At Social Media Today we’re always working to bring you the latest insights into the world of social media marketing. Our newsletter can help deliver that directly to you daily.

5 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile Photo (and Why it's So Important)

5 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile Photo (and Why it's So Important) | Social Media TodayIf you want to win new business online - especially on LinkedIn - you have to go back to an era before computers (let alone the Internet and social media) even existed.

For as long as human beings have been alive and doing business, people have decided who to give their trust, affection and money to others based on some rather simple (and, some would argue, shallow) factors, including one's personal appearance and dress.

Love it or hate it, this is the truth about how business often gets done in-person and online.

This is especially true on LinkedIn, where personal appearance matters far more than you might think.

On LinkedIn, Looks Matter

Case in point: Statistics from LinkedIn show members who include a photo receive up to 21 times more profile views, and up to 36 times more messages.

What's really alarming is there are still people on LinkedIn today who don't have a a photo uploaded on their profile - although, it should also be noted that if you upload the wrong type of photo on LinkedIn, you can do more harm to your personal and professional brand than if you'd had no photo at all.

So how can you ensure that your LinkedIn profile photo helps prospective clients and customers get to know, like and trust you? Here are five key tips.

1. Be Professional

LinkedIn's not the place for a goofy Snapchat selfie or to crop your head out of your wedding photo. It is also not a place to upload your company logo as your profile photo, nor is it a place to show you holding your kids, hanging at the beach or playing fetch with your dog.

Instead, you need a professional photo. That means a clear, high-quality head shot of you looking your best and dressed to impress.

Also, the photo needs to be a "close up" of your face. LinkedIn will use that image all over the platform in various sizes, and people want to associate an easy-to-see face with the posts, comments and messages you send on LinkedIn. If your face is too far away or too small in the photo, it will be hard to see when LinkedIn displays your image in smaller sizes.

2. No Clutter

Remember to use a clean, clutter-free background for your profile photo. A simple, white background works best.

3. Don't Wear Sunglasses

You're not Corey Hart - you don't need to wear your sunglasses at night, and you don't need to wear them in your LinkedIn profile photo, either.

I'm still shocked at how many people I see on LinkedIn with sunglasses on, which is why I'm including this tip.

Remember, people want to look you in the eye (even online), and if they can't see your eyes, it makes it harder for them to trust you.

4. Smile

I had a goofball friend growing up who always had a smile on his face everywhere we went.

“Why are you always smiling?” I’d ask him.

“Because smiles are free!” he’d reply.

And, funny, Brad has more friends than I can count - everybody likes the guy, because he’s always smiling, friendly and welcoming. His smiling face instantly puts strangers at ease.

See how this works?

Even if it kills you, it’s important that you smile in your LinkedIn profile photo. Smiling is so important that I’ve actually told students in my LinkedIn courses to go back and get retakes of their profile photos because they weren’t smiling.

5. Use a Professional Photographer

According to LinkedIn, users who have a professional headshot get 14 times more views than those without.

If you are asking potential clients and customers to spend thousands of dollars with you or your company, you need to look the part.

A professional, high-quality headshot shows you're serious, competent and able to deliver on what you're promising.

Look and Learn

At first glance, it might feel silly to worry so much about what goes into your LinkedIn profile photo, but when you are first “meeting” someone online, it’s often the small details that matter the most.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, and your LinkedIn profile photo is usually the first (and sometimes only) chance you have to impress a potential client or customer.

So take it seriously.

Join The Conversation

Webinars On Demand

Whitepapers