Remember Alice Myerhoff, inspiring client and author of Social Media for Salespeople? You may recall that I blogged about her a few months ago when her book came out. I’m grateful that she took the time out of her busy schedule to share some tips on the importance of selecting a good LinkedIn profile photo. Thanks, Alice!!
5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Photo for Your LinkedIn Profile, by Alice Myerhoff
Choosing the right photo for your LinkedIn profile picture may seem like no big deal but it is important. LinkedIn is the largest social channel for business and it is where you represent your professional self. If you are thinking of LinkedIn as just an online resume for job seeking you are seriously underestimating how powerful this channel is.
As a salesperson and social media expert it is one of my most beloved business tools. I use it a number of different ways. For example, whenever I get a new lead or contact, I look them up on LinkedIn. I do this so that I can know more about this person: their work background, where they live, where they went to school, what their interests are and knowing these things prepares me to have more enjoyable and effective conversations with my business contacts. One of my favorite features of LinkedIn is “InMails” which allows me to send “cold” emails through LinkedIn to people who aren’t yet in my LinkedIn network. Part of the beauty of using LinkedIn to to send cold emails is that the email comes with a link to my profile and allows the recipient to see a bit about me before deciding if they are going act on that email or delete it, which takes the email up a level and makes it “warm.” And, of course, LinkedIn is where I put my own best professional foot forward. I do this by highlighting my work experience ranging from employment history to consulting projects and mention of my book “Social Media for Salespeople.” I also have a very carefully chosen profile picture and you should too.
Here are my tips for selecting a the right profile photo for you:
- Show your face. I often see photos of people that are full body because the person is trying to highlight a hobby or experience. Because the image on LinkedIn is fairly small, choosing a photo like that means that people cannot easily see your face. Seeing your face is important for a number of reasons. First of all, if you’ve met someone in person already and you’re looking to connect with them on LinkedIn, seeing your face again is likely how they will recognize you. This will help them decide if they want to make that connection online as well. Also, as you continue to interact with that person online, each time they see your photo, your relationship with them grows a little bit. You become more familiar.
- Look like yourself. Of course you want to look your best in your profile photo but that should not mean that you look radically different from how you do in real life. Has your hair length changed? Did you grow a beard? Do you normally wear glasses? Is your photo 10 years old? Choose a photo that reflects how you look currently. This is important because you want help people make the connection between your online and offline selves. If you look much different, there can be a disconnect that is not conducive to a productive relationship. And please please please do not use an image that is a cartoon version of yourself or a photo of your baby or a picture of Bart Simpson because you think it’s funny. None of these choices will help you from a business perspective.
- Match your photo to your business style. I recently had an enlightening experience at a meeting with a potential consulting client. At the end of the meeting, my contact wanted to add me as a connection on LinkedIn. He pulled up my profile on his phone and said, “You’re much warmer in person than one would guess from your photo.” My personal business style is one that is warm and friendly so my photo didn’t match who I am. Shortly after this conversation, I swapped out the more stern looking photo for one where I have a friendly smile. It’s a much better choice for me. Think about the business image you want to project and consider whether your profile photo supports that image.
- Be consistent. Many of us have a variety of social media and other profiles. Typically these require having some sort of image as your “avatar.” I recommend that you use the same image across all of your profiles. This is helpful because when you are connecting with business contacts across these different channels, each time they see your photo it’s a touchpoint which allows your relationship to deepen and solidify. You become more familiar to them every time they see your picture. I like to think of these touch points as branding opportunities.
- Use a good quality photo. This last point may seem obvious but do make sure your photo is of good quality and by that I mean that it’s in focus and that it’s cropped well so that your face is centered. Of course, if you’re working with Nancy Rothstein, that’s all a given. 🙂
Alice Myerhoff is author of the e-book “Social Media for Salespeople: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increasing your Leads and Sales” and a business development/sales/marketing/management executive with over 18 years of experience in industries ranging from online games, educational technology and Social business to online news media, real estate & mortgage. She is currently heading up Sales at EdSurge, and has worked at Electronic Arts, Inman News, Pivot Conference, Philips Professional Publishing, Countrywide, Princeton Capital, and the Tomorrow Project. Her party trick is being able to count to 10 in 6 languages and she is fluent in German and French. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter: @motodot