Make a good first impression.
Your LinkedIn profile photo and your header image are important pieces of visual real estate on your LinkedIn profile.
They're your first impression.
They allow you to get creative and add your own personalization to your otherwise vanilla profile.
You can build rapport, tell a story, and even stick in a CTA, if you optimize these two images properly.
That's if you use them right.
Today, we're going to deconstruct LinkedIn profile pictures and headline images, and we'll show you how you can optimize these images for maximum conversions.
Right, let's do this.
Getting your LinkedIn profile picture right is important.
This is the first time that your prospect is going to see you.
You want to look trustworthy, competent, and, of course, friendly enough for someone browsing to want to send you a message.
However, it's not always putting on the biggest smile that you have.
It's about looking the role.
Let's break down the basics.
But, here's the flipside.
You don't always have to smile. There are some roles where a prospect would prefer someone who looks serious. And, some people don;t aways look their best with a smile.
To analyze LinkedIn profile pictures, we use a free online tool called Snappr.
It's a tool that uses an algorithm to determine if your profile picture is visually appealing.
Snappr can link directly to your LinkedIn to pull your profile photo for it to analyze.
Once you've linked your account, pull your profile photo for the system to analyze.
It will also give you the option to upload something else if you want to.
After analyzing your photo, Snappr will give you a general score of up to a 100. I scored 72, which is a pretty good score since I'm going for a very particular look for this profile picture.
What we love about this application is that it doesn't just stop there.
It gives you three more sections with analysis on your face, the composition of your profile photo, and editing. It gives you inidvidualized scores along with tips on what to improve on.
As you can see, I lost a lot of marks because I decided not to put on a smile. Like I said earlier, you don't always have to smile if you're looking at composing a very particular look. The app might disagree with you, but it could work differently for conversions.
Remember, the app just serves as a guide and is not the be-all and end-all of your quest for optimization.
You also get tips on your jawline and squinch.
The composition guide takes into account the zoom of the photo, the rule of thirds which most photographers highly recommend, and the background.
I intentionally chose this background because of its aesthetics and I wanted something outside the confines of the office. It shows our work culture at BAMF. Although, it's visually appealing, it was flagged by Snappr.
Most of the time we recommend a non-distracting background, but you always have free reign to experiment if you have to.
A great photo is also partly the editing that goes into it and the app covers the basics. It looks at brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation, and the color temperature of your photo.
Due to the focus effect that we used to highlight my headshot, we suffered a few points off of sharpness.
As always, take these tips into account but never forget about the human element of analyzing a profile photo. The algorithm isn't perfect, but it's helpful if you want quick tips on how to improve your profile picture.
If you have a good photo with a bad background, then don't put that photo to waste.
You can use an online app to get that sorted out for free.
I personally use Clipping Magic because it's really easy to use.
Head over to their website and drag your photo to that space on their homepage, or you can upload on the right-hand side.
It will take you to a new page which will then process your image.
The app is pretty accurate in its own right and you can easily generate a background-less photo with a single click.
If you find that the app removed part of the photo that you want to use, it's got an intuitive brush tool that you can use to brush parts of the photo that you want to keep.
All that's left for you to do now is to click save and you've got your new LinkedIn profile picture ready.
You could use other tools by Canva or use the pen tool on Photoshop, but if you want to get rid of backgrounds in a pinch. This is one of the best free tools out there.
Call a friend or your colleagues over and tell them to have a look.
Would they hire, transact, and more importantly, trust you?
If the answer is yes, to all three, then you've got a contender.
However, as we said earlier, just keep trying, I'm sure there are a lot of photos of you out there that are appealing.
Once you're done uploading your LinkedIn profile picture, it's time to optimize the largest customizable piece of real estate on your profile, your header image.
There's a lot that you can do with your header image.
It can be used as a call-to-action, provide additional information about what you have to offer, give prospects a quick glimpse o your company culture, and provide context for your company.
It's pretty powerful.
So, what's the best way to create one?
Well, it really depends.
At BAMF, we push for conversions that blend with great aesthetic.
Here's an example.
As you can see, I've split my header into three parts.
The left panel shows publications that I authored, the middle has the BAMF logo prominently placed along with collaborations I've had with major publications for social proof, on the right we went with a more personal branding approach.
If you'll notice we've included a CTA, along with a link to both the website and Instagram.
This whole ensemble was hard to pull off, but was worth in the end because it covered all of the bases.
The header image has:
So, how do you build a quick LinkedIn header image?
First of all, write down everything that you want to include in your header, and put it aside.
Next, we'll use an easy application like Canva to kick off the header creation process. Canvass is user-friendly, has a powerful free option, and allows you to create great designs using templates.
Once you've created an account, search for "LinkedIn Templates" on the platform.
Now choose from the dozens of templates that they have. You can use this as a starting point.
Now start the editing process. (Let's use this template as a starting point for this example.)
Aim to divide this header image into two or three parts. You want to follow the rule of thirds because it's more visually appealing this way.
Add one or two links. You can click on the elements tab on the right to grab app badges to use i.e. for your Instagram or Facebook links.
We moved the social links to the right hand side to clean everything up.
Now add your company logo and a quick call-to-action.
Now add your finishing touches.
And, presto, you now have an optimized LinkedIn header image.
It took me about 15 minutes to get this together.
Imagine, all you need is 15 minutes to make sure you have a fully optimized header image!
As a final note, remember to take into account where your profile photo will fit in, you don't want to block important information.
Lastly, just as with your Linked profile picture, make sure you get a pair of human eyes to check out your header image.
Now your header image doesn't always have to be heavily edited with graphics and CTAs, you can opt for something simple, like a photo of you and your team.
This can work because it shows people who you are and hints at your company culture.
However, if you're first starting out and you really want to optimize for growth, it's really helpful to go along this route.
Remember that old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words"?
Well, LinkedIn gives you the option to upload two straight off the bat.
That gives you a lot of visual real estate to work with; real estate that you can use to convert people and turn your LinkedIn profile into a passive lead generation machine.
Plus, it's not that difficult to do.
Remember, the first impression counts.