When it comes to standing out on LinkedIn, you want to make sure to optimize your profile to grab people’s attention. There are many ways to do so, but when it comes to standing out quickly, images are usually the best way.
Both your profile picture and background picture will help you stand out in the sea of people that are active on LinkedIn. When people discover your profile, you have less than a second to grab their attention with your background image. And, unlike your profile picture - which should just be a picture of you - your LinkedIn background can be whatever you want it to be.
What is a LinkedIn Background Photo?
The LinkedIn background is the image behind your profile picture. This picture is shown in every LinkedIn environment, including the mobile browser and LinkedIn mobile apps.
The custom background can be used by uploading your own image, both for your personal profile as well as the company profile. This picture is especially powerful when you use it to reinforce your personal beliefs and the unique selling points of your brand, or even to spread awareness of new deals your company is currently running.
Sadly, most people don’t fully utilize this, even though a good LinkedIn background can make a big difference when people see your profile page. There are many best practices for LinkedIn, and in this article, we will look at the best practices for your background photo.
Below we will cover:
A message to use in your cover photo
Promoting limited offers
Using the right image for your background
How to design your background photo
The dimensions of the LinkedIn cover photo
A Good Cover Photo Starts With a Message
A good LinkedIn background shows what you’re offering in less than a second. You can compare it to coming up with a good subject for your emails.
Because you can create a custom image (which can be more than just a stock photo), you can show your preferred message to anyone. People that visit your profile and see your cover photo can instantly see the message. These can be the people you find through the LinkedIn Email Finder or ones you want to connect with by using LinkedIn automation tools.
The best LinkedIn cover photos showcase important information that you want your visitors to know. A good background can draw them towards your website, or the specific landing pages to which you link on your LinkedIn profile.
Below we will talk about:
Thinking about your target audience
Promoting limited offers
Using the right fonts
By using a captivating message in your background, you can increase the likelihood that people will scroll down on your profile and check out your company. This, of course, means that you should also provide enough information in the company box on LinkedIn, including a link to your website or landing page. By making it easy for visitors to click on your website link, you boost the number of visitors to your pages.
You should see your message as a short pitch: what’s the best way to describe your company’s product or service in a single sentence? What kind of problems does your product or service fix for your users? By summarizing the benefits of your company in this short message, your profile visitors are much more likely to check out what you have to offer.
Mention the Audience That Uses Your Product or Service
Part of the message in the image should be dedicated to the audience that will be most interested in your product or service. This, obviously, will be the target audience that is currently using your product or service.
For example, if you want to attract more CTOs to your product or service, you could write something like “The perfect solution for CTOs to solve X, Y, and Z” - X, Y, and Z being the problems that your product or service fixes.
In the end, the message will help increase the likelihood of people within that target audience to check out your website. From there, it will also be more likely that this traffic will convert in registered users/free trials/etc. Also make sure that the rest of the page is optimized according to selling your product or service, such as using LinkedIn Recommendations, where your connections can write great things about you and your product/service.
It might take a bit of time before you know exactly what to write as your message but it will be worth the time you invest in it. This is because, from there on, every person that visits your profile will see what you offer and they can then be turned into a user or customer.
For example, if you use LinkedIn automation tools to visit profiles within your target audience automatically, people will get notified that you’ve visited their profile. They will then check your profile, see your LinkedIn background, and visit your website without you even having to send them a connection request. The best LinkedIn profiles can turn profile visitors into website visitors.
Use the Right Font in Your LinkedIn Background Image
When it comes to text in your background image, you want to make sure that it looks like the text you use on your website. There’s no use for playful fonts when your company uses professional ones on the site.
Your corporate identity is not only essential on the website, but it is also important on LinkedIn. When it comes to the font, you also want to make sure the colors of your font can be read. Don’t use a gray font on a black background because it will be hard for visitors to see the text.
Use LinkedIn Background to Promote Limited Offers
Are you currently running a limited offer such as a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal? You can use the message in your LinkedIn cover photo to promote your exclusive offer.
Using discount codes in your background photo will entice people to check out your website and potentially sign up using that discount code. This is also useful when you’re running longer campaigns, such as summer deals or exclusive Christmas deals. Because your LinkedIn background is very easy to replace, you can use many different types of promotional text elements.
Use the Right Background Image
Aside from grabbing your visitors’ attention by using the right message, your cover photo should also look good. A simple white background with some text on it may look like the best option because it’s easy to make, but it doesn’t help you match your LinkedIn profile with your company.
It’s like assembling a PowerPoint presentation solely containing text. It may be done in the blink of an eye, but it will not help you to get closer to your goal: making sure people understand who you are, what you do and how you can help them.
Just like a good presentation is more than just text, a good LinkedIn cover photo is also about the additional elements that make it look exciting. A good image, whether it’s a picture of your company, your brand colors, or even a vector related to your solution will get more attention than a white background with text.
Types of images you could use for your background cover are:
Professional stock photos
Photos taken by your photographer
Animations designed by your team
With LinkedIn, you can pretty much use any image as your background, but there are several rules and elements you need to pay attention to. First of all, because LinkedIn is a network for professionals, anything that can be considered NSFW (Not Safe For Work) is a no-go.
An image containing multiple different colors can be challenging to transform into a good picture with text overlay. You might have to change the colors of the font with every word to make it legible. One way to fix this problem is to adjust the opacity of the image or to create a colored overlay. By using a blue tint on your pictures, you are more likely to have white text pop out so that your visitors have no trouble reading it.
Using stock photos as a background for your LinkedIn photo cover can be extremely useful. You can use professional stock photos to stand out, or pick one of the millions of royalty-free pictures you can find around the web. Pay attention to the look and feel of the picture. If you are selling software, a picture of a computer will be more relevant than when you’re selling products that aren’t related to electronics whatsoever.
However, you don’t always need to use a stock photo. You could also use a picture of yourself as the background image. You could even use the background that you cut out of your profile picture to make a nice full image that looks look one big picture. For example, if your profile picture is you in front of your company’s office, you can use the top part of the picture for your LinkedIn cover photo. This creates a unique profile, as not many people on LinkedIn use this type of picture combination. You can then use text overlay to write the message on this cover photo.
Use Brand Colors in Your LinkedIn Cover Photo
Another great way to promote your service or product to profile visitors is to use your brand colors to create a beautiful background that emphasizes the text. You can even include the company logo for brand awareness, to make sure that visitors start recognizing your logo around the Internet.
All these small tweaks will eventually pay off. A visitor might not initially visit your website when they see your LinkedIn background photo, but the next time they see your logo somewhere they will most likely recognize it.
Increasing brand awareness is very important, no matter where you advertise. The free organic brand awareness you get through your LinkedIn cover photo can help expand the recognition of your brand.
The Best Places to Find Best LinkedIn Background Photos
Further on in this article, we will cover how to create the perfect LinkedIn background photo from scratch. First, we’ll describe where to find the right cover photos when creating your LinkedIn background. We’ll discuss:
Stock photo websites
Free photo websites
The Internet is full of pictures, but just like with any other brand-driven image, you should be careful about which visuals you use in the cover photo. Not every image you find on Google is actually free to use - most aren’t. But, there are a ton of sources - both free and paid - where you can find the right photos to use as a background for your LinkedIn cover.
Paid Platforms to Find LinkedIn Background Photos
Websites like Shutterstock allow you to buy images that you can then use to create a LinkedIn cover photo.
You might want to avoid pictures that look a lot like stock photos, though. Most stock photos are very well known on the Internet, which will make your cover look low-effort. The overused pictures of customer service personnel smiling or seniors sitting in chairs behind computers should be avoided when creating a LinkedIn cover photo. You want to use an image that you haven’t seen before that can emphasize what your company offers.
Most stock photo websites offer pictures for around $10 each. Pay attention to whether you can edit the photo or not. Some images do not come with editing rights even after purchasing, which means you aren’t allowed to change them in any way.
You should also pay attention to whether the owner of the photograph allows social media use. Although this isn't a common problem, there are some restrictions when it comes to using these kinds of images on social media.
Some websites to check for paid stock photos:
5 Images for $50 ($10 each)
3 Images for $27 ($9 each)
5 Images for $39 ($7.80 each)
25 Images for $29 ($1.16 each)
11 Images for $17 ($1.55 each)
Free Platforms to Find LinkedIn Background Images
Another option for finding great images for your LinkedIn cover is to use platforms that offer a collection of royalty-free images. As with paid stock photos, you should always pay attention to the guidelines of the picture. Some photographers do not appreciate it when you edit their photographs, so make sure you look for ones that you have permission to edit.
Most photographers will allow the use of their images on social media. However, you need to read the guidelines, as some will want you to include attribution when you use their photos. This means that you need to add a link to the photographer’s website in order to use the image for free. Though this might seem like a great deal, you should also consider whether this will look professional on your LinkedIn profile.
Some websites to check for royalty-free LinkedIn background photos:
Total available pictures
Using Company Pictures to Create a LinkedIn Cover
You can also use your company pictures for your LinkedIn cover photo. Always clarify with the photographer whether you are allowed to use the image on social media without adding attribution and whether you have permission to edit the picture.
Most photographers are fine with any editing because you have purchased the image, but a small portion will not allow you to do so. Therefore, make sure to contact your photographer before using any photos that are currently in your company picture folder.
The Right Dimensions for Your LinkedIn Cover Photo
Linkedin uses specific dimensions for cover photos. When you’re uploading your image, you are actually allowed to upload a photo bigger than these dimensions. This is because you can then move the image up or down in order to create the right height for your message. Because of this, it’s a bit easier to make sure that the text on your image can be easily read by whoever is visiting your profile page.
The actual dimensions for a LinkedIn cover photo are 1584px x 396px. But, if you make your image a bit bigger (like 1584px x 600px), you can avoid having to create a better image once you’ve posted it because the text doesn’t align properly. When updating the larger image, you can drag the image up or down to show your preferred message in the center of the cover section.
How to Design the Best LinkedIn Backgrounds
There are several ways of creating a LinkedIn cover photo. You will need the following before you start designing one:
An image editor
Your chosen message
A background image
Depending on the image you are using, you might also want to pay attention to adding a colored tint to make the text more legible (Optional).
Because we’ve already covered the last three requirements, we will now dive into the image editor. There are several options when it comes to designing your LinkedIn cover photo. You want to use an image editor that allows customizations. For example, MS Paint usually isn’t the right choice, as the customizations are very limited and it’s hard to create the perfect LinkedIn background with it.
Instead, you can use Photoshop to create an image with the mentioned dimensions and then import the image onto your LinkedIn profile. Then, align it with the background, add a tint to make the text more legible, and then paste the message as a text overlay. Save the file as a .jpg or .png file, which can be instantly uploaded to LinkedIn. If you’re not able to run Photoshop on your computer, you might want to look at the following alternatives:
Free to use forever, stock photos are $1 each
Free to use for up to 10 images a month
Free to use
Free to use forever, stock photos are $0.99 each
Free to use for 7 days, $12.99 a month afterward
If you’re not a great designer, it might also be useful to ask someone from your team to design your LinkedIn cover photo for you. This will ensure that it corresponds with your brand colors. Brand images are always tricky, including the LinkedIn cover photo, so you want to make sure that it makes sense, it looks professional.
How to Upload Your LinkedIn Background
Once you are done designing your new LinkedIn cover photo, you can upload it. Follow these steps to upload your background in less than a minute:
Head over to LinkedIn.com
Click on your profile picture in the top menu
Click ‘Show Profile’
Click the blue pencil on the right side of the top element on your profile page
You will now see a new screen pop-up
Click the smaller blue pencil (with a white circle) in your cover photo element
A File Upload screen will pop up
Look for the image on your computer
Click ‘Upload’ once you find the image
Now drag the image up or down to align the text in the image
Your profile page will then reload, and you’ll see your new cover photo
Simplicity is Key
The core aspect of a good LinkedIn cover photo is to make sure the information in the image is clear to the visitor. Crafting a sharp but short message takes some time. Selecting the perfect image that isn't too busy with details also takes a while.
But it’s important to spend enough time on your image to fulfill these requirements, as it will bring the best results to your entire campaign. Whether you are just optimizing it for anyone that might visit your profile through one of your LinkedIn articles, or using automation tools to visit lots of different profiles from your target audience, it’s important to use the right image.
Take your time to brainstorm some ideas in order to create the perfect message - maybe even ask your colleagues to help you come up with the right message. Then repeat this process for the image.