Sarah Santacroce is an independent LinkedIn Specialist, Online Presence Mentor and founder of Simplicity Small Biz. She helps people convert their presence online into paying customers. She is the creative brain behind the LinkedIn Challenge, an event that has helped 1700+ people so far to improve their knowledge about using LinkedIn for business. She has helped hundreds of clients from all over the world breathe life into their LinkedIn profiles, put together a strategy for their online presence or generated leads for them by using LinkedIn and social selling strategies.
She also coaches fellow introverted business owners on how to run an online business, and is the founder of the Introvert Business Podcast.
Period in full time business and core revenue streams
She has been in full time business for more than 7 years. In her LinkedIn business, she works with corporations where she does trainings for HR departments, sales departments, and the people in marketing. She also works with entrepreneurs through one-on-one coaching and teaches people in transition how to get recruited on LinkedIn. She has a series of products like video trainings that generate revenue for her without having to trade her one-on-one time.
She also does affiliate marketing and is planning to host her first retreat for introverted online entrepreneurs. The retreat will be an offline event where they will get together and talk about their businesses, and come up with strategies on how to take it to the next level.
She says it will be a quiet, reflective, and respectful retreat with lots of fun. The link for the event is www.sarahsantacroce.com/retreat/
Starting out in business
When she moved to California with her husband and their new second-born, she could consequently not go back to her previous job, and decided to take some time off to spend with her kids. After about a year, she decided to come up with her own business plan and choose to focus on helping business owners with their administrative needs, which was what she was good at. That eventually changed, because with the social media boom at that time, she realised how she was able to use social media to create buzz for her own business.
She therefore choose to move away from administrative/virtual assistant work to teaching entrepreneurs/small business owners how to market their businesses through social media. When she moved back to Switzerland with her family in 2010, she decided to start offering the social media training/marketing services.
Focusing on LinkedIn
She decided to specialise on LinkedIn much later after she discovered that things in Switzerland were very traditional and slow. Most people didn’t use social media for business. The one platform that the Switzerland B2B industry was interested in most, that she was well-versed in, was LinkedIn. After a year of offering her general social media services, she decided to zero-in on LinkedIn.
Corporate career Vs. Business
Sarah says she would never go back to formal employment. She calls herself unemployable because she creates success on her own terms now. She defines how success should be in her life, which she could not do in a corporate environment.
Tip 1: I don’t think business is for everybody. I don’t think everybody should leave their corporate job and become an entrepreneur. Getting side hustles is however a great option for anyone in a corporate job
Tip 2: I don’t advice you to just leave your job and focus on your business idea
Replacing full time job income in a business
Tip 1: If you have a business model that can guarantee to replace your full time income then obviously, go for it!
Tip 2: Full time business is not for everybody because some people need the structure of a corporate job and they may need a team. As an entrepreneur, you are making up your own structure and it can sometimes be very lonely as an entrepreneur, so if you are a huge people person then it will take time to meet other entrepreneurs, and share with them while building a strong network
Getting the first customer
She had just moved back to Switzerland and hadn’t even set things up when she got an email from a potential client asking for a meeting. The client ended up being her first client. That lead and many more came from Sarah’s blogging and her presence on LinkedIn and Facebook. The first client found her through a blog post she had written about the great importance of social media.
LinkedIn as a platform
Her main revenue source in as far as her LinkedIn training is concerned, is the corporate trainings but her best work is always with entrepreneurs because she is an entrepreneur, and understands what their needs are. She teaches entrepreneurs the social selling process where they actually don’t sell but serve. That’s the work that Sarah enjoys the most.
When training a new client, she always starts with their LinkedIn profiles by helping them make them into actual sales tools. The second step is always to help them grow their network in order to increase their reach and get their inbound marketing going.
The third step involves helping them start to offer value by sharing content while the fourth step is helping them with their lead generation targeted at their specific audience.
Setting up a LinkedIn profile to be more of a Sales Tool
Tip 1: The first thing is your headline. Here, you should write more about what it is you do, who you help and how you help them.
Tip 2: In the summary, you should talk more about the services you offer, how you help your clients and what kind of results you provide. This should be written more like an About Us page on a website.
Tip 3: Add visuals into your LinkedIn profile and make it into a portfolio that looks like a mini-website
Sharing and Serving
Tip 1: You have to have a decent size network already before you start sharing because otherwise you will be talking to yourself. Increasing your network comes first.
Tip 2: When you have a network that you think is relevant, you can start sharing, commenting and publishing content that adds value to your network
Tip: This is where you use LinkedIn as a database for your target contacts. The first step is to identify those contacts, find them, reach out to them, connect with them and then engage them through a series of messages where the main focus is to help, serve and provide value. That way, you can slowly move them a step closer towards hiring you for whatever work that you do.
Sarah is working with a team that is working on a crowdfunding website. She took them through the 4 steps of the social selling process and right now they are working on their LinkedIn profiles. She is also guiding them in their content development by helping them create an editorial calendar through which they will decide what kind of content they will publish themselves, and what of kind of content they will get from other people to share. She is generally helping them come up with a strategy on how to they are going to be more visible.
They tell Sarah that they are already getting a good response from potential investors, which is what they are looking for at this point.
Most effective content on LinkedIn
She says professional content works really well on LinkedIn. She says LinkedIn is service-related, compared to Facebook which is more product related. Therefore, what works well on Facebook is more visual content while on LinkedIn what works well is sharing content that has to do with services, learning, and career development.
Getting LinkedIn connections
Tip: The best way to get connections to come onto your business database is through content like sharing blog posts so that when they click over to your website, the website will be optimized for conversions. That’s how you get them to sign up to your newsletter
Biggest breakthrough moment
“When I made that decision to focus only on LinkedIn. It was one of the toughest decisions I ever made because I had to start saying no to other work related to other social media platforms. It was the best decision ever because am now known specifically for LinkedIn.”
Size and reach of business
She says that she is internationally-recognized thanks to the LinkedIn Challenge, something she started in 2013 and does with other LinkedIn experts worldwide. In November 2016, she was running the 11th Edition of the LinkedIn Challenge. It has enabled her to grow her business globally and also made her a recognized player in the LinkedIn Specialist/Trainer space.
This is training for people who want to learn how to use LinkedIn to get clients. Sarah brings on a team of other LinkedIn experts and together they share one LinkedIn tip daily with the participants of the challenge. Every day, the participants get strategy via email, and they also get to attend two live-training calls where they can ask questions.
Book recommendation for entrepreneurs:
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers – Timothy Ferris
To be remembered as someone who showed people a different way, a more human way, of doing business. – Sarah.
Best way to connect:
https://simplicitysmallbiz.com – Sarah’s Business Website
Sarah Santacroce – On LinkedIn
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