Your LinkedIn photo is what reminds users that behind each profile on the platform is a real, living and breathing professional. And if you're using LinkedIn to generate leads and build your business, the importance of a good headshot cannot be emphasized enough.
Along with your professional headline, strangers are using your LinkedIn photo to size you up in a matter of mere seconds to see who you are and what (if any) interest they should have in your profile, profession and content... so it's critical you make a great first impression.
Here's some tips on how to do it.
Keys to a Killer Profile
If your LinkedIn profile is a faceless avatar with no information beyond a dry description of the job duties you perform or services you provide, it'll be difficult to bridge that gap with potential customers and business partners.
Statistics from LinkedIn show that simply having a profile photo results in up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests.
In fact, LinkedIn recently announced it has added some new photo editing and photo filter options to its mobile app to help you compose a better profile picture.
Once you've won a prospective client over with your professional headline and great photo, you also want to ensure, as they dig deeper into your profile, that it's focused on what you can do for your ideal audience, and what makes you different/better when compared to your competitors.
LinkedIn Photo Tips
You're starting a business relationship on LinkedIn, and that requires your photo to reflect the appropriate level of professionalism.
A clean headshot in professional attire is most appropriate.
Your eyes should be looking into the camera. Remember, you're building trust, and eye contact is a critical component of trust.
Also, don't wear sunglasses. Remember, it's natural human curiosity and instinct to want to look someone directly in the eye, and sunglasses prevent that.
Also it's critical that you smile in your LinkedIn Profile photo. Smiling is so important that I've actually told LinkedIn Riches students of mine to go back and get retakes of their profile photos because they weren't smiling.
Remember, when you're first "meeting" someone online, it's these little things that matter most.
How The New Features Work
While I do recommend getting a high-quality professional headshot taken to use on your profile, If you can't afford to have one done headshot done, LinkedIn suggests using some of their editing features to help create a better quality photo.
On LinkedIn's mobile app, you can select a photo and automatically crop out your headshot from any image you have.
LinkedIn's also added six different photo filters, along with the ability to control the brightness, contrast, saturation and vignette elements of your LinkedIn profile photo.
Here's a video from LinkedIn which demonstrates the new photo features:
Remember - Visuals Matter
In online marketing, we do indeed judge the proverbial book by its cover.
Especially on LinkedIn, looking your best in a professional fashion is key to making a great first impression and ensuring prospective clients take you seriously on the platform.
And, once you have that in place, you can get busy ensuring the rest of your profile follows suit.