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Put Your Best Face Forward - 4/23/2014 -

Stephanie Sammons
Meet Stephanie Sammons, a digital business strategy and marketing advisor and founder of Wired Advisor, LLC. Sammons teaches professionals how to build online influence in todayís wired world and has been called "one of the top 25 social media experts you must knowĒ by LinkedIn. Here, she gives some tips about how to select your LinkedIn photo.

Q: Do most people do a decent job of creating their online persona on LinkedIn?

Sammons: I come across poor quality profile images on LinkedIn all the time. Iíve seen profiles with no headshot image to a logo as a profile image, and everything in between.

Q: Why do you put so much emphasis on a LinkedIn photo?

Sammons: Your LinkedIn profile image sets the stage for trust and likability. It follows you around throughout the entire network. When you post a status update, itís there. When you like, share, or comment on LinkedIn, itís there. When you participate in group discussions or send personalized messages, your profile image is there.

Your LinkedIn profile is potentially going to be a first stop for someone who is trying to learn more about you via a Google search. It is a very important digital reputation asset. Within LinkedIn, profile views are one of the top member activities.

Also, your profile image is an opportunity to make an emotional connection with someone who finds you on LinkedIn. If your image is outdated or low quality, it probably will not help you make that human connection.

Q: What are some dos and doníts for your LinkedIn profile image?

Sammons: Snapshots, cropped images, or logos also donít make for professional profile images. And if your image is missing, you will have absolutely no credibility on LinkedIn.

A high-quality profile image should be taken by a professional photographer in a studio. It should be your head and some shouldersónot your full body. Look straight ahead, making eye contact. The image background should contrast nicely with what youíre wearing, and you should have a pleasant look on your face that is welcoming and personable.

Q: How often should you update your image?

Sammons: Iíve found the two-year mark to be a good timeframe to refresh my profile image. If you leave the same profile image out there for five years or more, you may not be recognizable in person. Your profile image needs to look as close as possible to the way you look today. You want for people to recognize you, especially when you meet them in person.

Call me a stickler, but your profile image is something that can make or break you on LinkedIn.


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