Finding Human Connection in Digital Marketing
How would you rate the success of your LinkedIn strategy? I think it's fair to assume most people's answer to that would be along the lines of "I don't have a strategy for LinkedIn." Whether you're happily employed, looking to hire, or trying to find clients - there is a good chance you could benefit from having a thoughtful approach to using this social network. And you can be your authentic self while doing it!
Recently, our CEO sat down with a LinkedIn strategist who helps others use the platform in a way that works for them to increase their visibility and brand awareness. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how to authentically bring in sales on LinkedIn from the expertise of Sarah Santacrose, founder of The Gentle Business Revolution!
A Little More About Sarah
Sarah is an internationally recognized LinkedIn Specialist and Online Presence Mentor who has personally coached over 1,900 entrepreneurs. She helps them position themselves as experts on LinkedIn so they get clients with ease.
She helps introverts market their business authentically and anxiety-free, sell their services and make a difference. She also the founder of The Gentle Business Revolution and host of the podcast with the same name. When she’s not working, she loves adventure & traveling, yoga & nature walks or hanging out with her family. Find out more about her on her website www.sarahsantacroce.com !
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: Can you tell us a little bit more about what and how you got to where you are today?
Answer: I started, actually, when I was over where you are in California because my husband got a job transfer back in 2006, and so I had to resign from my day job and move kids and house and everything over there. After about a year or so, once the kids were settled at school, I'm like, so what am I doing now? I wasn't the typical stay-at-home mom, that just didn't fit my personality. So I started my own business and going into social media in general and that was kind of back then, that was the big buzz and everybody was talking about it. I went into Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, back then, those were the main three. And slowly, as entrepreneurs, as you probably know, we keep pivoting, we keep adopting to the market and so eventually, after coming back to Switzerland in 2010, I then specialized on LinkedIn because I saw a need for the type of clients that I wanted to work with. That was the first thing.
I only realized after a few years that it also had to do with my introversion because LinkedIn is a very good platform actually for introverts because we don't need to constantly share about our personal life so much as we do maybe on Facebook or Instagram. It was mainly a business choice but in the end, I realized, hmm, might've been also a personal choice.
LinkedIn is such an important platform. I would say it has evolved also over the years. Right now, since Gary Vaynerchuk is talking about LinkedIn so much and there's kind of other people who are like, "Oh, LinkedIn is actually maybe something to pay attention to," it's gotten a bit more attention, but yeah, two, three years ago or even earlier than that, people were like, "Really? LinkedIn? That's not even part of the social platforms," but it definitely is.
For anybody who's in the service business, or works with other service providers, or works with corporate decision makers - this is definitely a platform to pay attention to because that's where people are in the business mindset and a place where they make business decisions. Compared to Facebook or Instagram where yes, obviously, it's good to have a presence and create awareness, but it's not necessarily where people make the business decisions.
Question: LinkedIn is more like an interactive resume almost for you, for your profile, right? Because you're going back in your job history and you're listing those jobs and I don't even know, you can tell us, how far back you should go, but you're also bringing in articles that you've written, you're bringing in content you've written so that people can dive in and learn more about you straight from that profile page, right?
Answer: Exactly. It is like a mini website. Nowadays a lot of people have their own website, but I've had clients that were towards the end of their career and they're like, "I have a big reputation. I have a been big network on LinkedIn. I don't need a website." I'm like, "Yeah, you don't, I guess, because you have the authority already, you can just use the LinkedIn profile." So, yeah, it's all in there.
To answer your question about how far back should you go? It's interesting because I work with a lot of coaches or consultants who are maybe in their second career, right? They left corporate America and they're like, "I'm going to be a coach, a consultant." Oftentimes, maybe also because they had a bad experience before, they're like, "Oh, I don't want to even mention that past life anymore." But I always tell them that our past also defines us. I mean, these past experiences are also what you're bringing to the table. You just need to reframe it.
It you've worked in a hospital, for example, but you don't really want to mention that, well, just reframe it and rewrite that text, so what comes out is the fact that you're caring for people and that you have a lot of empathy. LinkedIn gives us this template and we feel like we have to put in a job description but we don't. We can make up the text. So rather than just saying, "I was a nurse and this is my job description," use that free text so that people understand why you're doing what you're doing today. Because otherwise, if I come to you and you're now an executive coach, in your past life, you were a chef, I'm like, I don't get it. What happened here? You can actually explain that in your LinkedIn profile and just use free text to answer these questions.
Question: How else do you work with people to craft and create this LinkedIn atmosphere that is going to help them grow?
Answer: It's a lot about the content because that's where people mostly struggle with. They will say "Well, what kind of content do I put out there that is attractive but also helps me build that trust and is not too salesy?" A lot of the time, we kind of spend some time to really craft those content types that work well. The clients usually come from, maybe they have a blog or maybe they're usually active on Facebook and other of these platforms and they're just completely lost when it comes to LinkedIn.
Let's start with the smaller companies, when I talk to a company, it usually involves all the different departments because the marketing department is just the one that's posting but the interesting content actually comes from the different departments. For example, research or publishing or whatever it might be. There needs to be a communication between the marketing department and the other departments because otherwise, the marketing department, what will they do, well, they'll just post quotes or what they're posting on Instagram, and that's not what the LinkedIn user is interested in.
That's where a lot of the struggle actually is. It's, okay, how do we improve the communication within the departments? So that's for the companies. For the entrepreneurs, it's more like, okay, how do I create these posts that are different from a blog post, but they're not just, "Hey, here's my latest program." It's a lot about storytelling and understanding how to tell a story about past experiences, clients, whatever, in a concise way that demonstrates their expertise.
Question: Any other suggestions for our listeners on their LinkedIn profile, what they should be keeping in mind and how they're actually using LinkedIn?
Answer: I think it really comes back kind of what my bigger mission is - to bring more empathy and kindness to the business world and also bring the human connection back to marketing. I think that's what LinkedIn was lacking for so many years. That's why people are like, "I don't like it. I like Facebook much better," is because it was so sterile and people behaved differently on LinkedIn than they behaved on Facebook, for example. And not using that kind of human approach which is what people are interested in.
Entrepreneurs always ask "Should you have a LinkedIn business page? And how do you use it then to market your business?" Yes, you should still have a LinkedIn business page because it looks more professional to have one, but that's not how you engage with people on LinkedIn. People are not interested in your business if you are an entrepreneur, they are interested in connecting with you. So really make sure that you bring that into your profile and you bring that into all of the updates. You want them to really be able to tell who's behind this profile - you.
Check Out The Podcast!
Whether you're an introvert who wants advice on being authentic in business or just wanting to learn more about how to maximize your LinkedIn profile- you'll want to check out the full podcast. Sarah has so much to share!
Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year:
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