LinkedIn’s New Look and Policies
Tips for Formatting Your Header Image and Taking Advantage of New Features
By Timothy S. Jacobson
~The Nonprofit Provocateur~
As of the summer of 2014, LinkedIn started rolling out a new look, first to its Premium customers and subsequently to users of the free service. LinkedIn users are being offered a chance to make the switch to the new layout, but apparently not all at once.
In the past (and, still for many, in the present), the top of one’s own LinkedIn profile provided no marketing opportunity other than the person’s headshot. Finally, LinkedIn is starting to catch up to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in terms of adding some space for visual creativity.
The header image spans the full width of a profile page. There’s an area that’s effectively 1400 pixels wide by 110 pixels high, together with sometimes available space on the sides that’s available for promoting whatever your personal brand is. Take advantage of this new opportunity at your earliest convenience!
I have created the following template to make your job much easier. If you use Photoshop or GIMP, use this template as the background image. Add your material layered on top, but lower the opacity of whatever image you throw on top to allow the template to be seen while adding text or other elements, so that you don’t inadvertently cut them off on the top or bottom margin or cover them with the profile picture, etc. Then when you’re done editing, raise the opacity of your background image to 100%, and turn off the view of the template layer. Save your header image as JPG, GIF, or PNG. Make sure your image is no larger than 4 MB in terms of the file size.
Unfortunately, you don’t get to use all 425 pixels of height. Thirty-five pixels on the top get covered by a gray bar and is not visible unless the viewer uses a mouse to drag down on the header image. In any event, create your image 425 pixels high. Confine text, logos, and photos of faces or other key elements to the green area in my template, for the most part. It’s also useful to use the yellow sections on each end, although those areas won’t be visible in some circumstances.
Here’s what the top of my LinkedIn profile looks like now with the new design:
Depending on how wide I make the browser window, various parts of the award trophies and words under them get covered up. If someone is really curious about what’s covered, they can vary the width of the browser back and forth to see the other parts of the image. I could have made the side images smaller to keep them from getting partially covered by the foreground material, but then I’d lose even more visual impact. Please note that I used a background image of clouds to match the motif of my www.visjonaer.com website.
Substantive Changes at LinkedIn
Who owns the content you post on LinkedIn? You do, and you always have, according to an e-mail sent by LinkedIn to its users in early October 2014. LinkedIn updated its User Agreement (effective 10/23/2014) purportedly to reinforce its commitment to respecting what's yours. Whether it's an update, photo, comment, post, presentation, portfolio, or anything else, LinkedIn asserts that they want to make it clear that you're in control of your content.
Here are some highlights from the changed user agreement:
- LinkedIn will always ask your permission before using your content in third-party ads, publications, or websites.
- You decide when your content goes. If you delete something from LinkedIn, they won't use it anymore.
- Share wherever or whenever you'd like. LinkedIn doesn't own or have exclusive rights to your content. It's yours, so feel free to repost it anywhere, however you want.
Also, now you can export your LinkedIn data, including updates you've shared, your activity, where or how you access LinkedIn, and more. Exporting your profile as a PDF is easy, and it provides a ready-made curriculum vitae.
Don't forget that you now have the opportunity to publish content on LinkedIn, too. Even if you're not an official LinkedIn Influencer, you can make your content visible. From the home screen, hover your cursor over the pencil icon in the "Share an update…" box, and it will say, "Create a Post." Click the icon, and you’ll be able to create and post blog articles rather than merely posting links to them. (The potential downside of this is that you may limit traffic you could otherwise drive to your website.)
Don’t neglect to use the digital marketing space provided to you for free by LinkedIn. You have a chance to create a billboard of sorts for all of your LinkedIn contacts to see. The template I’ve provided should make the work easier.
If you need a hand with this or other social media marketing, Visjonær Consulting can provide you with assistance. Whether the subject is copywriting, fundraising, marketing, video production, strategic planning, or organizational assessments, we can help. Contact Visjonær today for a free consultation.
Check out the author's website at www.visjonaer.com, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Visjonaer and find him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TimoJacobson
What are your LinkedIn success stories? What features would you like to see added? Share your stories!
Tim Jacobson, CEO of Visjonær Consulting, has served as a board member and executive of a variety of nonprofit and for-profit organizations over the past two decades. He's author of the book Explosive Marketing for Nonprofits: Trajectory for Success, to be released in 2014, the executive producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary film, Mysteries of the Driftless, broadcast on PBS, and author of Amazon best-selling thriller The Kurchatov Penetration. He has been featured dozens of times by TV and radio stations, magazines and newspapers for his organizational consulting, filmmaking, writing, conservation and legal work and for his exploration of international justice and peace issues.
This article is copyright (c) 2014, Timothy S. Jacobson. All rights reserved.