When was the last time you drove down the highway or walked through a busy downtown area and noticed an advertising billboard?
I bet you it wasn’t that long ago.
Billboards are everywhere, they’re on road sides, at bus stops, in airports and throughout subway stations.
Companies pay good money to advertise in these locations simply because they are high footfall areas.
Thousands of people walk or drive past these billboards every day, meaning those advertising campaigns generate a high volume of views and impressions.
It’s an effective brand-building strategy that often delivers high ROI.
What is a LinkedIn banner image?
I want you to think about your LinkedIn background, or LinkedIn banner image, as it’s often called, like a digital billboard.
It’s basically advertising space, exclusive advertising space that ‘brand YOU’ can use to tell the professional world how great you are!
Just take a moment to consider the numbers below, once you’ve digested the incredible reach that LinkedIn now has, you’ll hopefully begin to see just how powerful this piece of advertising real estate is.
When anyone visits your LinkedIn profile, your banner space is the first thing they see. It's featured prominently at the top of your profile and also shows up in other areas across LinkedIn, such as in 'suggested connections'.
How to add a LinkedIn banner
Before we dive straight into designing your LinkedIn banner image, let's briefly look at how to add a Linkedin background image to your profile.
Pull up your LinkedIn profile and I’ll talk you through it step-by-step.
Click on the ‘me’ icon that’s situated in the top right corner of your LinkedIn profile and select ‘view profile’ from the drop-down menu.
Click on the pen icon at the top right corner of the LinkedIn profile banner space.
Hit ‘change photo’ and select the file for your new LinkedIn profile photo and hit apply
If you want to make this as simple as possible, you could just find an image that you like, preferably one that at least has something to do with your industry or business, quickly upload it and move on with your life.
This is better than leaving the space blank, after all, there is nothing uglier than a bare billboard.
But I know that you’re reading this article because you want to harness the full potential of your LinkedIn profile, you want to supercharge your landing page and benefit from all that this platform has to offer hungry professionals and entrepreneurs.
So, with that in mind, I’m going to tell you how to create a unique and professional looking LinkedIn banner using the power of Canva.com
As well as being free of charge, Canva is one of the best tools for creating a LinkedIn background photo.
Canva offers pre-designed LinkedIn background image templates that make this process super easy and actually quite fun!
Firstly, click on ‘create a design’ on the top left of the screen
Now type 'LinkedIn banner' into the search bar and select the correct size
LinkedIn banner sizes
There are two LinkedIn background sizes to choose from
The size for a business LinkedIn banner is 2000 x 600 px
The size for a personal LinkedIn banner is 1584 x 396 px
In this article we're talking about designing a personal LinkedIn banner photo, and so we’re going to select the 1584 x 396 px option.
Having said that, the principles and process for creating and uploading a company LinkedIn banner image are fundamentally the same.
Selecting a LinkedIn banner design
Canva will now offer you a large selection of templates that can be personalised to best reflect the message that you want to send.
To narrow down your options, type your job title or industry sector into the search bar. This will bring up a list of designs that have been created with your job in mind, unless you’re a rocket engineer, Canva has yet to get their heads around that one.
I would advise adding a few of your favourite templates into your workspace and designing a few options and then picking the best for your profile.
If you are really serious about attracting the right attention on LinkedIn, try testing each of your LinkedIn banner image designs for a week or two at a time and see if you notice any difference in the number of people who connect with or reach out to you.
A/B testing is a standard practice in marketing and advertising and the same process will help you to optimise your profile to the full potential.
After all, the goal of creating an eye-catching LinkedIn banner is to generate more visits to your page.
What makes a good LinkedIn banner?
A great way to customise your banner is by including all or some of the following:
Including your name in a bold font is a great way to stand out and be memorable, however, this it isn’t essential as you name will already be on your LinkedIn profile.
Job title or target job title
When recruitment consultants or HR professionals search LinkedIn for talent, they usually have a job title in mind, for example, Project Manager or Cloud Solutions Specialist. Including this on your banner will instantly reassure the searcher that they may have found the right person!
Similar to the above, a recruiter or hiring manager will be looking for people with specific skills, listing 3-4 skills prominently on your LinkedIn banner will quickly catch the viewers' attention and will help re-enforce key messages.
How you can help
A statement about how you help companies or clients to achieve their goals is a very powerful advertising strategy. It can be as simple as “opening new markets for growing luxury brands” or, “designing logos for ambitious start-ups” or “customer intelligence for growing brands.” Use your LinkedIn banner photo to tell companies and clients exactly what you do and how it can benefit them.
If you’re not sure how to articulate this, consider using the following format – “I help X achieve Y by doing Z”
For example, “I help solo entrepreneurs grow their brands with cutting edge content marketing strategies”.
Add a call to action (CTA)
What action do you want people to take once your LinkedIn banner has grabbed their attention? Consider some of the following examples, “connect with me here”, “ask me how I can help”, “reach out to me”, “drop me an email”, “follow me”. Whatever it might be, think about how you can use your LinkedIn banner to generate more engagement.
Following on from the above, adding your email address and or telephone number sends the message that you are approachable and easy to connect with. This is a good strategy if you are trying to connect with recruiters or potential clients. Save people time by making your preferred method of contact clear and accessible.
Don’t over complicate your design. It’s tempting to get carried away with Canva and add in lots of exciting colours and elements, however, like a billboard, your LinkedIn banner image only has a split second to convey its message to the person scrolling past.
Start by working with 2-3 complimentary colours and no more. Your design needs to be eye-catching, so adding colour can be helpful, however, your LinkedIn background should look professional so try to resist being the next Damien Hurst.
Consider picking out some of the colours from your LinkedIn profile picture, or from your company logo so that the overall look and feel of your LinkedIn profile is cohesive.
Don’t use more than two fonts on your LinkedIn banner. Lots of different fonts can look messy and unprofessional and doesn’t reflect good design.
Ultimately, a great LinkedIn banner image is one that grabs people’s attention and communicates your message clearly.
To make sure that you design a LinkedIn background that will achieve these important goals, write down your answers to these two questions;
• Who’s attention do I want to get?
• What do I want to tell them?
If you are just beginning your job search or are starting to use LinkedIn to attract more customers and clients, sign up for a free trial of LinkedIn Premium and for the next 30-days track who’s looking at your profile.
As you track this, ask yourself these questions;
• Are the right people finding my profile?
• Are they responding to my CTA, are they reaching out to me, connecting with me, etc?
• Is my desired message hitting home?
Don’t forget about the location of your LinkedIn profile picture
One very important thing to remember when designing your LinkedIn banner is the position of your LinkedIn profile picture.
Your LinkedIn profile picture will take up some of the space on your LinkedIn background, so you’ll want to avoid situating important information where your profile picture might obscure it.
When viewed on a desktop, your LinkedIn banner and LinkedIn profile picture will look like this:
When viewed on the LinkedIn app, your LinkedIn banner and LinkedIn profile picture will look like this:
Moving your text to the right side of your LinkedIn banner will generally help you to avoid any issues.
You absolutely should upload a LinkedIn banner picture to your LinkedIn profile.
No other section of your LinkedIn profile is as eye-catching and powerful as this one. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words and this is as true of your LinkedIn background image as anything else!