LinkedIn has become the holy grail of professional branding. Think of your LinkedIn page as your own personal website, designed to attract high-paying companies. With that in mind, are you maximizing the branding potential to generate as many eyeballs as possible?
Here are three easy tips for elevating your LinkedIn branding:
1. Customize Your Banner
You know that generic blue rectangle behind the circle with your face on it? That’s a critical touchpoint that helps communicate who you are as a professional, and the value you bring. Companies like Canva make it easy even for non-designers to create professional background images that really make your profile stand out.
Whether you highlight your industry (like choosing a skyline of buildings if you’re in commercial real estate), display your pedigree by including logos of recognizable companies you’ve worked with or even writing a short tagline for your business such as, “The Power to Change the Way Working Works,” you have an opportunity to control your professional image and choose what is most important to communicate to your viewer.
Here’s my customized banner:
2. Add Strategic Emojis to Your Headline
Your headline is the description of who you are and what you do, right below your name. It’s one of the first elements people look at when they go to your LinkedIn profile, and it’s your opportunity to tell people who you are, what you do, and the value that you bring to the table.
Did you know that if you edit your LinkedIn headline in the LinkedIn app (not on the desktop, but through the phone app), you can add emojis and symbols to your LinkedIn headline?
Scientific research says that using emoji’s can make you appear friendlier, grow your popularity and even make you happier offline. In another study it was found that using emojis can actually help the reader to remember what you’ve written more easily.
It’s been scientifically proven that our brains process images far faster than text, and human beings are visual creatures. A creative image makes us stop and take notice when scrolling online.
Adding emojis–and I don’t mean hearts and teddy bears–I mean lightning bolts and light bulbs, squares and circles, anything creative – really helps your LinkedIn profile jump out. Here’s mine, for example:
Of course, in addition to catching people’s attention, you want to be seen as a professional and garner the respect of others in the process. One or two carefully selected emoji’s in your LinkedIn profile headline can be impactful.
3. Only Use a Professional Headshot (or fake one)
Your circle photo on LinkedIn should always be a professional headshot that captures the personality of your brand or you as a professional. Are you a communications consultant? Then warm and open is what you want the viewer to feel. Are you an investment banker focused on the industrial sector? Then traditional and trustworthy is the way to go. My work is the opposite of traditional, so you can see why I chose this image:
It’s your photo. You have control over what you want to communicate. Take advantage of that control.
Never–I mean never–should you use a cropped photo from a wedding, party or any other event. If you don’t have a professional photo, then trick the system by having someone take a photo of you in natural light using portrait mode on your phone. If you’re facing a large, sun-filled window and the camera is on portrait mode, you will gain a headshot that looks as close as possible to professional…and sometimes even better.
Why a Stand Out LinkedIn Profile Matters
I’m not suggesting these tactics simply to make your profile pretty or fun. You want to create a sharp and visually interesting profile to keep the viewer- your potential client- interested and engaged. An eye catching profile makes the viewer stop and stay, so you have a chance to get their eyes on you, your story, your expertise and your value. If you’re not optimizing your LinkedIn profile, frankly, you’re leaving money on the table.