5 Ways Marketers Can Take Advantage of Their LinkedIn Background Photo

November 30, 2015

girl taking photo

Have you ever passed a blank billboard on the highway? You see them every now and then, billboards advertising nothing but white space for months at a time. As a marketer, it might make you twitch a little to see a missed opportunity for engagement.

Yet many marketers have a blank billboard right on their LinkedIn Profile – the background photo that displays above your name and headline. The photo takes up nearly a third of the “above-the-fold” real estate of your profile, so it is premium space for some strategic marketing.

Here’s how to use the background photo to amp up your LinkedIn marketing efforts, complete with examples from exceptionally savvy marketers.

Start with the Basics

Your profile background is a big space, and it needs a big image to fill it without looking pixelated. LinkedIn allows for dimensions between 1000 x 425 and 4000 x 4000 pixels. The maximum file size is 4MB, in either JPG, GIF, or PNG format.

It’s a good idea to get as close to the maximums as you can. If you go with a JPG, make sure to set the file compression as low as it will go for the best image quality.

Notice that the middle of the image will go behind your profile, like this:

alex hisaka header

So as you lay out the image, make sure there is not any crucial information where it won’t be seen.

Canva and Pixlr are powerful web-based tools you can use to set the dimensions of your image, add text, and combine images to get a professional-looking result.

Many LinkedIn members use stock photos, nature snapshots, or city skylines for the background image. But that space can do much more than show off your hometown. Here is how some top marketers make good use of their background image:

  1. Promoting Multiple Content Streams

jay baer header

Jay Baer packs a lot of information into a small space without making it look crowded. The image is designed to fit the space, and puts a powerful personal statement right up front. To the left and right are logos for Jay’s podcast, his website Convince&Convert, and a logo for his public speaking and coaching business. Even before you scroll down to his work experience and summary, you know exactly what Jay is about and what he’s doing.

  1. Making a Miniature Portfolio

Robert Rose Header

Robert Rose is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute. He puts the content front and center here, showcasing highlights from his content library. While every title isn’t fully visible, you can get a clear sense of Robert’s accomplishments, what he writes about, and how much content he’s helped create.

  1. Establishing Credibility

Kelsey Header

Fractl Partner Kelsey Libert uses her background photo to showcase the media outlets Fractl campaigns have been published on. Her image immediately establishes Fractl’s credibility in the content space. In this case, a picture is worth a thousand brands.

  1. Highlighting Thought Leadership

Jill Konrath Header

Author and keynote speaker Jill Konrath provides proof of her speaking credentials without making you scroll down to her job history. In this picture, she is presenting to a packed house at LinkedIn SalesConnect, with the banner overhead displaying one of her sales philosophy’s central tenets. It’s a quick way to encapsulate who she is, what she does, and what she believes.

Pam Didner Header

By contrast, Relentless Pursuit’s Pam Didner takes a more subtle approach. The picture of the coffee mug and book could be your average stock photo—but it’s Didner’s own book, Global Content Marketing, resting casually on the table.

  1. Personal Branding

Jason Miller Header

LinkedIn Marketing’s Jason Miller uses his background photo to express an interest that is secondary on the resume, but informs both his personal life and marketing philosophy. Jason puts his rock and roll cred front and center with a picture he took himself. You can get the details of his publications, blog posts, etc. further down in the profile, but the background photo tells you more about who Jason is as a person.

Along with your profile photo, your background photo is usually the first thing people notice when they look at your LinkedIn Profile. A carefully-chosen image can tell potential customers who you are, what you do, and what you’re about, all before they read a single line of text. Let the examples above inspire you to fill in your blank billboard with something useful, informative, or just plain cool.

For more tips to enhance your LinkedIn marketing efforts, download the Little Big Book of LinkedIn Advertising.

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