How should your LinkedIn profile look?

In my previous blog, ‘Why should you use LinkedIn?‘, I talked about understanding why we are on LinkedIn, getting started and getting the basics right.  In this blog, I’m talking about the LinkedIn profile and how it should look.  As author of ’Sales Success on LinkedIn’, I can help you to get the look just right.

One of the things that, still after 15 years, seems to be a thorny topic is the profile photograph.  OK, yes, we see lots of different approaches on profile photographs and when we do a presentation, we often share some great examples and some less great examples of a profile photograph.

Keep an eye on LinkedIn

It’s interesting when you read the research about this: Quite a while ago, LinkedIn did some eye-tracking surveys, and what we really appreciate is while we are well developed as human beings, we’re quite sophisticated in terms of what we do, we still respond far better to images than we do to the written word.

So, when LinkedIn did these eye-tracking surveys, the first thing that peoples’ eyes naturally fall to on your LinkedIn profile is your profile photograph and the research backs that up.  Just to clarify, when you talk about eye-tracking, this was using software or using some kit, so they could see what you were looking at when you’re on a LinkedIn profile.  Absolutely yes. They wanted to see where the eye naturally falls. The first point of reference that they found was that as somebody opened an individual profile, the individual profile viewer went straight to that person’s profile photograph.

Now, just a simple, effective tip is that we talk very much about relationships being an extension of what you do face-to-face.  What I encourage people to do, what seems to be best practice and what seems to work most effectively is to have a good life-like representation of you in business on LinkedIn.

First impressions count

So, if you are an engineer, a senior engineer on an oil rig and you walk round all day with a hard hat on and a boiler suit, then that’s fine, that’s how I’d meet you in business, that’s how I’d see you, that’s fine. If you’re a CEO of an organisation, then you perhaps might wear a suit, whatever it might be, make sure that your photograph represents you as I see you face-to-face, as I see you online.

The biggest no-nos are the kind of holiday photos, the cropped wedding photos, the night out photos, whatever it might be, they just don’t allow me to connect in the same way, as I would do in a networking event when I see you. That’s the principle, make it the same face-to-face as you would on LinkedIn.

If you think about this, if you happily go to a networking event face-to-face with potential customers, or customers and contacts you know and you’re wearing your Hawaiian shirt and you’re sipping a cocktail, that’s fine.  However, most of us don’t do that, most of us have a business approach, so let’s reflect and replicate that business approach in terms of the photograph that you present to the outside world.

So good advice, have a good photograph, that represents how you look in the business world because after all it is a business platform.

Make sure you have some up-to-date photographs, because people often use LinkedIn as a place to go to understand who they are about to meet in advance of a meeting. It could be a new supplier, it could be a new customer, it could be anybody and they want to get a representation of you. There is nothing worse than seeing a photograph and thinking, right I know the person I’m looking for and then their older sister or brother appears in your lobby that they’ve put on 42 lbs and they’re kind of 20 years older, because the photographs they’ve had taken all that time ago and look fabulous and they don’t want to change them.

Again, we need that congruence between how you are face-to-face and how you are in real life. So, we need to make sure that you have a bang-up-to-date photograph on your profile.

Why not read my previous blog ‘Why should you use LinkedIn?’.  In my next blog, ‘How to use LinkedIn to grow your business‘, I’ll explain the importance of having an up-to-date profile, understanding your target audience and building trust.

You may also find our free resource useful too, click on the button below to download ‘How to build your perfect LinkedIn profile’ resource.

Build your profile resource

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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