When you post anything on social media, you’re leaving a social footprint. That footprint is visible to the world – to your parents, friends, prospective employers, colleagues and future partners.

While what you post may be trending, or funny, or relevant right now, how will it look at a later date? So before you post a picture of you in your pants, give a little thought to what you are trying to convey about yourself.

Whatever your decision, here are seven top tips for taking great selfies.

Visibility – make sure you can be seen: there’s no point taking a picture in the dark. Move into an area of light, outside or by a window, and show yourself, literally, in the best possible light.

Variety – you’re less likely to attract a following if all the pictures on your social media account look the same, so add a little variety – it’s the spice of life.

Smile – pouts seem to be in, but actually a smile is a far better expression for any selfie. Unless you’re intentionally pulling faces. If in doubt, don’t pout.

Context – if you want to share pictures of you in a swimming costume, make sure you’re near a swimming pool and not a supermarket. Unless it’s a publicity stunt or you’re being intentionally disruptive, make sure the context of your post matches the content.

Make it whole – body parts, headless bodies, weird angles, all make for strange social posts, and we’d much rather see your face!

Make it real – there’s a time and place for filters and retouching. By all means use them to get rid of minor flaws, but don’t edit yourself to the point of no longer looking like you.

Make it a helpie – we know the whole point of a selfie is that you take it yourself, but the back camera on a phone actually takes a much better picture, so give your phone to a friend and ask them to take the snap for you.

For more on social media read: seven steps to secure your social media.