Show Your LinkedIn Photo a Little Love

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By Karen Hendricks

Branding has become personal. According to a recent article in Forbes, “The term branding has long been relegated to companies, but today almost every individual has a personal brand… a digital footprint in the sands of time and space, crowd sourced by friends, colleagues, and bosses.”

Perhaps the most important personal branding takes place on LinkedIn, social media for professionals, with our profile pictures playing a starring role.

linkedin_logo_initialsLet’s face the facts, pun intended, and review 10 simple guidelines to be sure your LinkedIn image is picture-perfect:

  • Use an image that depicts you looking into the camera as directly as possible. Think about how you would approach a potential contact or employer in person—you would establish eye contact, look at them directly, and smile.
  • The correct image size is a  minimum of 200×200 pixels. Don’t upload an image that is smaller. You can upload a larger image size (500×500 pixels, for example), as long as it’s square in dimensions.
  • Use a professionally-taken image if possible. LinkedIn is social media’s professional marketplace. Your image could form a first impression by a potential employer, and it’s the image your colleagues and network will associate with you.
  • If you don’t have a professionally portrait, then ensure your photo has a clean, plain background.
  • Don’t lurk in the shadows of LinkedIn by leaving the standard gray shadowy image in place of your real photo.
  • The photo should be a headshot; not a full body shot.
  • Wear a complimentary color but avoid busy patterns. Dress to impress!
  • Use a current image; nothing more than five years old at most.
  • Don’t use a logo or graphic design for your personal account; that would be appropriate on your company page however.
  • Smile! Your photo should be warm, genuine, and professionally pleasant.

Perusing LinkedIn, here are a number of faux pas I recently spotted in profile pictures (try not to LOL):

  • Sunglasses.
  • A pair of sneakers. Yes, you read that correctly. Simply a pair of sneakers as a profile picture. I don’t believe he/she was a professional athlete either.
  • Lots of gray “blank” LinkedIn photos. How will people recognize you?
  • A child’s hand caught in a woman’s hair. Whoops, it must have been a family photo, with the child cropped out. Ouch.
  • A smiling couple. Who is the contact—the man or the woman?
  • A man photographed with his dog. (He wasn’t a K9 officer or veterinarian!)
  • A man posing with his motorcycle.
  • Photos obviously taken during a summer vacation. Is this an image you want to project to your professional contacts?

Now for a few samples of outstanding images I gathered, with permission, from a few of my contacts on LinkedIn:

Jen and Joseph, below, both stand out against plain backgrounds, with pops of color in their professional attire, and friendly smiles. Perfect!

Jen

Jen

joe

Joseph

Meantime, Geoffrey and Trish, below, successfully incorporate a dash of professional personality into their profile pictures. Geoffrey, an artist, is photographed with one of his works behind him. Trish, a marketing strategist whose company name includes the word “Strategic,” strikes a thoughtful, reflective pose and evokes the feeling that she is indeed strategizing. Great personal branding!

Geoffrey

Geoffrey

trish

Trish

What does your “personal branding” and profile photo say about you? Show yourself some “LinkedIn love” and update your photo to reflect your professional personality!

Sources:

LinkedIn Help: Profile Picture

Forbes

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Instagram for Artists

Social media is intertwined with our daily lives, personally and professionally. For freelancers or those of us who are self-employed, social media is a fantastic way to share the stories behind our work, to network with others, and promote our work to a wider audience.

The rise of Instagram and its beautiful, visual platform, presents the perfect opportunity for artists of all types to promote their works. It’s visual storytelling at its best. That’s why I’ve created a two-part class “Instagram for Artists” offered through the Adams County Arts Council, Gettysburg, PA.

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Continue reading

Communications: Inspired by the WY Sky

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By Karen Hendricks

Logo design is a process aimed at capturing the essence of a business through words and art, thoughtfully blended together to clearly convey the name and purpose of the business. Many logos go a step further and somehow capture and convey an intangible quality or emotional response to that business, perfectly reflecting the business’ “personality.” This identity or logo of a business plays a central role in all marketing and branding efforts. Continue reading

5 Ways NYC Inspires Writers, Marketers, PR Pros

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Rose sculpture and city reflection, MoMA

By Karen Hendricks

What does the phrase “recharging my batteries” mean to you? I’d describe it as:

  • Needing a boost of energy; a fresh perspective
  • Seeking a change of scenery; a change of pace
  • Feeling the need to “get out of a rut”
  • Breaking free of schedules, calendars, or commitments
  • De-stressing

Visiting New York City always always recharges my batteries and leaves me energized, ready to tackle projects anew. During a recent visit to the Big Apple, I noted the top 5 ways that I believe NYC inspires those of us in the creative fields of writing, marketing or public relations: Continue reading

Footnotes from Fidler & Co

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Photography by Donovan Roberts Witmer

Go behind-the-scenes with me, to one of Central PA’s most talked-about restaurants, Fidler & Co. Craft Kitchen. Located off the beaten path in Biglerville, Adams County, it’s the perfect destination for a day trip combined with a visit to nearby apple orchards, farm markets, or the Gettysburg Battlefield. Continue reading

Oh Christmas Tree

Adams County Christmas Tree Farms Offer Homegrown Holiday Traditions

NovDec2014Searching, finding, and cutting the perfect Christmas tree–it’s a holiday tradition that flourishes on Adams County Christmas tree farms. “A lot of families come year after year, going on 30 years, bringing their children and then grandchildren,” says Michael Breighner, owner of The Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm. “They have the Christmas spirit, enjoying the view, smiles on their faces–those are the kinds of things that make the Christmas tree experience worthwhile.”

Click here to continue reading “Oh Christmas Tree,” my cover story in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Extras: Get to “The Roots of the Christmas Tree Tradition” and learn about “Christmas Tree Tips,” online content published on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.

The infinite, subtle variations between Christmas tree varieties is astounding. Enjoy the photos below that demonstrate why many evergreens are considered “blue” or “silver” needled. All of the photos were taken at Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm in September 2014. It was challenging, waiting for a slightly overcast day, so that the lighting would appear natural for the Nov/Dec issue!

"Swiss Silver" Strain of the Concolor Fir

“Swiss Silver” Strain of the Concolor Fir

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm's 33 acres

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm’s 33 acres

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas with family and friends close by your very own Christmas tree!

Instagram Images: Social Media Eye Candy

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

By Karen Hendricks

This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses.This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2014.

One of the fastest-growing forms of social media, Instagram features smartphone-based photography combined with a variety of fun apps that add vintage appeal. About 5 million mobile photographers are signing up weekly, and Instagrammers recently surpassed the 50 million mark. It’s a remarkable success story, as Instagram went from a zero-revenue startup to a $1 billion company that Facebook purchased in April 2012.

Instagram’s visual appeal ties in perfectly with one of the biggest topics in social media circles: the growing prevalence of images and the decreasing amount of text, on both the Internet and social media channels.

Whether you join Instagram purely for fun—sharing photos with family/friends—or whether you approach it from a business perspective, Instagram offers a unique blend of smartphone technology combined with a nostalgic twist. The app lets you select from a variety of 20 filters, many of which give your photos a retro feel. For example, there’s the “1977” filter with a Polaroid-type appearance.

Basically, your “feed” consists of photos from people you follow, similar to other social media streams. The big difference is that Instagram is 100 percent eye candy—photographs with very little text except for short captions, which are optional. Like Twitter, hashtags help identify photos within a theme.

Small businesses, associations and nonprofits are hopping on the Instagram train every day and adding it into their marketing campaigns. What a beautiful way to showcase a brand—snapping exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos or highlighting products or events in order to reach new audiences. Some of the most visual and creative Instagram images are posted by USA Today, Starbucks, National Geographic and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Three Adams County businesses currently using Instagram to their advantage by showing local scenery and events include:

If you enjoy Gettysburg area scenery and events, these are three accounts to watch!

Destination Gettysburg's Instagram Profile

Destination Gettysburg’s Instagram Profile

And to read more about the upward trend of visuals, see our previous article, The Visual Vocabulary of Social Media.