These days social media is an essential part of doing business. Whether you work for yourself or are working your way up in your given field, the chances are that your social media presence will come into play in one way or another.  When applying for a new position or promotion, your prospective employer will likely look at your social media presence at some point in the recruitment process. If you’re an entrepreneur, social media can often be your first interaction with a potential client. Therefore, it is highly important for your social media accounts to present a great first impression.  

LinkedIn is the most popular platform for establishing yourself on the business side of social media. Choosing the right profile picture is essential to create the best environment for effective networking. There are some crucial tips and tricks that you should know when choosing the right profile picture. I can’t tell you how often I’ve come across a LinkedIn profile that has an outdated photo, a poorly lit selfie, a group photo as the profile picture, or in some cases, no photo at all. While these types of images may work for more social pages such as Facebook or Instagram, when you’re using social media to get ahead in your career, you want to make sure that you avoid these mistakes. 

If you want to give yourself a leg up over the competition in your field, follow these tips for achieving the perfect LinkedIn profile picture.

Use a Headshot

Professional headshots are designed to present you in the very best light. You’ll work with your photographer to create your personal brand and display it in your photo.  These portraits typically focus on the shoulders up, with the subject looking directly at the camera for a person-focused and straightforward photograph. Every couple of years, I recommend a professional headshot session for anyone working in a professional setting or entrepreneurs looking to market themselves to new clientele. 

Show Your Face

Potential employers or clients want to know who you are. Seeing your face front and center on your LinkedIn page allows them to get a feel for who they’re going to be working with. According to a study on LinkedIn in 2017, profiles with a photo got 21% more profile views and 9% more connection requests than those without a photo. It also makes it more likely that people you already know outside of social media will recognize your profile and expand your connections in the online space.

Look Approachable and Friendly

Your profile picture should be approachable. If you work in a very formal industry, you may be tempted to choose a profile picture that shows you looking very serious. However, across all sectors a more relaxed profile picture is appropriate, so don’t be afraid to smile and exude warmth. 

Wear Your Normal Work Attire

Your headshot should express who you are in your work environment. I’m sure you’ve heard that you should dress for the job you want.  That statement rings true for your LinkedIn profile photo as well.  Your outfit choices should reflect the position you want, or the position that you currently hold, whether that be a more casual T-shirt or a more formal suit and tie. 

Keep a mind on Framing

Nothing is worse than a profile picture that is improperly framed. You want to make sure that your photo has enough background that your face is taking up the entire frame but not so much that the details of your face are too small to see. You want to find a photo that is somewhere in the middle so that the focal point of the profile picture is your face, but the background is still visible around you.

Keep Your Photo Up To Date

The reality of aging is that our looks will change over the years. Your profile picture should change as you do. You don’t want to be a professional in their mid-thirties who is still using a profile picture from when you were in your early twenties. I recommend updating your profile picture as well as your professional headshots at least every two years to keep up with the various changes in your looks and make sure that your photos are accurately reflecting who you are today. 

Incorporate Your Branding

If you’re an entrepreneur then you know how important branding is when representing your company. The goal of branding is to make your brand ie: you and your company, recognizable across all avenues of marketing. To incorporate your branding into a simple headshot you can wear your brand colors, use your branding colors for the photo background, and put your logo either in the background or in a small space in the foreground of the photo. Even a subtle use of branding is enough to get that recognition that you want from one platform to the next. 

The name of the game with social media, especially in the business arena, is to stand out from the crowd. You have to use all the tools at your disposal to draw that attention to your profile so that people are interested in learning more about you.  The first and most important tool in your social media toolbox is the profile picture.  If you need to update your professional photographs to get yourself back in the game on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, we would love to help! Visit our contact page to get started planning your next headshot session!