“Make Your LinkedIn Profile Talk To Your Audience”

An Interview with Sarah Santacroce

Sarah SantaCroce is a Switzerland born and bred LinkedIn expert who spent time living abroad in California where she mastered the art of social media networks. Now living back in Switzerland, Sarah was able to build on her experience to build her business and the LinkedIn expertise that she has today. Sarah works with introverted entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants, to help them establish systems, make worthwhile connections, generate leads and for them to create their own businesses using LinkedIn.

Sarah is offering free her LinkedIn invitation templates here:

01:47 –   How and Why Simplicity Started
04:57 –   Why is LinkedIn good for introverts?
09:00 –  The Benefit of a Virtual Team
10:44 – Why is LinkedIn the network of choice for business?
13:35 –  How to effectively brand yourself on LinkedIn
16:48 –  How to turn your LinkedIn profile into a sales tool
20:27 –  Are images and photos important for your LinkedIn profile?
22:06 –  How to generate leads on LInkedIn
25:08 –  Get these free LinkedIn invitation templates for best results
35:46 –  Publishing and text updates tips
35:04 – Are LinkedIn ads worth paying for?
37:12 – Top 3 tips for your LinkedIn profile
40:53 – The future of Simplicity
41:48 – Free templates that get accepted every time

Click to Read Full Transcript...

So, if you’re a consultant, coach or entrepreneur or you’ve got some kind of service-based business, you need to learn how to use LinkedIn properly. Not just to boost your personal brand but of course how to generate leads and my next guest today is Sarah SantaCroce is an expert on LinkedIn. So we’re kind of doing a Master Class episode today, Sarah is going to be talking all about how to use LinkedIn to generate business, how to use LinkedIn to boost your personal profile. She has personally coached and mentored over 1,800 coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs and she helps them to position themselves as experts on LinkedIn. Shows them how to find and express their unique voice and stand out as thought leaders. In addition to her LinkedIn expertise, Sarah is also known for helping fellow introverts build a platform and be visible and sell their services, so if you’re an introvert you want to pay attention to that! So using their introverted strengths so they can grow their business. Finally, it’s no coincidence her business is called, ‘Simplicity’, she is known for her simple no-nonsense swiss efficiency, mixed with a good dose of Californian ‘yes we can’ attitude. So, welcome to Sarah SantaCroce, let’s have a listen.  

Alex: Hi Sarah, welcome, lovely to have you on the show.

Sarah: Hi Alex, thanks so much for having me.

Alex: So, we’re going to be talking lots of fun things around LinkedIn and online personal presence and all of that. But, before we get into all of that I’d just love to hear just a little bit about your story, you know how did you get started with this business and more importantly you know, why?

How and Why Simplicity Started

Sarah: Okay. Well since you have an expat podcast, you know with the audience being expats maybe I’ll start there. Because I’m not an expat in Switzerland, I am actually Swiss born and raised, but I was an expat when we moved to California and that’s when I started my business. So, my husband had got a job transfer home, that usually happens, right? So I had to quit my job here, used to work at IMD International Management Business School and moved over there while the kids were still small, so you know California is a great place to have small kids, right, you’re always outside.

But, after about a year I’m like okay, well I’ve seen the stay at home kind of job, let’s see what I can do now and so that’s when I decided to come to build a location independent business and I really wanted to have something that I can take with me so I wasn’t, because we were not planning on staying in California, we actually had talked about moving to Singapore, you know how it is. In the end we moved back to Switzerland but I still wanted something that I can take with me and so that’s how I got into all of this.

In the beginning it was just social media in general, so not focused only on Linkedin and it was a great time to do that because it was in the middle of the social media boom in California. So it was in 2006, yes, 2006 until 2010 and so it was a great time to be there and just kind of learn how to use social media for my own business and that’s when I thought, ‘hmm if I can do that for my own business, having no budget, then I can also do that for other businesses’ and so that’s how I got into the whole social media stuff.

Alex: Then, I mean this whole idea of portable or location independent business is a huge topic, specifically for people who are international travelling around, it’s the ultimate business to have I guess, so has it come out the way you thought it would in that sense?

Sarah: Yes and no. So, first of all it wasn’t a big topic back when I started in 2006. People were still you know, it was still rather new, especially in Switzerland nobody had any clue what I was doing. So it was still rather the beginning of that; has it turned out the way I wanted? Yes, in the sense that I can work with people from all over the world and that I get to spend…we bought a house in Scilly which was kind of like a compromise to California, we can’t go back to California so we’re like well, we like the climate so we have our house in Scilly and I get to spend quite a few weeks there. But, we have kids and they have to go to school, so no, I’m not your typical digital nomad because, yes, I have a family and that counts for certain obligations.

Alex: Of course. Now there’s another side to you as well, which I found fascinating being from the same community, and that is this idea of working with introverts, tell us about, how did that start and why?

Why is LinkedIn good for introverts?

Sarah: Yes. Always knew that I was an introvert, I think in Europe it’s not as stigmatised as maybe in the US, but then when Susan Cain’s book came out called, ‘Quiet’ that’s when the big kind of movement started about introverts, right? So, people in the US were kind of more aware of the introvert/extrovert thing and I always got this question about LinkedIn. People ask me, ‘well why did you decide LinkedIn, why not Facebook or Instagram or Twitter?’ and I didn’t really know the answer until one day I realised that it’s actually the platform that most fits the introverted energy.

Because it’s business related I don’t have to share my personal life, I don’t have to pretend to be so interesting and having such a happening life, which kind of you have to if you want to be successful on Facebook, at least in my view that’s how you had to behave on Facebook. On LinkedIn it’s just no small talk, we’re there for business, it’s all very clear, it’s all very kind of yes, organised and that’s what I liked about LinkedIn.

So, I decided well you know I’ll bring that into my branding, so now I have my own podcast for introverts and yes, it really..at first I had them separately, so I was like, ‘oh I’m going to kind of hide the introvert side’ and do that on the side. But, now this year I brought it together, so it’s just me, Sarah the introvert, you know helping people with LinkedIn. I’m also developing some programs just for introverts in terms of how to do business and online business and all of that and that’s how that comes together.

Alex: That’s amazing, I never thought that that was the way you would think of LinkedIn, as being the actual perfect platform for introverts. It’s amazing, I just never thought of it like that. [Laugh]

Sarah: Yes, it’s funny and when I ask other people who are you know on LinkedIn and now obviously I seem to attract the same kind of people, introverts and you know and then I ask them, ‘so what is it that you like about LinkedIn?’ and they just, usually they don’t say I like this about LinkedIn, but they always say, ‘I hate Facebook because you have to always you know talk about your kids, or talk about what you did’. So, I’m like, ‘hmm okay’, so that’s how yes I started realising that.

Alex: So as you were setting-up the business, as you were again coming from California moving over back to Switzerland, did you come through particular struggles or difficulties?

Sarah: Huge yes, because Switzerland is like 10 years behind on the social media scene. So, when I came back in 2010 people were still kind of in the learning phase, they’re like, ‘social media what is that, what is it for?’ you know. They were on Facebook for personal reasons but no business what actually using it.

LinkedIn was the only platform where I got more interest, so that’s another reason why I decided okay I’ll focus on that platform. Because in the B2B market which is mainly my audience, that’s where I saw some interest, that they were getting it that you know this is a business professional social platform and so they saw interest in that.

So, yes I had to completely shift the focus of my business, I wanted to do strategy, I came here they’re like, ‘we don’t need strategy, we need to know how this works’. So I had to kind of change into training, and so that’s what I did in the early years, is just basically training companies and entrepreneurs how to actually use you know from the beginning still all the platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so, yes major shift.

Alex: Did you, you were doing this all on your own, must have been again, one of things for entrepreneurs is it’s very lonely sometimes, but did you get any help along the way?

The Benefit of a Virtual Team

Sarah: Early on I developed a virtual team. I was following mentors and other people in the US mainly and they always said you need to start with a team right away, even if that means just an hour or two per week or even per month. So, I always worked with virtual assistants right away, that doesn’t mean that they were making the decisions, they were just implementing and executing. So the whole decision making and you know creativity that was still all me and it still is to today. I mean I have my team, but they’re waiting for me to give them instructions.

Alex: Yes, that makes sense, yes absolutely and it’s, I’m starting to build a team as well now and getting people around me to support me, but you still need as well I suppose other people that can give input to your business in terms of helping you come up with best practices, or new ideas?

Sarah: Yes, masterminds are really helpful for that. There are a few here in Europe, but it’s mainly also in the US, there’s just much more options available than there are here. I think there are quite a few in the UK actually now that I think of it as well.

Alex: So let’s dive into LinkedIn then and I found a couple of interesting facts before we go on. First, is that they’re LinkedIn has about 500 million users today. I mean it’s not as big as Facebook, so in that sense why is it so special, is it because it’s very focused audience, very niched?

Sarah: Why is it so special, you mean why do I recommend it to businesses?

Alex: Yes, why is it if you like the network of choice for business I guess?

Why is LinkedIn the network of choice for business?

Sarah: Yes, it’s because its very focused and there’s not everybody who decides to spend time on LinkedIn. Where Facebook yes, you know most people are on Facebook but does it actually mean that you are going to convert the time you spend on Facebook into business? Some people are very successful but most of these businesses that are successfully they are somehow in the you know they might be product-based, or they might be event based. Or, they are usually not just business services, right? Like a consultant is not going to do very well on Facebook. So these are kind of like the small product or you know even services, but it’s always kind of this yes, don’t know how to describe it. But, it’s just a different kind of audience on Facebook than you would have on LinkedIn.

So, the typical LinkedIn user you know, the age already makes a difference, like you’re not typically on LinkedIn before you finish school or university. So, you’re on LinkedIn because you are looking for a job, you are employed so your decision maker in a corporate. Or, you’re a business owner or you know some kind of Board of Directors, so in terms of that already it’s very focused. The other thing, the statistics that we have show that the average income of LinkedIn user is obviously much higher than the average income of a user on Facebook, or you know Instagram.  

There’s a lot more happening of course on Instagram and a lot more engagement, but in the end do these people really have the money to invest in your services? They’ll have a hundred bucks, so if you’re selling a product that is hundred bucks, yes, you’ll get a lot of traction on there. But, if we’re talking ten thousand you know twenty thousand dollar mandates or contracts, then you’re not going to be very successful on Instagram.

Alex: They’re probably not in that state of mind when they’re on those networks versus LinkedIn?

Sarah: Exactly, yes that’s the other thing. People on LinkedIn, they are there for one reason and that’s business.

Alex: Yes.

Sarah: Yes.

Alex: So we’ve got these two sides that I wanted to talk about, one is and potentially other points as well. One is personal branding, and the other side is generating leads for your business. So maybe we just start with personal branding. So just take us through what are the aspects that we should be aware when we’re trying to brand ourselves effectively on LInkedIn?

How to effectively brand yourself on LinkedIn

Sarah: I think the first step is awareness, as always is to actually realise that people do check you out on your LinkedIn profile. Whether they you know go directly on LinkedIn, so they’re actually typing in your name on LinkedIn. Or, they’ve heard about you and then they go to Google, they type in your name into Google, all the roads lead back to your LinkedIn profile. Because on Google, unless you have a very common name that there’s like a hundred people with the same name, usually your name or your LinkedIn profile shows up in that first page of search results, because LinkedIn is very well indexed on Google.

Alex: Of course, someone is now going to search LinkedIn for Sarah SantaCroce of course. [Laugh]

Sarah: Yes, exactly. So, –

Alex: What are they going to find?

Sarah: What are they going find, yes? So, it’s really your first impression. Sometimes, depending on what kind of a website you have, if you’re not very strong with SEO your website might not even show up in the first page of search results. But your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn does the SEO job for you, so it’s really powerful the LinkedIn profile and so it really matters what people see there. Often times, since we’re you know talking to…are we mainly talking to entrepreneurs Alex? Or do you also –

Alex: Yes, I think so, I mean I think the people listening are mixture of people in corporate who are aspiring to become to make that shift into entrepreneurship. Or, those who have taken the plunge, or their partners, so it’s a mixture of corporate and entrepreneurs I guess.

Sarah: Yes, because it’s actually a very, very different thing, right? Whether you’re using LinkedIn in a corporate situation, where you’re basically representing your career, right? Your main goal if you’re in a corporate is to have a LinkedIn profile that represents your career, so that if you need to find a new job, well recruiters find you. Or, people in your network can refer you, so your main goal as a corporate person is to represent your career on LinkedIn.

Well, if you’re an entrepreneur, nobody cares so much about what you did in the past anymore. So, it’s not your career that you’re representing but it is your business, what you’re actually doing, what you’re helping people with today, that is much more important and that’s where I see a lot of new entrepreneurs, especially making that huge mistake. First of all, lacking the awareness that LinkedIn is actually a business tool and that their LinkedIn profile should be a sales page.

Then having a LinkedIn profile, so they have the awareness but they just don’t know what to do with it, and then their LinkedIn profile still looks like a corporate resume, instead of being this sales tool.

Alex: So, let’s say I’m you know, I’m an entrepreneur, a coach consultant, some sort of service-based business as your mentioned before. What should I be thinking about then in my profile, you know given that I want to make it into “a sales page” for my business. What do I need to be putting in there?

How to turn your LinkedIn profile into a sales tool

Sarah: So, your profile needs to talk to your audience first of all. So, have a look at your profile and think, ‘is this really speaking directly to my audience or am I still using kind of this format and layout and often you will recognise it with telegraphic style. Like these telegraphic phrases that just talk about achievements, and there’s a lot of numbers in there and I did this and I achieved that and your clients, that’s not what it’s really impressing them. What you want to use instead is a storytelling technique and really tell your story and talk about what it is you do today. So, that’s the second thing, talk to your audience and the second thing is talk about the present.

That’s a big shift for people who come from their corporate, because up until now they’re like ‘woah’ my career is what brought me here and so they talk a lot about all the you know previous achievements and nobody cares anymore at this point, you know?

Alex: Yes, I did this in the past, therefore I deserve your attention?

Sarah: Yes.

Alex: It’s not quite like that with entrepreneurs?

Sarah: No, no. You can have one paragraph that talks about your background. In there it’s really important to kind of bring in you know how what you did in the past serves you today, as an entrepreneur. So, you can create that bridge, because you know, yes, if somebody worked I don’t know 10 years at Coca Cola as a brand manager, well yes, that’s impressive but it’s not enough to just say that, so tell me how that now helps me as your client that experience that you had.

Alex: So, okay, recapping then. We need to talk with our potential clients, we need to think about what they might be interested in. Are we talking about the kind of problems that we’re solving, the solutions that we’re giving, is this how we do it, is that how we make the story come alive?

Sarah: Yes, basically we tell them what we do, we tell them who we work with, very important and that’s kind of scary also for new entrepreneurs. Because they’re like, ‘well, I hear this all the time while could be working with anybody’. Like yes, but that doesn’t help your ideal client, he would think, ‘well you know that’s not a good fit for me if this guy just works with anybody’.

So, be very specific about your target audience and tell the story in your LinkedIn profile who it is you work with, so people recognise themselves when they come to your LinkedIn profile. They’re like, ‘oh okay he gets me, he’s been where I’ve been’ or you know ‘he knows my market’ and so they feel more inclined to contact you because they feel like, oh he’s talking to me directly.

Alex: I mean I think that’s the problem not just on LinkedIn, but with entrepreneurs in general that they are afraid to be specific and niche down, they think they’re missing business and in actual fact it’s the opposite isn’t it? You actually will attract people who are specifically resonating with your image or your message.

Sarah: Right, yes.

Are images and photos important for your LinkedIn profile?

Alex: So, what about then, so telling a story, we’re talking about in our profile who we’re working with, what we do. A little bit of credentials as well at the bottom you said, what imagery? Is there a place for what about photos and so forth, how important is that as part of your profile?

Sarah: Yes, I would say it’s less important but it does make you know it’s kind of the final touches. So, you can now use media, so images, you can add audios, you can add videos and that’s where I use the term I often compare the LinkedIn profile to a mini website. So, it’s kind of like a mini-website that has the goal to lead to your maxi website, to your regular website. With the idea is not that people just come to your LinkedIn profile and then leave again, you want to lead them somewhere else. So very important to also include the link to your website, because now you’ve got their interest well lead them somewhere else. Lead them to your website, or a download, or a video, or something.

“The idea is not that people just come to your LinkedIn profile and then leave again, you want to lead them somewhere else.”

– Sarah SantaCroce

So yes, visuals are definitely a plus, it’s good to adapt them to the rest of your branding, so that if they come over to your website, they recognise the same brand. You use the same colours and they come over and they’re like, ‘oh okay’ so I get a good idea of this brand.

How to generate leads on LInkedIn

Alex: So you mentioned something that was very interesting before and that was this idea of leading them away, offering them something, you know taking them over to your website. So now I think we’re starting to get into the idea of you know how do we generate business, how do we generate leads for our business? So, what’s the mindset you need to have when you’re creating your LinkedIn profile then, or maybe ask it a different way. If you want to use LinkedIn to generate leads for your business, what do we need to be thinking about?

Sarah: Well the LinkedIn profile is the starting point, because that’s what you’re going to use on LinkedIn to build relationships, or generate leads, okay. So, all the roads will always come back to your LinkedIn profile and that’s another thing that I realised that serves me well as an introvert, is that my LinkedIn profile is my sales team. You see people come to my LinkedIn profile it’s all there. I don’t have to do the selling, I don’t have to send out messages, ‘Hi, I’m a LinkedIn specialist, blah, blah, blah’.

No, they all see it already on my LinkedIn profile. You don’t have that on any other network, if you connect with someone on Facebook, well they see your Facebook profile but there’s nothing there, right? Where on LinkedIn that’s your sales tool, that’s your sales team and so the first step is definitely the LinkedIn profile so the profile does the selling for you.

Then the next step, obviously yes you can bring people back to your website, but that’s not the big chunk of how you’re going to generate these leads. What comes into play is then actually building a targeted network of potential clients, where you engage with these prospects that then in the future turn into clients.

You do that basically by using the power of the LinkedIn database, just like recruiters are using the LinkedIn database to find ideal candidates, while you’re going to be using it to find ideal clients. So, LinkedIn is a really powerful database, where you can go put in your keywords and then find these profiles according to your criteria. Then engage these people and add them to your network and then engage further from there, so that eventually they will turn into prospects and leads.

Alex: Sarah I’ve got to get you there on one thing there, there’s one specific step which I guess a lot of people, not just introverts but in general will be wondering and that is, ‘engage’, okay? I find these potential, this you know I’m using a search tool on LinkedIn, I’m finding potential clients, prospects, what do you mean by engage? Just invite to connect with you?

Sarah: That’s the first step, but what’s really important is that you don’t just send out the kind of the random invitation that everybody does where it says, ‘I’d like –

Alex: Default.

Sarah: Yes, the default one where you just say, ‘hey, I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network’ because then the other person will go, ‘well, so what? I don’t know you, I’m just going to put delete or ignore’. So, what’s important is to build already that first step of the relationship in that first invitation and that’s where, can I mention the freebie that I have for your audience?

Alex: Yes absolutely, yes.

Get these free LinkedIn invitation templates for the best results

Sarah: It fits in well here. So I have these LinkedIn templates, invitation templates that I’m using for myself, I’m using with my clients and they’re basically the messages that I’m using to send out to connect with people. That’s the first step of the relationship, is finding something on their profile that you have in common with them and then use that message and say, ‘Hey, I see that we have this and this contact in common, would you be open to connect with me?’ So, that’s the first step of an engagement, because then these people, you know first of all there’s only about I measured this for many years, and there’s only about 3% of people that actually do that step, that actually customise the invitations.

“There’s only about 3% of people that actually customise their LinkedIn invitations.” – Sarah SantaCroce

Alex: Only 3%?

Sarah: Really, like it’s just ridiculous how many people don’t know about it. It’s not their fault, it’s just like they’re using it like Facebook or Twitter or any other platform and so very few people actually take the time to customise this invitation.

So you stand out already by sending them a customised invitation and then that often leads into a conversation because, you know, they get this nice message and then they might reply back and that’s where you know the ball is in your court again and then you engage with them.

Of course, what you should not do is send out a pitch after they you know connected with you. That’s the worst thing you could do is like, okay now I have the connections so now I’m going to pitch them, so don’t do that.

Alex: There was one etiquette that I think I’ve always followed, but I think I need to open my mind a bit more and that was that I you know a lot of people do this, they don’t connect with people on LinkedIn unless they know them, met them before. A lot of people teach that as well, they say ‘oh no I don’t for me LinkedIn is just a place to connect electronically after I’ve met them somehow in the real world’.

Sarah: Yes that’s very true, especially in Switzerland oh my gosh, that’s what I bumped against a lot, because it’s very traditional. So, they’re like ‘well I’ve never shaken your hand, so I’m not going to connect’. Luckily, that’s changing a lot now, there’s still some kind of the older generation, they’re like, ‘no, no, I’m keeping my network basically as my rolodex’. Which is, in a way is like well what’s the point then? If you’re on LinkedIn for business, then shouldn’t you be you know reaching out to people to who’ve you never met? Because that’s what you do if you go to a networking event. It’s not like you’re going to tell somebody you meet at a networking event, oh sorry we’ve never met so I’d rather not talk to you. Essentially, that’s to me what people are doing on LinkedIn if they’re telling me I’ve never met you, you know let’s not connect.

I understand where they’re coming from because LinkedIn initially that’s what it was, right? This kind of private club if you will, but if you really want business from LinkedIn that’s not the way to do it.

Alex: So, you’re reaching out, you’re engaging with these people who you don’t necessarily know, but using personalised invitations, which I guess dramatically increase the chances of them caring, or even opening or connecting with you. Then you’re saying it’s a bit like I don’t know what the analogy is, it’s maybe it’s like dating or something, but you just can’t you need to just curate that relationship don’t you? You need to –

Sarah: Yes.

Alex: Personalise and not go in for any sale as it were?

Sarah: Yes, so it’s about, it’s a lot to me about content, because what you also need to do is really make sure that they see you as an expert in your field. Their never you know that nowadays people are much smarter than they used to be before, so they do their research. So, they’re going to analyse your LInkedIn profile if they’re even slightly interested in what you have to offer, right?

They’re going to also see what other content they can find, so they’ll look at your website and so now that they’re in your network, what you need to do is make sure that you start positioning yourself as the expert that you claim to be and you do that with a content strategy. So, you have to be visible in your LinkedIn network on a regular basis with content that demonstrates that you are the expert that you are claiming to be.

Alex: Does that extend to publishing things on LInkedIn, because I think that’s a side of LinkedIn that, again, a lot of people don’t know much about.

Publishing and text updates tips

Sarah: Yes, it’s all about publishing content on LinkedIn, so whether that is in long-form articles, so with the LinkedIn publishing platform. Or, just text updates, you know share content to your LinkedIn network that show you have an expertise and that you know every time they see your content go by, they go, ‘ah’ you know, Sarah the LinkedIn specialist. ‘Ah’ Alex, you know expat podcaster, so that’s your job then to build that up.

Alex: I mean a lot of people think that, and again I’m just going through what people have in their mind is this association with LinkedIn as just being for job seekers and corporate folks. But, you’ve got this whole other world and you know entrepreneurs, service-based businesses using it to grow their businesses. So, have you seen, have you got any interesting anecdotes or stories of people that you’ve work with, you know entrepreneurs who are growing their businesses, how its helped them. I mean have you seen them being able to get clients as a result of having a great approach?

Sarah: Yes, for sure we can talk about Melitta who was on your podcast recently. So, I think at the time she was still a copywriter, she has now transitioned into business coaching. You know working on her LinkedIn profile, making sure that she shows up for the keywords that she wants to focus on. Again, at the time it was copywriting that generated over $60,000 for her in I think it was over a year or so. So, definitely I mean yes, that’s just one story that you know I thought of because we both know Melitta.

So, yes there’s definitely huge opportunities, and again, it depends on your target audience. So LinkedIn is great for coaches, consultants, you know entrepreneurs but depending what kind of business. So, it’s usually really interesting if you’re average client revenue is like over $3,000. If you’re looking for like these small kind of clients, where it’s like yes $100 or one-on-one’s you know just hourly based, it’s not just worth investing all that time on developing this network and creating content and all of that.

But, if you’re you know working with contracts or mandates or you know copywriting, where it’s like okay I’ll create all the content for your website, you’re talking $10,000, well then it’s definitely worth spending that time on the platform.

Alex: So, if you have any… I mean you’ve seen a lot of profiles then in your time, do you have any horror stories or funny stories about clients coming to you with you know really bad profiles that you’ve had to turn around? I mean you don’t have to name them of course, but what kind of things have you seen that make…?

Sarah: They usually don’t come to me, but I just laugh about the profiles that I see online, is usually you know a lot times is the wrong picture, so the picture obviously does matter because people make themselves an opinion about who you are on LinkedIn.

The other thing that I’m kind of allergic about is the 3rd person in the LinkedIn profile.

Alex: Ah yes.

Sarah: I think that’s very 80’s you know, in the 80’s yes we used to use our third person even on our websites, but nobody does that anymore unless you’re I don’t know Obama or Trump I guess. But you know use the first person.

Alex: So are you saying we should write, ‘I this, I am’ –

Sarah: Yes, yes.

Alex: Okay.

Sarah: Yes, definitely.

Alex: Wow.

Sarah: Why? Because it comes over as very unapproachable. You know it’s like, ‘oh this is my perfect LinkedIn profile’ but then nobody ever feels like getting in touch with you because it kind of comes off as standoffish almost.

Alex: Yes, absolutely. So, we’ve got the…I think someone, I read another stat and I mean you mentioned that photos are important, perhaps not as important as the rest of the profile, but I read a stat somewhere saying that having a photo just having one, it makes you multiple times more likely to receive a message than not have one.

Sarah: Right.

Alex: I suppose there are people out there with no photos on their profiles?

Sarah: Yes, yes. I’m sorry, I just want to clarify the profile photo is essential.

Alex: Okay, that’s what we want.

Sarah: So yes, I thought you meant just other kinds of photos underneath their profile in you know. So, yes, you could just get off LinkedIn, if you don’t have a profile picture. [Laugh] Because imagine you want to create with people who you don’t know and you’re going to connect with them and there’s no picture of you, how does that come off? I mean I would never trust an invitation from someone if there’s no picture. Because you know, people nowadays they do business with people and so you’re basically a robot if you don’t have a picture. Or, you have something to hide, so yes, you definitely need a profile picture.

Are LinkedIn ads worth paying for?

Alex: Now as LInkedIn has grown and it’s starting to follow what the other platforms like Facebook are doing and that is to offer paid advertising as well. So, you occasionally see these sponsored ads that suddenly arrive in your inbox or you know you see sponsored ads around the platform. How effective are those and it is worthwhile doing those in combination with your more proactive sort of lead generation strategy that you mentioned before I wonder?

Sarah: I work mostly with entrepreneurs and solopreneurs and for those I almost never recommend paid LinkedIn ads. If you compare LInkedIn ads, the cost of a LinkedIn ad versus a Facebook ad, a LinkedIn ad costs you five bucks. A Facebook ad costs you 20 cents, so for each click you’re going to be paying five bucks on LinkedIn.

So, unless you have this giant marketing budget that you can play with, it’s just very hard to even just test these out. I mean I’ve tried myself and I you know went bankrupt, [laugh]  no I’m just, [laugh] like it’s just very hard.

Alex: Yes, so it’s something not, so if we talk about the market we’re talking with, so you know small entrepreneur service-based businesses, it just doesn’t seem as appropriate?

Sarah: Unless you’re promoting a specific event, where there’s an immediate ticket sale after, then you can give it a try. But, if you’re trying to build a list and build leads, I think it’s not worth it. I’ve done it before where it goes to an immediate you know sale after and obviously it has a lot to do with the landing page and the content and everything. But, if you can sell something immediately after then it might be worth it, but otherwise yes, not, almost not.

Alex: Okay, if we step back then and you had to give general advice to people about their LinkedIn profile, the sort of top three things that you could say that you should look at now to make sure that it’s right, what would you say?

Top 3 tips for your LinkedIn profile

Sarah: Well I tend to almost forget about the LinkedIn profile picture, because it’s to me it’s just so obvious, but it is definitely key real estate. So, make sure that its a professional profile picture, that it’s not just cut-out from your wedding picture. It is has you know a neutral background, you know use some common sense. It also needs to be aligned with your audience, so if you’re a web designer, don’t use a picture with you in a suit and tie, it just it doesn’t connect, right? So, all of that goes into play.

So the LinkedIn profile picture, the headline, so the title headline is super important as well and what you want to do there is make sure that first of all, you use all the characters you have available, 120 characters and you use a keyword that people are actually searching for. So, you know for example, you might be a business coach, well use that word, use that keyword, don’t get too creative because people you know they use the words that they know. So don’t think about what you want to call yourself, but think about what other people are searching for.

Then talk about your audience, tell them who you work with and tell them about the results that you promised. All of that needs to go in the headline and you have a 120 characters.  So, picture, headline and then the summary section that we talked about earlier, talks about the present, talks to your audience and uses your keywords.

Alex: So I just want to pick-up on one thing and that’s the headline, because we didn’t talk about it that much. I, you see what I find and what I see is a lot of people who are transitioning out of corporate and let’s say life, and becoming entrepreneurs. They struggle letting go of the old labels, their hierarchical positional label.

Sarah: Right, yes.

Alex: Director of this, Head of that, which don’t mean anything when you’re running a business trying to sell x, y, z, services.

Sarah: Yes.

Alex: So that’s difficult isn’t it for them to let go of that, because they still feel that they need to represent a career label as their title.

Sarah: Yes. It’s, yes you’re right, it’s partly that and I didn’t make that connection. But, it’s also kind of LinkedIn, because until probably last year or so they still called that section ‘title’ instead of ‘headline’. So, they changed to ‘headline’ only rather recently. So everybody was thinking, ‘oh headline, ah I guess that’s what’s on my business card’, right? So they could put ‘founder of…’ blah, blah, blah. ‘Director at…’ blah blah blah. Who cares? Everybody, every company has a founder or a director and then nobody knows the name of your company, so definitely don’t use that. But again, use a keyword of something that your audience is searching for, tell them about who your audience is and what the outcome is.

Alex: Wow, okay. so, thank you. A lot of really useful tips there and I’m going to mention the invitation templates in a second, which everyone can get a hold of. So what about for you personally looking ahead, what are you planning with the business, what does the future hold in store for you, what are your goals I guess in the short-term?

The future of Simplicity

Sarah: In the short-term in the next six months as I mentioned I think in the intro, what I want to build is more courses or training and coaching for introverts. So to really bring the LinkedIn together with the introversion. I’ll bring in my 10 years of online business experience, so it’s going to be partly kind of you know confidence coaching for introverts, but also systems. Because I see that’s what that’s really what I bring to the table, whether that is how to set-up a webinar or how to set-up a podcast. How to do email marketing and funnels, so all these systems that really make sure that my business is almost automated, that’s I think what introverts are struggling with.

6 free templates that get accepted every time

Alex: Fantastic. So let’s talk about these invitation templates that you’d like everyone to have a look at. You’ve got a website, I can read out the website, so it’s: www.sarahsantacroce.com/alex and there you’ve got I think you’ve mentioned got six invitation templates that get accepted every time.

Sarah: Yes, so those are the messages that I use in my business that I recommend to my clients. So, those are the ones that you’re going to use in the message that you send out, you know rather than using the default, ‘I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn’.

Alex: Great, okay and I’ll put that link down in the show notes as well on the site so everyone can find that. But, fantastic. Well listen Sarah it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you onboard, it really has. You’ve got some really very specific and very helpful advice that I hope everyone is going to follow now. Of course, you know they can also reach out to you and get your help and I recommend them to take these invitation templates, because I’m certainly going to start using them more often. Yes, thank you very much and I hope we can do this again, we’ve obviously got a lot more things that we can talk about, but thank you very much for coming on and having a chat.

Sarah: Thanks for having me, Alex, it’s been a pleasure.

Alex: Thank you.