the study found that our first impression of someone, even when based solely on something like a profile photo, not only lasts but, can actually end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    What someone thinks of you based on your profile picture, is a strong predictor of whether they are going to like you when they meet you.

    Variations in Photos

    Recently, a study conducted by Princeton University demonstrated how easily swayed we are by pictures, and how even slight variations in photos can significantly change our opinions about someone.

    If we are able to draw such powerfully lasting conclusions based simply on looking at someone’s photograph, the best thing to do is to make the most of that photograph.

    But, how exactly can we do that?

    Making Your Picture Count

    Your profile picture is your digital representative. It is not who you are, but it is a representative of who people think you are.

    As a result, you want it to say as much as it can, without over-doing it.

    Here are some tricks and tips that will help you get the most out of your profile picture:

    1. Are You Approachable?

    Nothing kills a first impression quite like a guarded, unapproachable aura. And though often thought of as something intangible, you can portray yourself as approachable in your picture.

    To do this, you must step into the shoes of someone who has a genuine interest in other people. Feel it. Breathe it. Live it.

    Feel it. Breathe it. Live it.

    Now, adopt a confident, relaxed pose and take that snap.

    2. Smile, Smile, Smile

    Smiling is a super power all of its own, and it will add greatly to any and all of your profile photographs.

    A genuine smile (one that includes the eyes) automatically portrays you as likable and engaging.

    Don’t be afraid to engage with the camera here. Some of the best photographs are often captured in moments of interaction. Use that fabulous smile of yours to interact not only with the camera but with your captive audience as well.

    3. Use Different Pictures on Different Platforms

    Variety is the spice of life, right?

    Always remember that using the same profile picture for every online platform is not a good idea.

    Why is this?

    Because each platform has its own demographic and its own specific reason for existing. What makes you seem fun and playful on one site might make you seem something else entirely on another.

    Before you upload a profile picture to each site, consider who the audience is for the site. How do you want to be perceived by that audience? Then, set about creating that impression in your picture.

    4. Consider Professional Prints

    Exasperated because you can’t find that flawless pose? Don’t know the right lighting to use to accentuate your best features? Trying your best to perfect that smile and nothing seems to work?

    Why not take the hassle and stress out of creating your online profile picture, and turn it into an awesome experience instead?

    For a first impression to beat all others, consider acquiring the services of the Online Profile Pros. Nothing beats the expertise and know-how of a professional photographer who knows exactly how to make you look your best.

    Leaving the Best First Impression

    It really is true. Nothing lasts quite like a first impression.

    So, perhaps it’s time to put your best digital foot forward?

    Your profile picture and your future self will thank you for it.

    Need any help or looking for more advice? Don’t be shy! We’re here to help. Get in touch!

  • fake online profile

    Here’s How to Spot Fake Online Profiles

    If you’re not sure how to spot fake online profiles from real ones, then welcome to the club! It is becoming more and more difficult to spot fake profiles as they are becoming more and more carefully crafted to deceive those who are targeted and more and more common.

    In fact, around 1 in 10 online dating profiles are fake, with “romance scams” garnering nearly 50 million dollars per year in total.

    All told, 60% of all online profiles are either inactive or faked.

    If you’ve signed up for an online dating service, it’s likely that you’ve been messaged by some fake online profiles. They’ll tell you everything you want to hear, but it’s always at a price.

    Whether it’s subscribing to their band’s fan page or wiring money to that Nigerian prince, it’s important to know how to protect yourself from fake online profiles.

    Making sense of fake online profiles

    It’s the stuff of nightmares, fake profiles scams are the far opposite of what you see on the commercials (Happy couples dancing to the Match.com jingle).

    Fake online profiles are much more common on free online dating sites.

    Not only in terms of scams and cons but real individuals, a whopping 80% of online daters admit that they lie about one or more things in their online profiles.

    Another study has shown an even more shocking number, stating that 90% of users fiddle with their facts on their online profiles.

    From white lies to identity theft, fake online profiles have become an epidemic in the world of online dating.

    To escape the bad and find the good profiles, start by perfecting your own online profile, learn to spot the bad ones, and don’t forget to always be cautious when it comes to online dating.

    How to spot fake online profiles

    There are a lot of “red flags” that can indicate a fake profile and that someone is a scammer rather than a potential romantic partner.

    If the profile or the person behind it is guilty of any of the following, it may be a fake profile and part of an online dating scam:

    1. Fake online profile power words

    These keywords found in the majority of fake online profiles include the words Catholic, widowed, female, Ph.D., Nigeria, engineer, self-employed, and Royalty.

    If you see any of the above words emphasized on a profile there is a chance that it belongs to a scammer and is fake.

    2. Nonsensical messages

    Drunk messages are one thing, but fake online profiles run through robotic messaging systems tend to make little to no sense.

    Most of the fake profiles belong to either robots or non-English speakers.

    According to a study, many romance scammers originate in Western Africa in countries like Nigeria or Ghana.

    If you can’t carry on a conversation with an online dating site user, that should be a red flag even if their profile is real!

    3. They only have one photo

    Photos are one of the most important aspects of your online profile. Having only one photo can be a major red flag, especially if the person is extremely attractive in that one photo.

    Fake online profiles are usually designed to be appealing so that people are much more likely to engage with them.

    Be wary of that guy you swear you saw in a Calvin Klein campaign or that woman who should be a Victoria’s Secret model.

    4. They have empty profiles

    It’s important to read through profiles carefully.

    Not only will you spot red flags in real profiles, but empty profiles or profiles that might as well be empty often belong to a fake online profile.

    This is also why it’s important to keep your own profile in tip top shape. High-quality profiles are appealing to real people.

    5. Empty social networks

    If you genuinely want to keep only close friends in your social profiles, then there’s no judgment here.

    But that bikini-clad model with, you guessed it, only one photo and 60 friends on Facebook is probably fake.

    6. They’re famous or royal

    Celebrities, princes, and archdukes can all be found through online dating sites. Unfortunately, they are not generally real celebrities, princes, or archdukes.

    Most commonly found are fake online profiles claiming to be African princes.

    7. They’re way too forward or flirty

    Many online dating scams come in the form of porn and prostitution.

    If you’re receiving steamy messages from someone you’ve never met or spoken to, don’t be surprised if they ask you to pay for their photos or to enter their website soon thereafter.

    8. They request your personal information

    Whether they’re trying to steal your credit card number or your identity, an online dating profile requesting your full name, address, phone number, or social security number is not someone you want to continue talking to.

    Protecting yourself from fake profiles and scams

    There are a million things that fake online profiles might be after. So what steps can you take towards protecting yourself from attracting attention from the fakes and from falling for them?

    First and foremost, start by improving your own profile. A higher quality profile with some high-quality photos will attract a higher percentage of quality messages.

    To protect yourself from harm when meeting someone new, you can run your own background checks on potential dates or on profiles you suspect to be fake using third party services you trust.

    Finally, and most importantly, never share your personal information with anyone online.

    Wrapping Up

    The anonymous nature of online dating websites has opened up a whole world for cheats, liars, thieves, scammers, and con men and women. So much so, that they now belong to the umbrella term of “catfish”.

    There’s no surefire way to get fakes to stop contacting you, but if you learn to spot them you lose the risk of contacting one first and you’re able to remove the threat at first contact.

    Lastly, never underestimate the power of a good first impression for yourself and the profiles you browse through.

  • how to write an online dating profile

    How to Write an Online Dating Profile That’s Backed by Science

    Not getting the results you hoped for from your dating sites? Maybe the problem isn’t you, it’s the profile you’ve written.

    There’s an easy fix to that. We can show you how to write an online dating profile that’s backed by science.

    Over 41 million Americans have used online dating services to find a soul mate. And many claim that it’s worked wonders for their love lives.

    This is how to write an online dating profile that gets results.

    How to Write an Online Dating Profile

    Filling out your online dating profile certainly isn’t the best part of the process. Many people struggle to write about themselves, especially with the added pressure of finding “the one”.

    It’s hard to know what to write about let alone how to write it.

    You want to sound confident, but not self-absorbed. You stress over your profile picture. So forth and so on.

    It can be pretty stressful for even the most confident people.

    Many find that using science-backed research and facts to help write your profile can relieve a lot of the anxieties and uncertainties you might be feeling.

    So today, we’re going to do just that. Let’s use science to learn how to write an online dating profile.

    Your Bio

    Let’s start with your bio or the “About Me” section of your profile.

    Khan and Chaudry (researchers who studied almost 4,000 relevant studies on the evidence-based approach to dating) suggest using a 70:30 ratio in your bio section.

    Instead of writing a couple paragraphs reminiscent of your resume, try using 30% of your bio space to talk about what you’re looking for in a partner.

    Would you like to meet someone who’s serious about fitness? Or maybe you’re looking for an avid traveler? Talk about characteristics you would like to share with you ideal match.

    The other 70% should be about yourself, your hobbies, and your accomplishments.

    Studies show that women who are actively seeking a partner respond positively to traits like braveness, courage, and risk-taking.

    Meanwhile, men who are actively seeking a relationship tend to respond positively to partners who portray altruism and kindness.

    Remember to keep your bio fairly short. Of course, use full sentences and correct grammar. But don’t write a novel. This isn’t a literary competition.

    Lastly, a common mistake when writing online dating profiles is to try and sound funny. This is extremely hard to do and usually, comes across on the other end as flat and underwhelming.

    So don’t try to sound funny, show it. I know, easier said than done. Try using your profile picture for that one.

    Your Profile Picture

    In teaching you how to write an online dating profile, we really can’t leave out the profile picture.

    This part catches many people as a point of tension. You don’t want to look too serious, or goofy either. Maybe you’re unsure if you should smile or not, or wear sunglasses.

    It’s no surprise that a lot of people joining online dating sites stress over their profile picture.

    It’s also no shocker that science shows that the picture on your dating profile has a major impact on the amount and quality of responses you’ll get.

    Mainly, you want to show light-heartedness and good humor. That is of course if you are light-hearted and have a good sense of humor.

    How do you do this?

    Choose a picture of yourself with a clear “Duchenne smile”. The Duchenne smile is a real smile. Not fake or posed.

    Research shows that a true Duchenne smile is characterized by raised corners of the mouth and raised cheekbones.

    People tend to smile back and experience good feelings when they encounter a genuine smile, even in photos.

    Of course, never hide your true self by choosing an old or outdated profile picture. The goal is to attract a mate online and keep them interested when you meet in person.

    Don’t scare someone away by setting up their expectations with a photo 20 years old and 50-or-so pounds ago.

    Other profile picture tips backed by science:

    • Slightly tilt your head if you want to seem a bit mysterious or playful.
    • Post a group shot with friends (especially if you’re in the middle).
    • Use pictures of yourself making physical contact with a friend such as touching their arm.
    • If you’re a man looking for a woman, share pictures of you with female friends smiling in your direction. Studies show that it creates a sense of competition and desirability.

    If you’re still worried about your profile picture, you can always hire a professional.

    Your Username

    You might be surprised to learn that usernames have a direct impact on your first impression to possible acquaintances and might affect whether or not you get a message.

    As it turns out, some online dating sites will show results to a user in alphabetical order. So, it might be beneficial for you to start your username with a letter high in the beginning of the alphabet.

    Letters A through M can sometimes experience better luck attracting profile views and date requests than letters later on the list.

    Studies also show that sometimes women have positive reactions to usernames that show success and intelligence while men are attracted to usernames that imply physical attraction or cuteness.

    Bonus Tip

    As mentioned earlier in this post, grammar is important.

    People want to see that you are educated. But not only that, it shows that you cared enough to take the time to properly write your online dating profile with accuracy.

    However, don’t get overzealous with your punctuation. Here are a few pointers to remember when writing your profile:

    • Don’t get too wordy – cut out unnecessary words.
    • Don’t use long-winded adjectives.
    • Keep punctuation simple.
    • Avoid excessive exclamation marks. If you must use one, just use one.
    • Don’t overuse emojis. A smiley might be cute in the right place but don’t cross the line into cheesy.

    Of course, don’t be so afraid of making a mistake that you come across dry. Always be yourself. It’s OK to show off your best side and dress to impress.

    We hope these tips on how to write an online dating profile have helped give you a boost of confidence and eventually lead to the love of your life. Good luck!