It’s really important to have a custom background image on your LinkedIn profile today. It’s a free and easy way to brand yourself and because it takes up so much space on your profile, it is a place where you can be bold and stand out.

And most importantly, photos help tell stories – in this case your career story. This is prime career-building real estate. Use it or lose the opportunity to tell your story visually and set yourself apart from others.

Choosing a unique image is a great way to help you stand out from the crowd. Your background photo is a way to show off your brand and your personality. Your LinkedIn cover photo can help  connections and hiring managers get a sense of your personal brand and get to know you better.

So what should you post as your cover image? I use and create custom images with these ideas in mind:

  • Use a photo that represents your field
  • Use a picture of your city’s skyline
  • Use a photo of your company’s logo/branding
  • Use an image of something that represents your company
  • Use a picture of your professional community, clients or employees
  • Use a photo of your workspace
  • Use a quote that inspires you
  • Use an image of an award or accomplishment
  • Use an abstract image
  • Use a collage of images

The image I used with this post is my LinkedIn cover image. I used my Bitmoji in various poses to explain what I do – it’s meant to be a little quirky (like me) and visual. What works for someone else might not work for you but that’s okay. That’s what makes each of us unique.

As you probably already know, you cannot simply find the perfect photo on a Google image search, download it and add it as your cover photo. There are copyright and licensing laws against this, and in order to use these photos, you’d have to obtain permission and then provide credit to the sources. But there are plenty of free stock photo websites you can utilize to find the perfect image such as Unsplash and Pixabay.

Please make sure the image you use is right-sized – so 1584 width by 396 height pixels.

Your background photo appears behind your profile photo in the introduction section on your profile. If you don’t customize it, your photo will be a gray shadowy box.

To add a background photo:

  • Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  • Click View profile.
  • Click the Camera icon on the upper right corner of your introduction section.
  • Click Upload photo to select an image from your computer, and click Open.
  • Click Apply.
  • The photo will upload automatically.

To reposition, delete or change a background photo:

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Click View profile.
  3. Click on the background photo and choose one of the following options:
    • Reposition to drag and reposition the image (option available on the image itself).
    • Delete photo to remove the image.
    • Change photo to change the current background photo.

Try customizing your LinkedIn header image today –  a picture really is worth 1,000 words in this case.

I keep seeing people make the same mistakes on LinkedIn – don’t make these them too, which will guarantee no one will see your posts.

  • Don’t mass tag people in your posts, especially if they have nothing to do with your post. You may think it will help alert your connections about your post or spark conversation about it, but it has the opposite effect. It annoys them. They can then mark you as spam or unsubscribe from you.
  • Don’t overuse hashtags – this means don’t use more than 5 hashtags per post. If you do, LinkedIn will mark your post as spam. Have you ever seen a post with tons of hashtags get a lot of likes and engagement? Nope. Hashtags are meant to help categorize and bolster your posts but don’t abuse them.

Speaking of hashtags, always check the number of followers they have in the main search bar before you use them (too many or too few aren’t great). Always put hashtags at the end of the post – it makes it easier to read body copy.

Below is an example of what not to do with hashtags – there are too many, some are too general and they weren’t researched.

Hashtags and tagging are great tools to increase the visibility of your posts IF you use them right.

What else would you add?

Many people and businesses are forgetting one important thing when crafting their hashtags.

Hashtags are a great way to expand the reach of your company or brand. By adding hashtags to a post, you make your content discoverable and give other social media users the chance to engage with you on a common interest or theme.

But how can you make hashtags more accessible so that the people you reach can easily interpret them?

Use camel case.

What is camel case? It means capitalizing the first letter of each word of a phrase or a hashtag. So it’s the difference between using #SocialMedia instead of #socialmedia.

It is also used in words such as iPhone.

Its called camel case because capitalizing the words mimics the humps in a camel’s back – a clever visual.

Camel case is an important accessibility requirement for:

  • blind people
  • people with partial sight
  • dyslexic people

Screen readers can’t identify the individual words in a hashtag without camel case. This means your content will be inaccessible to users of screen readers.

To make your hashtags accessible, simply use upper camel case, so #LinkedinTips

Hashtags have the same number of followers whether you use camel case or not.

Camel case improves understanding and readability for everyone. I’m going to start using them and hope you will join me because it should be all about your audience – so make it easier for them to engage with your content with this easy step.


Michelle O’Driscoll has been in the legal marketing industry for more than 30 years, which means she’s pretty much seen and done it all.

As the Senior Business Development Manager at Sheppard Mullin LLP in San Francisco, Michelle is responsible for leading strategic practice group and industry team marketing initiatives to help lawyers increase their revenue and expand visibility.

In her bio, she calls herself “results-oriented, a connector and a “doer” and a critical member of any marketing SWAT team” which I think is clever and terrific.

Michelle previously worked in marketing roles for Bingham McCutchen, Sedgwick and Heller Ehrman. She is the mother of identical twin sons and co-authored the popular book “Play Around the Bay: A Guide to Bay Area Outings for Families with Young Children,” first published in 1999.

Learn more about her in this Women Who Wow profile.

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There are so many reasons to use social media and if you are going to do so, it’s important to create a social media strategy for your organization whether it is large or small. I suggest keeping your strategy simple and focused.

What you don’t want to do is haphazardly start posting content. Having a strategy and plan is essential and will make you more efficient.

Here is a quick checklist for how social media can benefit and help your organization that I hope inspires you.

A social media strategy can:

  1. Increase brand awareness
  2. Generate leads and sales
  3. Grow your brand’s audience
  4. Reinforce buying decisions
  5. Enable you to generate your own positive buzz about your employees and organization (think owned media versus earned media)
  6. Help with recruiting and retention efforts and highlight your company culture
  7. Improve your SEO results
  8. Drive traffic to your web site
  9. Help you stay top of mind with your clients and prospects
  10. Highlight your thought leadership content and enable you to showcase your expertise in various areas

The next Women Who Wows is Dallas-based Leigh Doyle. Leigh is a marketing, communications and business development leader with more than 18 years of experience in the healthcare technology, startup and legal industries.

Her passion for people and human development is evidenced both in her education and training and in her daily operations at Winstead PC, where she works closely with high growth industry groups and attorneys to design strategies and initiatives that accomplish business growth goals.

Leigh is a mom of five (!) and they range in age from 20 all the way to 5, a runner, a lifelong learner and is passionate about helping others achieve their goals.

Connect with Leigh on LinkedIn.

Continue Reading Women Who Wow: Leigh Doyle

“I should get more active on LinkedIn” is something I hear a lot.

And of course I believe this, but being active on LinkedIn is not just logging on and posting an update occasionally and then suddenly building a strong brand and tons of leads. That’s not how LinkedIn works.

Being successful on LinkedIn requires work and investing in yourself as a content creator/curator, being consistent and contributing in a meaningful way. But it takes time.

You never know what opportunities can be unlocked by using LinkedIn – a future job, a referral, a board opportunity, a committee appointment, an invite to speak on a panel or to write an article. Staying top of mind is key on LinkedIn. I built my entire brand and business on LinkedIn for the most part, and if I can do it, so can you!

LinkedIn’s algorithm also rewards those who consistently use the platform. You can’t just show up here every now and then and expect to be successful. Consistency is key as I said.

Invest in LinkedIn because it is the most important professional social media network. Contributing helpful content and storytelling is what creates awareness, and over time, quality content to your followers creates trust, which is how you build your brand on LinkedIn.

Keep showing up, post and share content of value, try different things (maybe video, image-based posts, storytelling, how-to posts), continue to build and cultivate your network and invest in yourself.

I often partner with Frank Ramos (who is in my opinion the lawyer with the most powerful lawyer on LinkedIn). I will share his words of wisdom from time to time on the blog, including a post he made today on LinkedIn do’s and don’ts that very much resonated with me.

Frank said, “Do like, share, and comment on others’ posts.

Don’t hijack another’s post to promote your service or product.

Do add to the conversation by making thoughtful comments.

Don’t jump to conclusions or misconstrue a post based on a subjective or narrow view of the post.

Don’t argue, or pick a fight on someone else’s post.

Don’t be surprised if someone deletes your comment, or even blocks you because they feel your comment steps out of bounds. Yes, it is entirely subjective to the member to block someone. That’s his or her prerogative. It was your prerogative to comment on his/her post and possibly upset him/her. It’s his/her prerogative to block you.

What’s my policy? If I have a strong opinion about something, like for example blocking someone, I share it on my post, not someone else’s. My post is not an invitation to argue with other members. I’ve never had a member block or get aggravated with me because I don’t start fights on their posts.

Do you want to argue on social media? That’s what Twitter is for. Even Facebook. Not LinkedIn. If you really feel strongly about a post, DM the person and share your opinions that way, if you must.”

I couldn’t agree more with Frank after having had some negative comments made on my posts. Remember when your mother told you that if you have nothing nice to say you should say nothing at all? That should always be your rule of thumb on social media, especially when it comes to business social media such as LinkedIn. Remember this is your professional brand.

Laura Frederick is a commercial contracts attorney with 25 years of experience at international law firms like Morrison & Foerster and cutting edge companies like Tesla.

She is the Managing Attorney at Laura Frederick Law PLLC, a boutique law firm in Austin, Texas that helps sophisticated businesses with their vendor contracts. She also is the Founder and President of How to Contract, a training and skills platform for lawyers and professionals to learn how we draft and negotiate contracts in the real world. How to Contract features a robust community of 240+ contract enthusiasts in the How to Contract Network. Laura posts daily practical contract tips on LinkedIn (you can follow her here).

Last year, she published Practical Tips on How to Contract, a best-selling book full of practical drafting and negotiating contract techniques and tactics in her book.

I met Laura on LinkedIn (of course!) – and I love her voice on LinkedIn and her uniqueness on the platform. She really does stand out in the sea of sameness with so many lawyers. Learn more about her in this Women Who Wow profile.

Continue Reading Women Who Wow: Laura Frederick

Here are four ways that I’ve achieved success on social media (the Cliffs Notes: being authentic, being responsive, adding value and consistently engaging)

  1. Be Authentic – we’re drawn to people who are open and honest, share their true selves and admit their flaws. Tell stories when you can. This has been my #1 key to building my brand on LinkedIn.
  2. Be Responsive – When you respond to and acknowledge others, you build stronger relationships. You also improve the visibility of your posts with every comment you make. In addition, sharing others’ content and insights also builds strong relationships and increases the likelihood that they will share your content too.
  3. Add Value – When you provide valuable tips, insights and links to your social media networks, you demonstrate your expertise and credibility, and build your reputation as a resource. When you consistently provide great content over time, you won’t need to advertise how great you are, because the community you have built will do it for you.

    Consistency is different for everyone – for me it’s once a day but for others, it can mean once every few days or three times a week. The LinkedIn algorithm rewards those who post often – so that’s a major benefit of posting more plus it also helps you build your brand. PS – Don’t worry about posting too much on LinkedIn. You can’t spam people. Just don’t post more than once a day.

  4. Engage – You’re active and present on the social media networks you have chosen to build. You consistently post and share helpful, value-added content.

What else would you add to this list?