People prefer pictures over text. Have you noticed the explosion of info-graphics over the last couple of years? We have an abundance of data to make sense of and share. Mobile devices are most useful when they make our interaction with them simple, intuitive and pleasing to look at. We prefer our information in easily-digestible, graphic-rich, text-lite bites. LinkedIn understands the power of images and the trend towards visualization. Here are 5 clever (and cool) ways to effectively leverage visuals on LinkedIn. How many are you using?
Let’s start with what people notice first on your LinkedIn Profile. Your photo is arguably the most important catalyst of Profile traffic (Profiles with photos are 11x more likely to be viewed than Profiles without photos when viewed in list format), followed closely by your Headline. People can only see your Photo, Name and your Headline when browsing in LinkedIn Groups, using LinkedIn search or glancing at ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’. If your Headline is doing its job but you don’t have a photo – that’s usually a deal-breaker, not cool, not clever. People will assume that the rest of your Profile is unfinished/incomplete and not worth the click. Not having a photo also sends a universally understood negative message: “I don’t want you to see me”. Look at this example:
Who would you not click on?
Look at the following 2 examples of a Profile page:
Jourdan could teach Matthew a thing or two about LinkedIn presence. What makes a good LinkedIn photo? Smile, look at ease, look confident by ‘Squinching’ your eyes (it’s an old photographer’s trick). Don’t have anything distracting behind or next to you (that means no one else in the shot; no kids, no wife, no friends, no pets etc.). If you can afford one, get a professional headshot taken, ask for a white or black background (white blends in with the LinkedIn Profile scheme, black focuses the eye on your face). A professional photographer can work wonders with lighting. Bring him/her examples of LinkedIn photos you like or want to emulate. Have a look at the following real life examples of some of the strangest, funniest and odd Photo choices, you’re ever likely to see on LinkedIn.
(2) ENDORSEMENT TAPESTRY
The next visual marketing opportunity on your Profile is your Skills & Endorsements section. It’s a big, bold, hard-to-ignore visual cue. Endorsements have divided all LinkedIn users into proponents and laggards, everyone can see where you stand. If you’re still on the fence, you should know that you now have all the right tools to weave your Tapestry. LinkedIn recently made some smart and welcome changes to Skills when it comes to managing your Endorsements. They’ve essentially put you in the driving seat – you can move Skills up or down, hide/add new Skills and you can even hide specific Endorsements. Now that you have full control of your Endorsement Tapestry, you can (and should) influence how others perceive your strengths/skill set. Here are 2 examples:
Which one impresses you less? Why? I bet it has something to do with the single digits on the left, the lack of a completed square-shaped Tapestry and the proliferation of ghosts (folks without photos). People who quickly browse your Profile will check out your Endorsements, they’ll make a snap judgement. It’s in your best professional interests to present well on Skills. There are three ways to get Endorsed: (1) ask your network for them (2) endorse others and hope they return the favor or (3) sit back and wait for your connections to recognize your professional abilities. I’m not a fan of (3).
(3) CORPORATE LOGOS
Many LinkedIn users are not making the most of their employer brand nexus. Corporate Logos are expensive to create, worth a lot of money, cherished and instantly recognizable. So why aren’t you leveraging them? Here are (wait for it) 2 examples:
The first example is missing out on the “CBI” brand. The second one leverages it. The most common reasons why LinkedIn users don’t have logos on their Profile? They’ve added their Employer incorrectly or they added them before their Employer had a LinkedIn Company Page. It’s a really simple fix – just go back into your role, click edit and update/re-enter the Employer info. If your Employer has a Company Page, the Corporate Logo will be pulled over to your Profile when you click save.
(4) RICH MEDIA
Last year, LinkedIn gave all of its users the opportunity to place Rich Media on their Profile. Many LinkedIn users are not taking advantage of this feature either because they don’t understand what it is or how to add Rich Media. Have you got a presentation, video/audio file that makes you (your organization or your boss) look good? Impresses the heck out of everyone who has seen/heard it? Put it on your LinkedIn Profile (directly beneath your Summary, for maximum goodness). No technical ability/knowledge is required; if you can click, copy and paste, you’re able to add Rich Media to your Profile. Don’t just add the presentation and hope for the best though – think carefully about that crucial first slide, if it has tiny text, you should change it for something more visually appealing and click-worthy. 2 examples:
Which one would you not click?
(5) LINKEDIN PUBLISHER
Rich Media is good but being able to publish directly on LinkedIn is great. When your readers click on Rich Media, they only get a remnant and if they want to see the full article/presentation/video they need to click again to be taken to the external site where the Rich Media is stored. If you’re one of the 220m English speaking LinkedIn users to have been granted Publisher rights recently on LinkedIn, you can and should start to publish your thoughts, perspective and knowledge. LinkedIn Publisher is a terrific opportunity to blog without the usual hassles (setting up a domain, administering a site etc. etc.) and LinkedIn Publishers get another opportunity to engage their Profile browsers intellectually and visually.
Last point: having a visually compelling presence is important on LinkedIn but there are 21 other Sections on your Profile that you need to understand and decide whether/how to use. LinkedIn wants you to share as much professional data as possible, it’s the main reason they can charge Recruiters big bucks. If you don’t share data, by completing your LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn can make you invisible in search. I’ve written an article which explains how to complete your Profile: “Why You Should COMPLETE Your LinkedIn PROFILE”.
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By Andy Foote