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

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.

instagram-for-artists-promo-pic

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Springtime Tweets

By Karen Hendricks

Welcome to “Gettysburg Social.” Highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses, this bi-monthly column examines the latest social media trends. First published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2013.

RobinThe first robins of spring are appearing, but we’re exploring “tweets” via technology. The social media site Twitter records about 340 million tweets per day.* By “tweet,” we mean “message.” And by “message,” we mean “short and sweet,” as in 140 characters. Twitter describes its messages as “bursts of information.”

With more than 200 million users*, the social media site is similar to Facebook in that you create a profile, write a short description or bio, upload a photo, start following people/businesses, and then receive a news feed in real time. If you like fast-paced news and information, this is the social media platform for you.

Businesses are finding value in monitoring tweets (aka marketing data) and interacting directly with consumers. From a consumer standpoint, following favorite brands allows you behind-the-scenes info plus access to special discounts and offers. Photos, videos and links enhance brief tweets.

Quite a few Adams County businesses are utilizing Twitter. In keeping with a springtime theme, here are a few fresh-picked recommendations:

Twitter bird

Hollabaugh Bros Inc.: Follow this popular Biglerville market’s tweets to find out which farm-fresh fruits and veggies are in season.

Highwater Grill: Food trucks are Twitter’s bread and butter.  Fans can follow this local gourmet food truck to discover what’s on the menu and its daily whereabouts (Lincoln Square or Rec Park?).

Philadelphia Flower Show: Although it’s not an Adams County business, this powerhouse of a flower show makes for an excellent daytrip, and by following them, you gain an insider’s view plus ticketing discounts.

To check out more Gettysburg and Adams County businesses, follow me @KarenHendricks9 and click on my “Lists,” where you’ll find 40+ area businesses gathered into “The Burg & Beyond.” Don’t forget to follow Celebrate Gettysburg as well!

* Source: Twitter

Do you know of other businesses doing a great job on Twitter?  Whether they are locally, nationally or internationally-based, feel free to share your “picks” by commenting below!

And join me, for “The Art of Social Media,” a 4-course series, held in partnership with the Adams County Arts Council, every Wednesday evening in April from 7-9 pm. We’ll explore Twitter along with the basic “pillars” of social media. Sign up online or by calling 717-334-5006. Just a handful of openings remain!

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