Update your LinkedIn photos

 Find a photo that looks like you are great to do business with.

Ah, maybe this is the harder one.

Your Personal LinkedIn Profile Photo

Post a decent photo of yourself.

What are the basic guidelines here?

It is a photo of yourself, not your company logo, not you and your dog, not you and your partner or children. As lovely as they are, we don’t want to see your home life – we want to connect with you professionally.

You with clothes on! I shouldn’t have to say it. And yes, even if you are selling a professional service that normally ends up undressed, you still will sell better with a hint of propriety to start with.

What if you really want to promote your business, instead of yourself, if it is your own or a dignified, well known brand?

Then get creative. Get a photo of yourself in front of the company logo on the front of the office block, or get an intern or teenager to photoshop a company logo over the bottom quarter of your profile picture.

You can also have all your senior or relevant staff, photographed at the same time with the same theme – corporate colours, in front of the company logo etc. That similar theme really raises the impression of professionalism.

But please remember that it is you that we want to connect with and denying us an idea of what you look like is as much of a turn off as someone flirting with you while wearing mirrored sunglasses.

LinkedIn is not Facebook. When we connect, we are doing so for business not for fun. Think of it as your “professional personal” connection, not your “private personal”.

I know that the biggest issue people face when posting their photos to LinkedIn, is a dissatisfaction with what they look like. Let’s take a big dose of reality here – people want to know that we are human, so that they can connect to another real person. They are not looking for a fantasy dating site, and there is little that will put someone off connecting with a relevant person, just because of their photo image. So lets post a decent, recognisable, relatively recent and professional looking image, and then get on with forming helpful, professional relationships.

Your background LinkedIn Image

The second place we can post an image is in the background at the top of our profiles. It used to be that this space was reserved for people with paid LinkedIn accounts, but now it is available to anyone.

There are no rules, but here are some guidelines.

Of course you can use it to market your business or brand. But simply posting a logo is probably not going to help. There are places where your logo can appear very neatly on your profile, but the Background image is not that space. Why? Because you need to …

Be aware of the changing size and dimensions of this background image.  You may line in up nicely on your computer screen, with your logo or range of products displayed sweetly in the available space. The minute I view it on my computer screen, or plug into my second screen, or project it up during a LinkedIn training course, or view it on the LinkedIn mobile app, it is going to be a different size and more or less of your designed image will appear.

Try, rather than making it a very specific image, to create a sense of what you do with this image. If you are a professional speaker, as many of my colleagues are, then a large photo of a decent sized audience with a hint that it is you speaking, will work much better than a designed image with your website address and trying to display all your book titles. Many of my clients in IT have various computer images such as mother boards or program flow charts as their backgrounds.

You get bonus points for tying up your background image to your profile image. The Core Group, who retail Apple products in South Africa, had a very neat plan where their staff images where taken in the office, with a white background and an Apple product like an iPhone or Mac, naturally in the image. Their background image was one with Apple products and their logo subtly in the background.

Your Company Logo on your Company Page

Under your Experience, where you indicate the company you work for, make sure to connect to the correct Company Page on LinkedIn. This allows you to make sure that the Company Page is available when people want to jump from  your Profile to the Company, and the logo will appear in the right hand side of your page.

If you are responsible for that Page, or have any influence over it, try and ensure that a squarish logo is represented, even if your logo is lengthy. Get a professional designer to make sure you have both long and square versions for your social media needs. Take a page with a square hole, and run it over the length of your logo. If you cannot make out the name from that square window, then you are losing an opportunity for branding, and worse, your brand looks unprofessional.  You will understand why I will not offer an example at this stage.

Updates and Blog Posts

When you post a status update and it is a link from another website, wait for the website details to update from the URL that you have posted and then select a decent image from those available to you. (Bonus – then go back and delete the url from your post. The link is now attached anyway and you don’t need the extra content cluttering up your post.)

When you do your blog posts, include a decent cover image and insert images into the post. Your readers are very visual and will be delighted with relevant, pleasing images that will break up the long text.

Help! I can’t do images!

I know, no one wants to learn a difficult new software, or even outsource the production of each new image. Have a look at the apps on your smart phone – there is sure to be one there that you can use. And if like me, you prefer not to work on such a small screen, then try either Canva (canva.com) or Pizap (pizap.com) to manipulate your images. Both are very easy to use and have free versions and paid options. All the images on this site are produced on Canva using their free tools, and you can see in the blog posts, a bit of a theme with the background images that I have selected, just to create some connection between them.

A picture is worth a thousand words, although it takes up a thousand times more the memory. But it is worth investing some time and effort in this area to make your LinkedIn profile pay off this year!


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