It’s in the best interest of any brand to be seen by a large number of people.
The best way to get noticed online is through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The latter is ideal in exposing one’s brand to like-minded game players.
Why LinkedIn when Facebook and Instagram have a massive number of users? Because it’s the biggest social media platform that fosters business interactions.
Through LinkedIn, you can take your brand to a whole new level by showing potential clients and investors who you really are and what you sell.
So before you drop the question of whether LinkedIn lead generation is worth it or not, let’s take a look through some stats.
LinkedIn has over 610 million users, and more than 300 million of them are MAUs (or monthly active users).
Now, imagine what you can achieve by tapping into just a few million of those active users – massive business traction, leads, partnerships – you name it.
An Overview of LinkedIn Lead Generation
Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, LinkedIn gives you plenty of room to express yourself.
This means the profile section is your sales page, and this is where you get to tell your visitors who you are, what you sell, and why they should consider you over other competitors.
And here’s something you don’t know:
Even though setting up a LinkedIn profile is so straightforward, many people shoot themselves in the foot by rushing through the process.
You need to have a high-quality LinkedIn background photo and profile image, a well-optimized tagline, and a kickass summary that tells your story in an inspiring way.
These are the elements that anyone who lands on your profile notices in the first few seconds.
You are your brand, and therefore your profile must reflect well on your business.
Now, when a prospect visits your profile, they will use the information you have provided to discern whether you or your company could be beneficial to their endeavours.
If your profile doesn’t feed them with sufficient info, they will look elsewhere, and you or your decision-maker will have lost a valuable lead.
Now that you understand the importance of personal branding on LinkedIn, and before we take a look at some killer background photo examples, let’s dig in further and look at how you can create a killer LinkedIn profile.
How To Create A Supercharged LinkedIn profile
To be the best, you first have to learn from the best.
In this section, you’ll learn how to create an impressive profile, and we’ll use Houston’s (our head of everything) profile as an example.
- Have a professional profile picture
We’ve said it a hundred times before and will say it again: if you don’t have an attractive profile image, all that brand building on LinkedIn won’t amount to much. The profile photograph that you use needs to be what you would look if you went on a meeting with them or ran into them at work on a normal day.
Ideally, smile to look friendly and approachable. Do not be nerdy or creative about this. If you have branded t-shirts that represent your company, take the picture with them. Don’t go out of your way to take the most creative photo ever, but do take the most sensible one you can take.
Here are some good examples of professional headshots:
Let’s take a look at Houston’s profile image:
Notice how we’ve used all the elements we talked about?
Looks approachable, cute (that’s Milo by the way) and branded with the BAMF Tshirt.
Since the profile image is one of the first elements that prospects notice on your profile, let’s take a look at how we can edit your profile image to be the best:
Let’s take a real LinkedIn profile for example:
- Analyze your photo using Snappr:
Snappr uses image recognition and machine learning technologies, to determine how well your photo will perform.
Let’s analyze Curtis’s profile image using Snappr:
Snappr rates the photo at 72, and gives us a bunch of suggestions on how to better optimize the face in the image:
Then they give us other suggestions on optimizing the overall composition, and how to make the image look better by zooming, and positioning the image’s crop better:
They also give you ideas on other elements like brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation and color gradient.
- Remove unwanted backgrounds using Clipping Magic:
Often having backgrounds can make your face looks less pronounced in profile images.
Clipping Magic is a super simple tool that allows you to remove backgrounds from images. And it works like a charm:
- Optimize your tagline/bio
The tagline is a string of words that show up right below your name.
When you send someone a connection request, this is the first thing they notice, and it will decide whether your request will be accepted or rejected.
A catchy tagline easily piques the interest of anyone.
This means you’ll have higher acceptance rates. You need to put some thought into this.
What should I put in my Linkedin bio?
Your title (CEO, Author, Founder, etc.), what you do (growth hacker, marketer, recruiter or consultant) and any tangible achievement. You could also talk about paid placements, but not too much.
The bio section receives a lot of exposure because it is the first thing that they see. You need to come straight about what you do, your achievements and the company you represent. Check the examples below for motivation:
- Write a Detailed summary
This section is effectively your sales pitch. Carefully crafted summaries can get you lots of leads. People who are drawn by your title will naturally be curious about you and will want to find out more about you. This is where you can lead them in.
You want to bring them in with a short catchy sentence that will guide them through the rest of the description. Alternatively, you could start by placing your contact information right at the top for people who are in a hurry to get ahold of you. (Check out Houston’s bio below. He does a bit of both)
List out what you offer, what you’ve achieved in the past, and how they can reach out.
Go as deep as you can but stay relevant and try your best not to drone on. People want a quick overview of you, not your entire life story. At the end of your summary, upload a few samples of your work to prove your expertise.
Houston’s summary is an excellent example:
Here’s a list of what should be included in the summary:
- What does your company do?
- And what services do you offer?
- What campaigns or projects have you been a part of?
- How can prospects contact you?
- What are your special interests (shed some light on your personal side)?
- Do you have some tangible achievements worth showing off?
Do ensure that you do not pitch stories, products, or people. But you can mention featured stories, product reviews, or testimonials.
It is also crucial that you link to case studies/portfolio pieces that showcase your past work. (We prefer to link to a meeting booking link and the website/case study). You could also link out to a landing page, make sure that your landing page has some elements thanking your visitor for coming in through LinkedIn. This adds a whole new level of personalization.
Now, let’s move on to some other profile elements that you need to optimize.
- Your profile URL
There is no need for your profile ID to include unnecessary numbers in them. Remove them when you can.
A great way to create a URL is to simply append your name to it. Good profile URLs can be read quickly. This speeds up memorization and adds to the professional nature of your URL. Make sure that you apply proper SEO to your URL as well, if you’re using your first name before you last name in other social profile URL, do the same for LinkedIn.
If you click on your profile, you will see a section where you can tweak your URL :
Here are some examples of good-looking profile links:
- Education and Experience details
Your experience section is yet another section on your LinkedIn profile that you can use to build trust and showcase expertise.
Make sure you mention only the institutions that have a logo. For those without one, you either need to add a logo or do away with the company/institution. People tend to subconsciously think that companies without logos aren’t good enough or legitimate. Also, keep in mind that it shouldn’t have a sales-y pitch.
LinkedIn also allows you to mention some of your top skills.
While it is okay to mention as many as possible, just provide a few that you would like to rank for (like growth hacking, lead generation, marketing; in Houston’s case). Once you put too many skills down, it makes you seem like you’re doing one too many things. People like seeing focus.
Put down a few things that you are confident in or generalizations of a group of specific talents that fall under one category. If you have to get particular, make sure it’s in a saleable context.
You’ve just learned how to spruce up your LinkedIn profile to impress potential clients.
Now let’s take a look at one of the most important and noticeable elements on your profile – your cover image or background photo.
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Background Photo
Like Facebook, Linkedin gives you an option to have both a profile photo and a cover image.
It’s surprising how many people leave that space unused, and the ones that use it aren’t exploiting it fully.
The key is to project thought leadership and associate yourself with prominent brands that build trust.
You can use your background photo to show yourself in action. You could be delivering a speech or discussing something with a group of people. Some people use a group photo that they took with a celebrity or an influencer within their niches – a strategy we’ve used to build trust.
If you run a company, then you definitely have a staff that needs to be seen. It also indicates to your prospects that you have a team, this means you can take on bigger tasks and that you lead people forward.
Another strategy – for people who are aiming to hyperlocal – is to use the location that they are trying to target as the backdrop of their cover photograph. For example, you could get a staff photo behind a famous landmark in a city you’ve opened a new branch in.
Upload a picture that shows all of you smiling while wearing branded T-shirts. Such an image shows your clients that you’re a team player and that there are adequate hands to handle work in your organization.
Here are some good examples of cover images for your inspiration:
Now let’s take a look at some killer Linkedin background photo examples and how they work with the overall profile to communicate a consistent brand message and portray thought leadership:
1. Houston Golden
Houston’s cover photo is super professional and contains all the elements of a superbly optimized profile image.
The BAMF team can be seen in the cover photo wearing branded Tshirts (We have a badass team 🙂 ). The tagline below his photo clearly states his position at BAMF, what he does, and his string of accomplishments. The summary further below contains his contact information and expounds further on our mission and the companies we’ve worked with.
Carla is a keynote speaker, author, and storyteller. She uses a high-quality, professional profile picture that displays a warm, and inviting smile.
All her professional information can be seen in the tagline while the background shot shows a picture of her in action at a gathering – where she’s speaking – ties into what her offering is – she’s a keynote speaker. Also, Carla used the summary section to succinctly sum up how she can help various businesses utilize the power of storytelling to drive up sales. You’ll notice that she chose to describe herself in the third person which is a nice touch if you want something different.
3. Jason Keath
As a social media marketer, Jason obviously understands the importance of LinkedIn in gathering leads.
The profile photo gives a nice close-up view while the background one shows him delivering a speech at the Social Fresh conference. His tagline is pretty short (CEO, Social Fresh) but in the summary section, he comprehensively talks about all his services, contact information, and his other social media handles.
4. Neil Patel
When you are famous like Neil, you probably would still get clients even if your LinkedIn is inadequately optimized.
However, he has a fine-tuned LinkedIn profile.
Neil’s LinkedIn background photo is extremely clear and taken on a plain background.
Notice how the profile image and over image work well with each other?
Neil starts to sell right from his background image. And the call to action “Want more traffic” stands out so well that you can’t miss it.
He goes ahead to list his main services in the very cover image! This chap really knows how to use LinkedIn’s prime real estate – the cover photo. He doesn’t have to say much in his bio because of this.
5. Andrea Jones
You gotta love Andrea’s profile. She’s got a complete Linkedin profile that is well optimized with a magnificent profile and cover photo. Notice how she boldly displays her services on her background photo?
In the summary section, she lists out all her services and backs them up with links to her previous achievements.
But that’s not all. There is something Andrea has included on her profile that others haven’t – customer testimonials. She literally copy-pasted several of them on her profile with client credentials. It’s social proof integrated into a LinkedIn summary!
This is a great way to boost the confidence of anyone reading your profile. You should look into this underutilized tactic.
Thumbs up to whoever took Marcus’s cover image. It’s awesome because he was caught right in the middle of the action. And the smiles on his audience’s faces can tell you that this guy has a good sense of humour and that he’s providing value.
Rather than sell directly in the summary section through calls-to-action, Marcus takes a different turn by simply talking about his greatest achievements as recorded by top platforms like Forbes and Mashable.
You can adopt this approach if you have a glamorous track record and solid PR coverage.
7. Mari Smith
One of the core features of personal branding is to tell a story and Mari Smith does just that in her summary section.
While others stick to a reporting voice, Mari speaks directly to you as her audience. She narrates her journey on how she transformed herself from a shy child to becoming one of the best public speakers.
Apart from her spellbinding story, Mari’s profile photos seem to match colours in an interesting way.
She is wearing blue in both pictures, and surprisingly the background in the cover photo is also blue. And no – it’s no coincidence. The colour blue portrays trust and dependability.
And the consistency makes her profile stand out from the rest.
8. Goldie Chan
Goldie is a personal branding expert with a knack for social media, storytelling, and LinkedIn videos. Given her professionalism, you would expect her profile to serve as the finest example, and yes – it does.
Her LinkedIn background photo is a perfect example of minimalism. It’s just a photo of her edited image and her achievements as one of the LinkedIn top voices in 2018. She does highlight more of her accomplishments in the tagline and summary.
The best part about her profile is that for every experience she listed out she went ahead to mention her duties and appended evidence of her work.
9. Neal Schaffer
Neal’s profile is a good example of exhaustiveness.
He uses LinkedIn’s tagline and summary to explain to prospects what he does and why he could be their best pick.
His cover and profile photos already meet the recommended standards. He boldly outlines what he does in the background image – and it’s very noticeable. In fact, he even promotes his products right in his cover photo.
Schneider is a great example of a company that uses excellent background images.
What kind of background photo do you need to have on a company profile?
You can do it their way!
This brand was among the top ten companies on LinkedIn in 2017 for a reason.
First, they don’t use edited stock photos like most brands do because that’s being super unoriginal. Instead, they used a background photo with the word “Go Green” in it with a few individuals smiling because the world is becoming safe thanks to their reliable energy management services.
It’s easy to think Nike has a massive influence on LinkedIn because of their worldwide fame but that’s not it.
Their cover image is simple, succinct and clear – style, sports, and fashion.
12. Bill Gates
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Bill Gates’ profile is a perfect example of how an Influencer’s LinkedIn profile should look like.
His main focus at the moment is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic and charitable organizations in the world. From scientific research to medicine and charitable work in third world countries, they’re into a lot of stuff.
How best to depict this than through a collage?
Phew – that was a lot – wasn’t it?
In the end, LinkedIn presents an unfair advantage if you’re targeting businesses. It’s the largest professional social network in the world, and the ROI for marketing on LinkedIn is several times higher than those on other networks.
Whether you represent yourself or a company, LinkedIn remains to be the best platform to use for personal branding.
With over 300 million active users, you can drive a plethora of leads.
However, for that to happen, you must breathe life into your profile so your potential clients don’t pick your competitors over you.