This blog comes to us from Bob Lovely in our Kansas City office
We live in an era of high impact of social media in our daily lives, our careers and in our human relationships. Our use of social media defines us in the public domain. This definition then becomes our professional "brand" and our on-line identity. As such, we need to take great care of how we manage our on-line presence via information we share on social media such as value messages, talents, skills, data and past accomplishments. LinkedIn is the most popular venue for communication of these brand messages for professionals. Your "photo" can further define your brand message or detract from your brand credibility. This is why selection of the "right" photo to place in your LinkedIn profile becomes so critical to your on-line marketing and communications.
Your photo should accurately and favorably define you as professional, thoughtful, credible, friendly and approachable. Such a photo serves two very important purposes in your LinkedIn profile:
- Establishes and reinforces your career brand message
- Inspires further professional connections from colleagues, former colleagues, recruiters, search firms and prospective employers
If your photo is in conflict with your important brand messages your brand will be "diluted". Rather, your carefully created on-line brand messages need to be reinforced and strengthened by your photo. General guidance on creation and selection of the right photo for LinkedIn includes:
- Professional attire
- High resolution photography
- A neutral background
- Flattering photo composition
- Warm, friendly and approachable facial expression
We have all observed photos of connections on LinkedIn that do not reinforce or strengthen the brand messages listed in the profile. Photos that are taken in social situations and then later cropped often suffer from issues such as low resolution, poor lighting, inappropriate attire, distracted background and less than desirable photo composition. Cell phone photos are rarely appropriate for LinkedIn. A high quality photo can be taken professionally or at home with a high quality camera. For a home photo session, several photos should be taken based on the guidance listed above. Then, choose the photo that best defines, communicates, reinforces and strengthens your critical brand messages.
A high quality photographic image will change how you are visibly perceived by your targeted audiences. When you create the right "photo" which supports your brand keep it posted in your profile. Your connections will then come to know you and your brand based on the "consistency" of this carefully taken and selected brand driven message.
Please remember - your photo on LinkedIn "is" your brand!