By Julie Spira, Online Dating Expert and CEO, Cyber-Dating Expert
As you get ready for the summer season, there are various aspects of your life to consider freshening up, including your dating profile. Now is a better time than ever to give it a digital facelift in hopes of finding and keeping a connection that lasts well beyond summertime.
As someone who’s been creating dating profiles for two decades, I can tell you that neglecting to refresh your profile and keeping it stagnant usually doesn’t result in a full schedule of dates.
Think about your dating profile like this: you’re logging on to it just as you would any other social media profile (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). On those platforms, you’re uploading new fun photos and statuses almost every day in an effort to show what your life looks like right now — not from five months or five years ago. You should treat your dating profile no differently.
We switch our wardrobes for the season (pack away the wool and break out the white pants and dresses), so let’s do the same in a digital sense for your dating profile. Read these tips for ideas on how to get started!
Men and women are visual creatures by nature, it’s just a fact of life! The first thing we see about anyone is their face, so profiles without even one photo just doesn’t cut it.
Besides your main profile photo, you should have a handful of other pictures that depict you in different settings and showcase your personality. In my opinion, five is the magic number of photos to upload to your profile.
Don’t fall victim to the temptation of posting older pictures of yourself in which you think you look your “best.” Stay true to who you are and what you look like today to give potential dates the best idea of you.
Grab a BFF and Have a Photo Party. Don’t like taking pictures of yourself or find it impossible to decide on the best pictures of you? One fun and easy way to snap more pictures of yourself is to grab a best friend and either a digital camera or high quality smartphone camera. Then, put on a fashion show! Shop your closet and pick out 3-5 great outfits in which you feel your best (perhaps that you’d actually wear on a first date) and VOGUE for your friend.
Another tip is to head over to your Facebook profile and grab your best, smiling/happy pictures to add to your dating profile. Make sure to caption the photos with the location and date the photo was taken so members will know they’re recent.
Look to the left. Studies have shown that when you look to your left, your best emotions will shine. However, if you’re looking to the right in your favorite photo, that’s no problem! Just use some photo editing software or a simple photo editing app to reverse the image to get a left side-facing photo.
Wear red! For the ladies, you should ditch the little black dress so you don’t look like every other profile photo. Research from the University of Rochester has shown that photos of women wearing red get more views and more dates than any other color. Red is the color of love and passion, so it’s a no-brainer!
Drop the “cheese” and say “martini.” I once received a tip from a well-known actress who always said “Martini” to achieve the perfect smile for the camera. Believe me, she has an award-winning smile so I’ve taken this tip to heart and it works wonders!
Ditch the selfies. We are dating in a selfie-crazed world, so it’s more than normal for your Instagram feed to be loaded with fun selfies. However, for your dating profile, selfies don’t always make you look your best or most social. Have someone you trust to hold your phone when you have the urge to take a selfie for dating profile purposes.
Wear summery outfits. Find something fun, colorful, and summer-like to wear in your profile shots. A well-fitted t-shirt and jeans works well for the guys, whereas ladies do best in a flirty sundress. To speak more to the season, take down the snow skiing shots and replace them with photos that show summer-based activities, like water skiing or lounging by the pool. That said, try to avoid posting any sort of swimsuit picture — you don’t want to show too much too soon.
Leave the pets at home. We know your new puppy is adorable and so is puppy love. But the reality is your primary photo should focus on you, not you and your pet. Of course, it’s wonderful to show your pet in one of your photos, but try to keep it at a minimum as to not scare off potential mates with thoughts of animals sleeping in the bed with you or there not being any room in your life for a human friend.
Don’t include your posse of friends. You may be a social butterfly and the life of your group of friends, but posting a picture of you and all your friends upfront is confusing. You risk someone skipping over you because they don’t know which you are in the picture. Try to stay away from seemingly wild party shots — it could give off the vibe that you’re not as serious about a relationship as you are about finding someone special.
When crafting your “About Me” section, write it in a way that communicates to members what going on a date with you would be like this summer. Make a list of things you absolutely love doing that are outdoors. Some could include viewing an outdoor movie on the lawn, riding the Ferris wheel at an amusement park, taking a hike, or going to an outdoor free concert. The possibilities are endless.
Make sure to list your passions as some people conduct their searches with keywords. Also, try asking questions within your profile such as “What about you?” or “What’s on your bucket list to do this summer?” Sometimes, asking a question in your profile gives subtle instructions to your potential date to answer the question via their initial message to you. It’s the type of icebreaker that can help to get the conversation started.
Now that we’ve touched on icebreakers in your bio, what do you say when you’ve viewed the perfect match in your daily matches? You’ve got one shot and you don’t want to blow it, right?
Here’s a guideline with seven steps I teach when I coach singles on finding love online.
- Make it brief. If it’s a traditional dating site, don’t write more than five sentences and always ask a question.
- Don’t just say “hey.” Horses hang out in hay, so do you want to be dating a horse? Probably not. Make it engaging.
- Use their name (if you know it). Personalizing an email will show you’ve taken the time to read their profile and aren’t just a spammer or someone who swiped right on everyone.
- Write to and respond quickly. When a match is fresh and new, remember you’re not the only one writing them. The squeaky wheel gets the digital love deal, so I say don’t wait. Initiate. If you wait too long, they could make a connection and begin dating someone exclusively before you had the chance to say hi.
- Compliment him or her. Flattery goes far. If you like the outfit they are wearing, let them know. If they have a killer smile, say so. Just don’t carry on too much to make it seem insincere or corny.
- Ask questions. Don’t approach it like a job interview or deposition, but always ask a question in your initial email or text to someone. Let him or her know why you liked their profile. If you see a photo of them on a hike, ask what trail they were on. If you’re a hiker too, let them know your favorite spot.
- Still stuck? Ask someone where his or her favorite travel spot is, how many siblings they have and if they’re close, where they grew up, red or white wine, etc. Any time you ask someone a fun question, it’s a more engaging way to move the conversation along.
Remember, summer is a fun time to date around with new people becoming single and joining dating sites every day. Log in at least twice a day, respond to emails, and make this your summer for finding love.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert and as an early adopter of online dating, she’s been coaching singles on finding love online for over 20 years. Julie ranks as the most influential person in “dating” and “online dating” in social media. Follow her @JulieSpira on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter for dating advice.