Sarah Santacroce | The Most Misunderstood Social Network

Posted on October 22nd, 2018

Many entrepreneurs think they shouldn’t be on LinkedIn, feeling like it’s more for corporate decision-makers and executives. Sarah Santacroce says if that’s your attitude, you’re leaving money on the table.

Sarah, who helps business owners around the world refine their LinkedIn approach, shares tips for “finding your tribe” (i.e. potential clients, customers, and partners) on this business-oriented social network.

If you’re not sure how to create a LinkedIn strategy… or even how to set up your profile… Sarah has sound advice. She even offers up a free guide to LinkedIn success.

We talk about…

  • Why LinkedIn gives you a shorter sales cycle
  • The power of H2H interaction
  • Two things you should do now to grow your list of prospects
  • How a “corporate” mindset will sabotage your efforts
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode Transcript:

Maddie Brown: This is Maddie Brown with Smash the Bottom Line. We are here today with Sarah Santacroce. She is a master in her field. She’s going to share some tips on LinkedIn with us. I want her to tell us a little bit about what she thinks is most important to success in business and to find out exactly how she got started in business.

Thank you and welcome, Sarah. I am really happy to be talking with you today. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in business and how you work with clients.

Sarah Santacroce: Sure. Yes. Hi, Maddie. Thanks so much for having me. First of all, I always think it’s great how we get to do this. You’re over there in the US. I’m based in Switzerland. We have this thing called the internet that we can just connect with people all over the world. Isn’t that great?

Maddie Brown: It’s magic.

Sarah Santacroce: It is magic. Yeah. My story started in … I have to go back all the way to 2006. That’s when my husband … One rainy summer day he came home and he said, “We’re moving to California.” As I said, I’m based in Switzerland and was back there. I’m like, “Oh, okay.”

A short couple of months later we were packing our bags and indeed moved all the way over to California where he got a job. Then I had to leave my corporate job here and setup the family over there. After a year or two … My second son was just six months old when we moved so I took some time off, stayed at home with them, but I quickly realized this is not the only thing I enjoy. I want to do something else.

I started to look into a virtual assistant business because that was really new back then and people were still thinking virtual assistants are like robots. I thought that was interesting for me because I needed a location-independent business. I have to be able to work from home and have my own calendar and agenda and not go into an office every day.

That’s when I started my first virtual assistant business back in by then it was probably 2007. Yeah, as you know, as entrepreneurs we’re constantly evolve and pivot and adapt. That’s how it all got started. When we moved back in 2010 to Switzerland I started to really focus on LinkedIn because between 2006 and 2010 I was really then focusing on social media, helping other business owners with social media.

When I came back I decided, “Okay, what’s calling me really is LinkedIn. It’s the platform where I feel the most comfortable and where I see the biggest need in Europe and Switzerland.” That’s what I did.

Maddie Brown: Well, I know that I am not as comfortable with LinkedIn as I would like to be. I know it’s a good vehicle but I am not really comfortable with it. How would you recommend getting more comfortable with it? What would you recommend?

Sarah Santacroce: I think just the fact that you’re saying you’re not as comfortable with it there’s two possible reasons. A, it’s kind of this imposter syndrome or almost like fear of the professional network, right? LinkedIn has this reputation of being the professional platform.

We’re entrepreneurs. We’re professionals. A lot of people that I’m coaching they give me the same reason. They’re like, “Yeah, but it’s LinkedIn. It’s not Facebook. It’s LinkedIn.” I’m like, “Yes, it is so it’s going to be more professional content but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a place on LinkedIn.”

It’s no longer just a place for corporate decision makers. A lot of entrepreneurs are on LinkedIn and getting clients on LinkedIn. That’s probably the first reason.

The second reason, yes, it’s not as user-friendly as Facebook or Instagram for example. There’s just still some things that are not as easy to understand on LinkedIn but once you get the hang of it then it really becomes … I think it’s just the most effective networking tool compared to others because everybody knows we’re in a business mindset. There’s not much small talk. The sales cycle is much shorter because we all know we’re here for business.

Maddie Brown: Wow. That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of it from the sales cycle standpoint. That makes good sense. What did you do to educate yourself? How did you learn to use LinkedIn? What was your process?

Sarah Santacroce: As I said, I started out in social media in general. I was just interested in all … Back then it was the big three, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I just started really learning and taking courses and listening to other people.

Then I think the smartest thing I ever did was to start a LinkedIn challenge. That was in 2012 where I hosted my first ever LinkedIn challenge. That’s an annual event that I’m still hosting. It takes place in November.

I bring together a bunch of people, LinkedIn experts, online presence experts, personal branding experts, video experts, anything that you need in order to learn how to use LinkedIn. I bring them together and people can sign up and over 10 days we send them a strategy every day. There’s a webinar at the beginning, a webinar at the end.

Not only did that get my name out there but I also just kept on growing my relationships with other people in that field, so other LinkedIn experts. I’m just part of this big team where whenever someone is posting I’m seeing it, I comment on it. It’s kind of this self-learning environment that has really worked out well for me.

Maddie Brown: Cool. What would you say your three keys to success are?

Sarah Santacroce: I would start with consistency. That’s really a big one for me. I hear some starting entrepreneurs now that say after six months, “Ah but I’ve tried being more active on this and this platform. I get nothing. I only get this many likes.”

I think you and I know, Maddie, that it takes consistency. Yeah, it takes insistence and you have to do things on a regular basis. That’s the one thing I would say that’s what has helped me build my success is just doing things on a regular basis and not giving up.

Then the second thing is the pivoting. As an entrepreneur, you really need to be able to adapt to the market. When I came back from California over there everybody was talking about social media. It was nothing new anymore. I came back here to Europe and people are like, “We don’t really need a content strategy. We need to understand how to use LinkedIn.”

From a development strategy I had to pivot and now say, “Okay, well, I’m going to offer training because these people just don’t know how to even use the tool.” It’s constantly pivoting.

Then from general social media I then decided, “Okay. I’m going to narrow down only to LinkedIn.” People would probably think, “Isn’t that limiting the amount of work that you can get?” Of course. There’s going to be maybe less mandates that you can get but you’re now the specialist, the expert. You can raise your rates and people come to me from pretty much all over the world because they’re not just needing social media in general. They are needing somebody that can help them with LinkedIn. Pivoting and adapting I think is really key. Yeah. Was that two or three? I can’t remember.

Maddie Brown: That’s good. I just had a question. I’m wondering … It’s interesting you talk about pivoting and having to be responsive. Are your clients all over the world? How do you generally … Are you mostly doing training now or are you mostly doing consulting? What is the primary way that you work with clients?

Sarah Santacroce: Yes. The clients are all over the English-speaking world. I have local clients here also that are French-speaking so the companies that I train with here are French-speaking. Otherwise, they are entrepreneurs all over the world. I basically have different offerings depending on where people are at in their business, if they’re just starting out, depending on their budget.

I have two video courses that it’s kind of do-it-yourself and then I have done-for-you offers where I do the LinkedIn profile for them. Then I have basically my signature system that is over 12 weeks where it’s a coaching … It’s a hybrid program actually. They have access to video course. It’s also a weekly coaching with me where we go deeper and I really help them position themselves as experts on LinkedIn in order to get clients. That is either a one on one experience or I also run it as a group program.

Maddie Brown: Interesting. Interesting. How can people get in touch with you? What is the best way to learn more about your business?

Sarah Santacroce: Right. I actually created a special link for your listeners so they can get my LinkedIn Recipe For Success. That’s an e-book that takes them through the 10 ingredients of the recipe for LinkedIn success. It goes over fixing clear objectives, talking about their target audience, defining a connection strategy, optimizing their LinkedIn profile, et cetera, et cetera. They can get that at Sarah Santacroce dot com forward slash Maddie. I’m sure you can put that link in the show notes so people can just click on that too.

Maddie Brown: Okay. That is awesome. Thank you.

Sarah Santacroce: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Maddie Brown: If you were sitting down having coffee what would you say would be the first principle that people need to get on LinkedIn? What is the number one thing that they need to get right?

Sarah Santacroce: I would say there’s a ton of things. I would say the number one thing is to really use LinkedIn as a human and not to pretend to be this corporate or stiff organization. A lot of times again it comes with the fear, right? People think, “Oh, but it’s this professional network. I have to be someone else” or, “I have to put on this mask.”

Just be yourself and talk with your normal voice and share content that people can relate to. We’re in the H to H era, the human to human. People do business with people. They’re not doing business with companies. LinkedIn is really also there to represent your company.

Maddie Brown: I think that’s interesting that you say H to H, human to human. I really like that. That is so true. We get lost in the details and the technology and all of the worry about how we’re doing things. We forget that we’re really dealing with human beings.

Sarah Santacroce: Yeah. That’s exactly right. Yeah, when you asked me, “What’s your number one thing?” I could have talked about the headline or the picture. Really, when it comes down to it what matters is just be yourself and be a human.

Maddie Brown: Yeah. What is your favorite offering? What is your favorite thing to do? As far as one on one or the group program. Where do you feel like you get your best results?

Sarah Santacroce: I think I get the best results one on one. I’m an introvert so I really like to work with people one on one so I can apply my empathy and listening skills and I really have a gift I’d say to put myself into the client’s shoes and see what they need from me in order to thrive and really make this work for them. Yeah, one on one is my favorite.

Maddie Brown: Yeah. I like one on one, too. You get to know people and you really can identify what their goals and intentions are so that you can really more specifically help them.

Sarah Santacroce: Yeah. Exactly.

Maddie Brown: I agree with that completely. Talk to me a little bit about … You said you did the site for us. Then I have … There will be a link that they can download that e-book then?

Sarah Santacroce: Right. Yup.

Maddie Brown: Okay. Okay. That is the main thing. Do you have anything that you regret in your business?

Sarah Santacroce: Good question. I think I regret not having started to build my email list earlier. I think I started it probably a year or two in but I wish I just started it right away. If I meet new entrepreneurs I always tell them start building your email list right away, this is your number one priority.

I manage a big LinkedIn group for coaches on LinkedIn and there’s almost 20,000 people on there. On LinkedIn we just lost the ability to send an email. Before we had a weekly email that I could send them. We just lost that.

I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I should have just focused on building my list from all these coaches that are in that group because now it’s really hard to communicate with them.” Yeah, building your list I think is key.

Maddie Brown: Well, that is really interesting. You have a large group of people. Are they active? Is it a very busy group?

Sarah Santacroce: Well, that’s the other thing. On LinkedIn I really have this love and hate relationship with groups. I think LinkedIn is doing a terrible job at making these groups user-friendly. Over the past few years most of the groups just turned into spam fests. It was also always very hard for the administrators to monitor and engage the group. There’s only a very few people who have done a good job.

Now LinkedIn groups just got an update and they’ve taken even those last few good things away from the administrator. They said that it’s not done yet, that they’re still working on them, so I’m really hoping that there’s still hope that they’re bringing some of these functionalities that we really need back. Yeah, if you compare a Facebook group to a LinkedIn group, Facebook wins a lot over LinkedIn groups.

Maddie Brown: Okay. Okay. What is the name of your group? How would people find that group?

Sarah Santacroce: The group is called The International Coaching Network. If you look for that group on LinkedIn you’ll find The International Coaching Network group.

Maddie Brown: Okay. That sounds awesome. Give us a little bit of personal … You’re married. Do you have children? Do you have pets? What do you do for fun?

Sarah Santacroce: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah. I’m married to my soulmate who I met 22 years ago traveling. He’s Canadian. I’m Swiss. We met in Spain, Barcelona. Since then still together. We have two boys. They’re 12 and 15. Not the easiest age I would say. Quite challenging.

Yeah. I live in Switzerland. It’s very green in Switzerland. I live about five minutes walking distance from our forest that has a little river going through it. I go on nature walks every day. Yeah, I enjoy nature just in general. I’m into yoga and meditation and all that good stuff to give us balance. In order to run thriving businesses we need both, right?

Maddie Brown: Yeah. Absolutely. I agree with you 100% on that. I’m not as good at the meditation and the yoga and the quiet activities as I am about being busy activities. I think being quiet is equally important but it’s not my strong suit.

Sarah Santacroce: Yeah. It wasn’t mine either, Maddie. I realized two years ago that I had insomnia and some problems with anxiety. I was like, “Okay. I think it’s time for me to just learn how to be quiet.” You’re saying, “I’m not as good at meditation” is not something that you’re just, boom, good at it. It’s just a practice. I think it’s important for me. I’m still practicing.

Maddie Brown: That is awesome. Is there anything else that you … If you’re sitting down having coffee with someone you would have them build their email list. What other words of advice would you give someone who is just getting started?

Sarah Santacroce: Okay. Yeah, the email list. I would probably say since we’re podcasting and we’re in the podcasting age, when I started out podcasts weren’t big so I would say start a podcast because I think that is a great way to build community. You’re in people’s ears. That’s a great way to build connection because, again, human to human. It’s all about connecting with people and sharing value.

I think that’s the other thing I would say. Just focus on your ideal client. That’s who you want to serve. Figure out how you can serve them. It might be via blog posts but it might be a podcast. That’s a great way to create value and give without asking for anything in return. It helps you build your tribe who are then … When they have a need for what you’re offering you’re going to be the first one that they’re contacting because they feel like they know you. Yeah, I would definitely recommend a podcast.

Maddie Brown: Okay. Well, that is very cool. I have really enjoyed visiting with you. If there’s anything else you’d like to be sure to share with our people I think we’ll wrap up unless you have anything else specific that you want to address.

Sarah Santacroce: Well, maybe I can just say again, I mentioned it in the intro, The LinkedIn Challenge. That is That starts on November 5th. I’m not sure when you’re airing this but maybe there’s time for people to join. November 5th, 2018, The LinkedIn Challenge.

Maddie Brown: Okay. What’s the name of it again?

Sarah Santacroce:

Maddie Brown: Okay. Awesome. We will make sure that that gets out there.

Sarah Santacroce: Wonderful.

Maddie Brown: Okay. Thank you for joining us today, Sarah. I really appreciate it. This is Maddie Brown with Smash the Bottom Line. We’ve been talking with Sarah Santacroce and she’s been telling us about how to use LinkedIn and she’s got a couple of links here on The LinkedIn Challenge which is happening in November of 2018. I’d encourage you to find out more about what Sarah is doing. Thank you for listening and we will talk soon. Bye.

Speaker 1: Smash the Bottom Line is sponsored by Smashing Numbers. Discover how to get your accounting in order. Escape the cashflow trap and finally enjoy a profitable business. Find out how at

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