This full interview originally aired as a video hangout in our student group, Social Media Pro Connect, via Zoom and Facebook Live. Our weekly hangouts are part of our student's on-going social media education.
Meet Kate Paine!
Kate Paine is the founder and CEO of Standing Out Online. She helps executives and entrepreneurs stand out online so they become a recognized authority in their marketplace and a respected asset to their company and clients. She uses her journalism, marketing and PR background to tease out her clients’ compelling story and position themselves as an industry expert or thought leader both online and off.
Discovering an individual's personal story makes her expertise uncommon in the world of online personal promotion. She’s a LinkedIn expert and uses the tool as a powerful personal branding platform.
Kate also speaks at national marketing conferences about personal branding strategies and social media and teaches LinkedIn for corporate sales teams.
Here are the five questions we asked Kate during the original interview:
- Why and how can someone get a custom URL for their personal LinkedIn profile?
- Why are background banner images are critical on LinkedIn?
- How can we create a keyword optimized headline and ‘About' section?
- How do we leverage LinkedIn's Publishing platform?
- Can you share some contact info best practices?
While the full interviews with our weekly guest experts are available to Social Media Pro students only, each week we select one question with an awesome answer to share with you! If you are interested to learn the answers to the rest of the questions, we invite you to check out Social Media Pro, and join our student group! Never miss another hangout or guest expert.
Everything You Need To Know About LinkedIn Banners
“Kate, when we first chatted, you said LinkedIn background banners are critical. As a social media manager, I have struggled to decide what to put on mine. I've changed mine ten times. How can we advise a client if we don't know what should be on our background banner? Can you talk about that a little bit?”
It's another one of those things that sort of seem obvious but people don't know what to do with this banner.
LinkedIn doesn't make it easy to create a background banner. They tell you that you need one, they tell you the specs but then they don't tell you what do you use for a tool to create one. Just putting a photo up without any context doesn't really do anything for your profile. Unfortunately, that's what a lot of people will do. They don't want that blue, that ugly blue background with the little white lines in it. If they put a photo up, often they put a random photo up of like the ocean.
Ask yourself; what does that have to do with them and their business?
A LinkedIn Background Banner Image is Critical
My personal background banner is an image of myself, speaking.
I paid attention to the graphic look when I picked it; this image is visually pleasing. The specs for the LinkedIn banner image are 1,584 x 396 pixels.
Since LinkedIn is pretty much all text, you should pick a really great visual aesthetically pleasing image. There's not a lot of visual aesthetics on LinkedIn. This is an opportunity for you; think of this as a billboard but in the best sense. Don't just put it up, make sure you add information to the image that gives people a place to go to find you. I use a tool like Canva to add text.
This is what a lot of people don't realize.
People who are beyond your second-level connections on LinkedIn cannot see your contact information
If they click on contact info, they can't actually see your email or your website. That's a new security feature that LinkedIn has incorporated.
Therefore, I always advise people; if you're going to do something, overlay your logo, overlay what you do.
This can be as simple as
- a tagline
- phone number
Create that banner, so that if a new potential connection wants to find you, you're making it user-friendly for them to find you in another way. That is by far the biggest reason why you need to have a background banner image.
Of course, this also makes you look like a savvy user.
last but not least, why not use that big space where you can, because it shows up on mobile as well as on a desktop.
Your LinkedIn Banner on the LinkedIn Mobile App
As of only just a few months ago, your profile photo was in the middle of this banner on mobile. It's on the left as of now as is it on desktop, which makes it a bit easier to adjust.
On mobile, make sure you can read the text you've added to the banner image.
LinkedIn Pro Tip: More Visibility Means More Connections
While the interview with Kate Paine went on to other topics, we want to stress the importance of having your contact information visible to everyone who uses LinkedIn.
Since it is not a given that all of your profile information can be viewed publically by anyone, it's important to put pertinent information on that banner. Much like the Facebook banner, a blog header or a Twitter header, updating this banner frequently and appropriately gives you an extra opportunity to connect.
Cheers to more LinkedIn connections for everyone.
Just for kicks, here is Kate's LinkedIn profile, with her banner!
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.