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

LinkedIn Cultivates Connections

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Karen Hendricks

Welcome to “Gettysburg Social!” This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses. This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, Jan/Feb 2014. 

Every second, two new members join LinkedIn, the social media network with a professional twist. LinkedIn is 10 years old, and while it has a solid foundation, it’s still growing and adding new features that make it easier to “do business” via social media.

Adams County’s professionals are well-represented on LinkedIn; if you enter the search term “Gettysburg,” more than 16,000 profiles pop up. One reason is that many Gettysburg College students have LinkedIn profiles. Actually, students and recent graduates are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic. As of the school year ending May 2012, more than 20 million students and recent grads have developed “online résumés”—another way to approach LinkedIn profiles.

But LinkedIn profiles aren’t limited to those launching their careers; well-established professionals from all job sectors imaginable are represented, including executives from all of 2012’s Fortune 500 companies. There are 225 million LinkedIn users worldwide.

Creating a profile allows you to… connect to past and present co-workers, ask for their recommendations, list your skills and accomplishments, promote your job search, or scan online employment postings. It’s online networking at its best.

About two years ago, LinkedIn began offering businesses and nonprofits the ability to create company pages—mini websites within LinkedIn where companies can showcase news, products, services or job openings. Many small businesses and nonprofits have yet to take advantage of this free marketing tool. When searching under the term “Gettysburg,” only 88 company pages display on LinkedIn. Here are a few adding LinkedIn luster to their online presence:

Simply click on the links above to explore the LinkedIn company pages. And if you haven’t already, consider creating a company page to showcase your business today!

Also… a warm invitation to attend my upcoming Social Media 101 for Business workshop, a 2-part series:

  • Overview: Learn about valuable–but free–social media channels and select the “best fits” for your business. 
  • Feedback from past attendees: “Extremely helpful, practical information. It is a pleasure to work with Karen and I cannot thank her enough… she is a true treasure.”
  • Dates: Wednesday evenings, February 5 & 12 from 7-9 pm
  • Location: Adams County Arts Council, 125 S Washington St, Gettysburg PA 17325
  • To enroll: Click to enroll online or call 717-334-5006

 

Social Media Use Expands to Nearly 3 in 4 Adults

By Karen Hendricks

Seniors Social Media

72% of American adults now use some form of social media, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. Among the fastest-growing demographic group are those in the 65+ age category, tripling their presence on social networking sites during the last four years from 13% to 43%. As The Washington Post recently summarized, “Your grandma is three times as likely to use a social networking site now as in 2009.”

I can attest to this personally, having taught several rounds of “The Art of Social Media,” a “social media 101” series through a local arts council. The majority of my class attendees are those in the 55+ category, although there have consistently been a smattering of younger and middle-age attendees as well.

It’s always interesting to hear attendees’ motivation for signing up for the workshops, a four-week series totaling eight hours of instruction on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other forms of social media. The most consistent answer I receive is, “I’ve been resistant to social media–I thought it was a fad–but now that I realize it’s here to stay, I want to learn it.” That answer comes from people of all ages!

But the most common response from older attendees is “I want to communicate with my grandchildren and connect with them on Facebook (or Twitter).” And it’s so thrilling to hear their success stories, as they begin connecting with their grandchildren, sharing photos and communicating via new methods!

What are some additional reasons people want to learn about social media? Here are some more responses I often hear during my classes:

  • I’ve had a fear of computers but I’m ready to tackle social media now
  • As long as you show me how to keep my profiles and photos private, viewed by friends only, I’m ready for social media
  • I’ve tried to learn about social media myself, but it’s been too hard
  • I want to learn about social media so I can use it for my business
  • I need to establish a LinkedIn profile for my career
  • I already know a little bit about social media, but I definitely need to expand my knowledge

If you’d like to join in the next session of The Art of Social Media, offered Wednesday evenings in September at the Adams County Arts Council, Gettysburg, PA, click here for online registration or call the arts council at 717-334-5006. If your September calendar is already busy, please note the 4-week session is being offered on Wednesday evenings in October as well.

To read more from the August 5, 2013 Pew Research report on social media use, click here.

Taking the Pulse of Social Media

By Karen Hendricks

Just as the recent election seems to have left the nation fractured, there also seems to be a great divide separating us over the issue of social media use.  I see most people–and businesses–fitting into one of these categories:

  • I know I should embrace social media but I just don’t feel that I have the time.  I have a Facebook account that I use occasionally, but I don’t use any other forms of social media.  I keep hearing about Pinterest and Instagram but I don’t have time to learn new things.  I don’t yet own a smart phone.
  • I enjoy learning about social media and recognize its significance within today’s marketing campaigns.  I have a Facebook account and several other social media accounts but I still don’t feel totally comfortable using them.
  • I LOVE social media!  I am tweeting all day long. I have accounts on nearly all social media platforms.  I am probably in my 20s, but there are a few of us sprinkled through each generation.

Social media doesn’t need to leave us feeling fractured or frustrated.  In fact, the “social” aspect speaks to the sharing of ideas, communicating in news ways and bringing us together.  With that in mind…

I’m very excited to be working on a 4-class series, “The Art of Social Media” with the Adams County Arts Council, located in Gettysburg, PA.  The holidays are upon us and while the New Year seems far away, it’s less than 50 days until 2013!  Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to be more comfortable and well-versed in social media? Whether you apply social media to business or pleasure, there are many benefits.

Here’s a preview of some of the introductory facts for the first session, especially highlighting the benefits of using social media for business:

  • —Internet users spend an average of 4 hours per day on the web (2012) compared to 46 minutes (2002).  If potential customers are already on the web, shouldn’t your business be there as well?
  • —Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.  It’s a great case for creating a Facebook business page.
  • —There are 950 million Facebook users (Aug, 2012).
  • —There are 2.7 billion likes and comments made on Facebook every day.
  • —Instagram is at 40 million users and on track to reach 100 million users faster than any previous social media.  More and more businesses are creating accounts and showcasing themselves via photos.
  • —Pinterest is the third most popular social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter with 10 million unique users monthly.  And it’s very brand-loyal:  More consumers follow brands on Pinterest than they do on Facebook or Twitter.

Social Media Humor, Credit: Randy Glasbergen, Glasbergen.com

Communication today has become extremely multi-faceted!  Whether for business or pleasure, learn how to navigate social media channels, select the “best fits” for you, and enjoy connecting with friends, colleagues and/or customers.  The series covers:  how to set up a website or blog (WordPress), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr and Snapfish.

Class dates are:  Wednesday evenings, January 9-30, 7-9 pm.

Update, December 13:  Registration is now open and available online via this link to the Adams County Arts Council.  Scroll down to the end of the list (they saved the best for last!) for The Art of Social Media.

I look forward to helping you discover all the ways that social media can enhance your life, both personally and professionally!

Sources:  Mashable, SocialNomics, Pinterest, Facebook

Credit: Randy Glasbergen, Glasbergen.com