Why You Need to be on LinkedIn if You’re a Creator with Kathleen Celmins

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If you think about social networks as people, LinkedIn is TikTok’s dorky older, more professional sister…that the younger, more hip sister needs to borrow money from. That’s how Kathleen Celmins sees it, and she’s very effective at selling on LinkedIn. In fact, she says that if you’re just trying to grow your follower count on LinkedIn, you’re doing it wrong. Instead, it’s all about the connections. How do you convert those connections into clients? That’s what we get into during this call. Plus, in the PRO show we talk about the danger of creating tools that rely on social media

Top Takeaways

  • While every other social network is super content-heavy, LinkedIn is different. If you post more than once a day, you’re competing with yourself. 
  • Followers on LinkedIn are a vanity metric. Your goal is to fill your calendar with calls…so create connections and see if those connections are a good fit. 
  • Your LinkedIn Profile is your sales page. Optimize it for your offer, and start connecting with people in your niche.

Show Notes


Joe Casabona: If you think about social networks as people, LinkedIn is TikTok’s dorky, older, more professional sister that the younger, more hip sister needs to borrow money from. At least that’s how Kathleen Celmins sees it. And she’s very effective at selling on LinkedIn.

In fact, she says that if you’re just trying to grow your follower count on LinkedIn, you’re wasting your time. Instead, it’s all about connections. And how do you convert those connections into clients? That’s what we get into during this interview. Plus, in the Pro show, we talk about the dangers of creating a tool that relies on social media or someone else’s platform.

Look for these top takeaways. While every other social network is super content-heavy, LinkedIn is different. If you post more than once a day, you’re competing with yourself on LinkedIn. Followers on LinkedIn are a vanity metric. Your goal is to fill your calendar with calls. So creating connections and seeing if those connections are a good fit should be your goal. In fact, this very point is what pushed me to finally hire somebody to help me do sales on LinkedIn.

Finally, your profile is your sales page. Optimize your LinkedIn profile page for your offer and your niche and start connecting with people. That’s how you will know if you are reaching the correct audience and if your offer is good.

This episode is action-packed with lots of great stuff, including a ton of actionable advice at the end for how to optimize your profile. So definitely listen for that. I met Kathleen at Craft & Commerce this year and I’m so excited I did because she is a wealth of information and very generous with it.

She also has a free offer for you at the end. I will link to that and everything we talked about in the show notes over at howibuilt.it/329. Howibuilt.it/329. If you want to get this and every episode ad-free and extended, be sure to sign up for the membership, which you can do again over at howibuilt.it/329. Or if you are listening in Apple Podcasts, this is now on Apple Podcasts subscription so you can sign up right from the Apple Podcasts app.

All right, now, without further ado, let’s get into the intro and then the interview.

[00:02:50] <Music>

Intro: Hey, everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast that helps busy solopreneurs and creators grow their business without spending too much time on it. I’m your host Joe Casabona, and each week I bring you interviews and case studies on how to build a better business through smarter processes, time management, and effective content creation. It’s like getting free coaching calls from successful solopreneur.

By the end of each episode, you’ll have one to three takeaways you can implement today to stop spending time in your business and more time on your business or with your friends, your family, reading, or however you choose to spend your free time.

[00:03:40] <Music>

Joe Casabona: All right, I am here with Kathleen Celmins. Kathleen, how are you today?

Kathleen Celmins: I’m well, thanks, Joe. How are you?

Joe Casabona: I am fantastic. Excited to be talking to you. We met at Craft & Commerce, which if people remember, last year I had a bunch of guests that I met at Craft & Commerce last year. So it’s just like a wealth of amazing information. We’re going to talk about LinkedIn today. So let’s just dive right into this, right? Why should I be on LinkedIn?

Kathleen Celmins: Well, I’ll clarify, because not everybody needs to be on LinkedIn, but if you’re selling B2B and you’re not on LinkedIn, you have unconsciously made a decision to make getting leads harder for you.

Joe Casabona: If you’re selling B2B you’ve consciously made a decision to make getting leads harder for you. I like that a lot. Because like on Twitter, we’ve got the threadbois, as Khe Hy says, which is my most favorite term ever. And now as we record this, Threads had just come out and that’s-

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah, speaking a threadbois.

Joe Casabona: Speaking of threadbois. Yeah, exactly. Which is-

Kathleen Celmins: I mean, a whole thing.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. It’s own thing now. And I like that. I like Threads. I don’t feel like I’m beholden to an algorithm, but there’s like, you know, TikTok and you got Instagram marketing. And I feel like LinkedIn is like maybe the forgotten child of social media because a lot of people just think it’s a resume site. But it’s not. Right?

Kathleen Celmins: Right. You know what’s funny is there’s… If I were a little bit more creative, I could come up with really good visuals for what LinkedIn is because LinkedIn is definitely like the dorky older sister that is such a stuffed shirt. TikTok is like the young hip dancing on the bars, “We’re doing jobs.”

Joe Casabona: Like Coyote ugly style.

Kathleen Celmins: And then LinkedIn walks into the bar still wearing their suit, you know? Like, “I am letting loose. My tie is not on.” Like, “This is fun,” you know? But the truth is the hip, younger sibling has to borrow money from the dorky, older sister because the dorky older sister has it figured out.

Joe Casabona: Yes. Yes. I love that. This is like when everybody like… I had a few guys last year. TikTok, even though it’s been around since 2016, blew up right before or during the pandemic. Pandemic time is weird to me. And everyone’s like, If you have a business, you’ve got to be on TikTok. I’m like, Really? Because it feels like nobody on TikTok can afford me. I’m not selling like a $19 thing? Right?

Kathleen Celmins: Right.

Joe Casabona: Miss Excel blew up on TikTok but she had a pretty affordable course, I think. So I really like that, the hippy, younger sister needs to borrow money from the older [inaudible].

Kathleen Celmins: And you get like all of the other social media and I don’t… because of when we’re recording this, we have no idea what Threads is going to be. So I’ll leave that out of the conversation. But all of the other ones are so content-heavy. They’re so content-heavy. If you looked up right now, if you Googled how to make an impact on Instagram, you would get something like, Okay, you need three in-post story, not stories… in-feed posts-

Joe Casabona: In-feed. Yeah.

Kathleen Celmins: …every day. You need ten stories every day. You need at least one reel. And you know what? You might as well go live with another creator. It’s like, Well, when are you supposed to do any of your work? And that’s all the authority-building content to answering questions that they maybe you answered one-on-one, showing people in your network that you know what you’re talking about, and then hoping that they reach out to you with an open wallet. And they will. Some do down the line.

But that’s a huge commitment. That’s like at least an hour, if not three, every single day coming up with fresh content. And if you’re not feeling good one day, you can’t go live, you can’t do a story because you look like garbage and you don’t feel like doing it. It’s not, for me, sustainable. If that’s how you have to do business, organic social reach is not for me. It’s why a lot of the people that I know have turned to ads because you just make one thing, you throw money at it and everybody sees it.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, which is a great point. But again, to that point, especially on TikTok, I mean, maybe this has changed in the last year or so, but my understanding is that people on TikTok aren’t very receptive to ads. It needs to look like a real thing. But then as soon as you figure out it’s an ad, you’re going to be annoyed that you were fooled or attempted to be hoodwinked or whatever.

I like this because something that’s been on my mind a lot lately… we’re both parents, I don’t know if that was public knowledge on your side-

Kathleen Celmins: It is. I don’t show their pictures, but people know that I have them.

Joe Casabona: I know. As we record this, it’s my son’s birthday and I have like 14 pictures of him on Instagram, just like, happy birthday, son. He’s like three. I’m like, Is this right decision? I don’t know. So we’re both parents. And the Instagram game or the Twitter, like the text-based ones are a little bit easier because I can just kind of fire off a random thought from my phone. But even that doesn’t really work on Twitter. Or if you say the word “threads” now on Twitter, you’re gonna get deprioritized, apparently.

But Instagram, especially, like you’ve got to go live or do a reel every day. I’m like, “Man, this is not friendly to parents.” Especially like, I don’t know about you, your kids might be a little older than mine. Mine are all under seven. When school starts, I’m sick weekly. They just bring home all of the diseases right at the beginning of the year. So I’m like, when am I supposed to… I have to be clairvoyant enough in August to be like, Well, I better make all of September as content. And then, like you said, what am I going to do real work then? I love this.

Now, we haven’t said this explicitly, but your implication is that you don’t need to be that content-heavy on LinkedIn. Is that accurate?

Kathleen Celmins: No. And they just had an algorithm update, which is cute. Again, the dorky older sister also has an algorithm.

Joe Casabona: I watch movies, guys. I’m cool.

Kathleen Celmins: We like videos here, too. We just like them to be the regular size of videos. Forget that. Sideways nonsense, you know? But everything is just so buttoned up. But their algorithm has a thing that if you are someone who comes from the Twitter and Instagram world of building relationships, it might come as a breath of fresh air. Because if you post on your LinkedIn profile more than once a day, you are competing with yourself, according to their algorithm. Which means that you can post consistently, weekly or three times a week, or five times a week. One of the apps I use says that you get the most engagement on Sundays. But like, so what?

Joe Casabona: Right.

Kathleen Celmins: So you can post more but you should not post more than once a day. Since I have had such a hard time gaining traction on Instagram, I don’t mean to brag, but over the last, I don’t know, however many years it’s been, I almost have a thousand followers on Instagram.

Joe Casabona: Woohoo.

Kathleen Celmins: Woo. And literally, eight people have ever DM’d me. And it’s mostly people I know who are… like we’re meeting up, you know, we don’t have each other’s phone numbers.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. It feels like high school friends on Instagram to me.

Kathleen Celmins: Right, Or like, Good job. Somebody who challenged me to go live every day in May would check in with me every time I went live. “Good Job. I’m proud of you today. Proud of you today.” Everybody needs those friends. But the truth is, what I teach, posting… I call it content marketing because that’s where I come from. But you use a very specific format for content marketing on LinkedIn. And it’s the last pillar.

Because LinkedIn to me is not primarily a social network. It’s a sales enablement platform. By that I mean its primary job is not to wish your coworker from three jobs to go happy birthday. Like you can do that on LinkedIn and that’s how you… Or “congratulations on your next promotion. We need to catch up.”

Joe Casabona: “Congrats on your work anniversary.” “Oh, thank you.”

Kathleen Celmins: That’s fine. It’s fun to keep up with people you used to work with, and LinkedIn does make that easy. But that’s not its primary job, especially for entrepreneurs.

Joe Casabona: Gotcha. I love that. So you post more than once a day, you’re competing with yourself. I noticed this just recently. Friends, this is a lesson about social media. I meticulously plan most of my… Let’s erase the word meticulously. I plan in some way, shape, or form, most of my posts on Twitter and LinkedIn. And then one Saturday, while my children were like setting fire to the house around me, I was browsing LinkedIn and I saw this carousel of a guy who was potentially wrong, and I was like, “I’m just going to see what happens if I say this guy is patently wrong.” So I reposted his carousel, which I mean, it basically said like, “Don’t start a podcast because most podcasts fail. Instead, hire me to get you guest spots on podcasts.” And I’m like, If most podcast fail, why would I want that either?

So what I posted was like, “Hey, he is right that podcasting is a lot of work. Here’s why he’s wrong about why being a guest is better or whatever.” That post, which was I think a Saturday at 3 p.m. Eastern time blew up. Like comments, thousands of views, lots of engagement, easily my best-performing posts of the last 30 days. And I just kind of like fired it off from my phone without thinking about it.

I guess the long meandering question, that maybe we’ll edit out some of that interstitial part, is if a post is doing well, should I not post until it’s…? Because you said you’re competing with yourself, right? So if I post it again on Sunday, is that post not going to do well or is it going to deprioritize my previous post? That’s where I’m curious. I’m a little curious about that.

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah, I don’t know. You know, that’s one of those things that like it’s tough to tell, but you should always be creating content. You should always be planning it out. And using the meat of what that was, so not the Saturday part. Not the from your phone part, but the fact that you found somebody who took a stake in the ground and you disagreed with them, that could be the backbone of your content marketing strategy on LinkedIn.

Joe Casabona: Gotcha.

Kathleen Celmins: Or building more content around, you know, what do people think podcasts are? I was talking about this with somebody yesterday about how polls get a lot of engagement because everybody has an opinion. So then you can ask like, “Hey, did you think that podcasting is dying? Is it a dying art? Is it dead? Should you not start one? You know, what would be a good reason not to start a podcast in 2023? Give people polls and options.

Because you’re then getting a lot of attention on you, luckily because it wasn’t planned, but something that’s exactly aligned with what your service provider work is, then I think there’s no downside to doubling down on that kind of content.

Joe Casabona: That makes sense. Again, you know, I’m going to reference Threads a couple of times here because I’m… I’m going to say Meta Threads, I guess, because threads is also a thing on Twitter which like man, expert-level trolling by Meta here. Like expert level. But you see all these posts on Meta’s Threads right now. That’s like, what’s your favorite ice cream? What movies are we watching? That feels like kind of like engagement hacking, quote-unquote. Like, you’re just asking opinion question.

Kathleen Celmins: Feels like how to grow a Facebook group post from a couple of years ago.

Joe Casabona: Right. Yeah. But in this case, if it’s in my lane and I’m trying to get opinions, first of all, that’s helpful data to me, right? Like what’s a reason not to start a podcast. Because then I can make a long-form content that is, “Hey, here’s why you should start a podcast.” And then I can do the inoculation effect that you learn in journalism that’s like people are going to think this so you want to guard against that before they can even say it sort of thing.

But then you’re also getting a bunch of engagement. Plus like with polls, you’re putting people in a box, right? And if they want to go outside that box, they’re going to have to comment probably. I like that. I like that a lot.

So the big takeaways from here, be on LinkedIn, because… You said it’s mostly a sales platform. So we’re going to get to that in a little bit, right? Like how you can sell. But first, I’m really excited. I just crossed over 4,000 followers on LinkedIn. I’m approaching 6,000 on Twitter. I just checked Instagram, I’ve got 1,058 hot dog. They took me like five years to get over a thousand, I think.

I guess it took me ten years of starting from when I started. But I remember starting to check my Instagram following like five years ago. How do I grow my LinkedIn following? If I want these businesses to see me so they understand me, How do I get more people following or connecting with me or whatever?

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah. So followers on Twitter matter. Followers on Instagram matter. Followers on LinkedIn are even the metric because it’s not about who sees your content. Because content is the fourth and least important pillar. If sales enablement is the point, then conversations are the goal. You don’t need to have 6 million followers on LinkedIn to fill your calendar with sales conversations. The math… I mean, you’re one person, right?

Joe Casabona: Right.

Kathleen Celmins: You don’t need… and further, like let’s say… So one of my jobs, when I first started on LinkedIn, let’s see, it was 2008 and I was in hospitality recruiting. So I had a ton of followers in the hospitality industry. That doesn’t matter. Like followers do not matter because a director of food and beverage at a Four Seasons just will never, ever have any need for what I’m selling now. So growing your followers should be the least of your concerns.

Joe Casabona: Interesting. Okay, so growing my followers is least of my concerns. You said your goal is to fill your calendar with calls. So I guess what’s the approach? I want to make sure that we don’t kind of move into the next section too quickly. But I guess how do I know who to who to talk to? How do I know who my LinkedIn audience is?

I guess I’m operating from the assumption that I’m not just looking at people’s LinkedIn titles and then sliding into their DMs. Or am I? Is that the approach?

Kathleen Celmins: Well, it depends. What I teach, and I have a 30-day program, what I teach is that the overarching strategy is to make new connections and see if there’s a fit. The idea being that the 4,000 people you’ve already connected with are in your network. If they were going to buy from you, they would have by now.

So deconstructing your favorite clients and going after more people like them using tools like Sales Navigator or even just the regular LinkedIn search and reaching out to them, growing your network intentionally. Because if you grow your network by 200 people and 85 of them want to work with you, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have.

Joe Casabona: Right.

Kathleen Celmins: Most solopreneurs like us don’t need a thousand clients. In fact, cannot serve a thousand clients.

Joe Casabona: Right. Right.

Kathleen Celmins: So just having conversations… So it’s all about not being that guy on LinkedIn. So you can create new conversations, but you should not be the person who just reached out to me asking if I needed companywide phone support. I’m like, “Is this 1998?”

Joe Casabona: “I’m sorry, what? Do you work for Cisco?

Kathleen Celmins: Multi-line phone?

Joe Casabona: “Have you heard about this new thing called voiceover IP?” That’s fantastic.

Kathleen Celmins: I don’t even know if that’s still a thing. I have no need for that. One of the cool things about LinkedIn is that there are, I think, 800 million users on the platform right now. So literally everybody has a profile on it and hardly anybody is using it right. So if you do a little bit strategically to not be that guy on LinkedIn, then you’ll be really surprised at how well it’ll work for you.

Joe Casabona: Hmm, I like that. And we’re going to get to that soon. But I do want to ask. So you said, like post once a day, get some engagement. What’s the purpose of that? Are we like sassing out potential customers that way or is it just kind of like putting us on people’s radars? I guess what’s the purpose of posting on LinkedIn if your goal is not to grow your following?

Kathleen Celmins: Oh, to have a conversation.

Joe Casabona: Okay

Kathleen Celmins: To take this outside. We’re in. Take this outside.

Joe Casabona: I like that. So basically, it’s almost like finding those potentially qualified leads. I post about here’s why a brand needs to have a podcast, right? And then somebody who runs a brand podcast is like, “Well, wait, how do I do that? Oh, all right. Well, let’s start this conversation.” Something like that, right?

Kathleen Celmins: Exactly.

Joe Casabona: I like that. I like that a lot. Okay, cool. You did warn me that this part of the interview would be very short and I ran out of questions to try to make it longer. So let’s move on to what I think the meat of this is, the climax of our story here, which is how do I convert people..? I worded this as LinkedIn audience. But as we just discovered, this doesn’t mean to be our exact audience. It doesn’t need to be our followers, at least. How do I convert people on LinkedIn to be customers or clients?

Kathleen Celmins: That’s the most fun thing because… It goes against… I come from 13 years of digital marketing, so it goes against literally everything I’ve ever learned. Like, build a following, create a blog, grab an audience, get your search traffic, and then you can talk to people. No, you need an offer and you get it in front of the right people.

So if you think that people who have the word “podcaster” in their title might be a good fit for what you have, you do a search on that, you use some automation tools. You don’t ever use the helpful quote-unquote… I realize this isn’t video too late, but quote-unquote helpful-

Joe Casabona: You could hear the quotes in your voice though.

Kathleen Celmins: …canned content, like the “Oh, thanks so much.” LinkedIn has these stupid things you can just click like, “I’d like to join your network.” Well, guess what? They hear that a lot. So if you come at them with a different value-driven, like, I don’t want something from you, but I’m building something cool and the LinkedIn algorithm said we should connect, I checked you out, it looks like you’d be cool, it looks like LinkedIn was right this time, you know, whatever, something like that. Well, I’m wondering if there’s a way we can work together or something like that.

And I think too if you only listen to part of this, like, okay, LinkedIn, and then you look at your DMs, you think, Wow, I have to do it that way, obviously, I think you’re going to miss the point. Because it’s more about remembering, yes, there are bots, but remembering that everybody that you talk to, and if you’re wrong about this, it’s okay, but to understand that everybody that you talk to is a human. There’s a real person on the other side of every single one of these conversations. So if you wouldn’t walk up to somebody at a networking happy hour and say, “Hello, would you like to buy from me?” then don’t do that online. Don’t do it on LinkedIn.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Which we’ve all seen those people before. We’ve been to big cities or we’ve been to carnivals. Or the place I experienced the worst was on our honeymoon in Rome. Like people would just like throw water bottles in your face. Like, “Water!” I’m like, “No. I have water though.” “Water.” I’m like, okay. That’s what you’re doing, right? You’re like,” Hey, buy this, buy this for me, please.”

Kathleen Celmins: My sales mentor, Ian Altman, has an example of somebody… He uses an example of a carpal tunnel surgeon. And it’s he’s at a dinner party and he’s like, “Hey, I don’t usually have openings, but I have an opening next Tuesday. Do you want the surgery?” I think with that example, of course not. You don’t even know what problem a carpal tunnel surgery solves let alone whether you have it or not.

Joe Casabona: Right.

Kathleen Celmins: Remembering to take a human-first approach. And you don’t even have to have a sales and marketing background to be a real person, just like you don’t need to be an expert salesperson to go to a networking happy hour and talk to people and learn about them and just see if you can help, you know?

Then it makes LinkedIn so much easier because then what it means is that you’re using search and automation tools to help do real connection at scale. So, you know, LinkedIn does not love automation tools. That’s putting it mildly. But there are ways to use them. I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily start a company that relies on that. But you can use their tools until you can’t.

But there’s plenty of them out there that work within LinkedIn terms of services that you can use to help you automate what you would do naturally. Because a lot of people that I work with do not realize how much sales they need to be doing in order to sell their services. I think a lot of us get into entrepreneurship because we found a problem that we wanted to solve for ourselves or we found a problem that we could help our people we already knew solve. And then you hit a point where your referrals run out or you pivot and you need a new way to reach people who don’t already know you, don’t already love like, you don’t already trust you. And it can be really hard.

And when you don’t use automation tools and you just use the LinkedIn search, you’ll talk yourself out of it. I’ll go to your profile and I’ll say, “Well, Joe, he’s probably fine. He probably doesn’t need like…” You know, you just make decisions for people and you don’t reach out. But the automation, as long as you’ve got the outreach, the initial message to connect right, the automation takes your brain and your hesitation out of it and allows that person to decide, allows you to decide if you want to connect with me.

Joe Casabona: I don’t know if that breathy noise made it into the recording, but I just exhaled because that exact thing… I paid 300 bucks for this three-day workshop, and it was really good. And it would have been great if I actually acted on it. But like day one was like, make a list of 100 people that you can reach out to. And I’m like, Okay, great. And now here’s a tried and true DM script, right?

And I didn’t just buy this from some random. This is a person I know personally. I trusted him. “And send this to those people.” And I would open their LinkedIn profiles and I have a TextExpander snippet and I’m like, “Ah, they probably don’t need this.” And I just chickened out. I’m like, “Well, my offer is not good enough. There’s a weird misalignment here.” So what you just said spoke exactly to my experience and I’m sure you know lots of other people’s experiences.

So you’ve mentioned a couple of automation tools. Is there one that you recommend? I think you said it earlier.

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah, it’s called Waalaxy. I always hesitate to say the name of any tools because right now as of this recording, the one that I like right now is called Waalaxy. I have an affiliate link and it’s not a great one for… Like it’s not where I’m going to make my private island money, but it will give people two months free to try it out.

Joe Casabona: Okay, cool.

Kathleen Celmins: So I can drop that.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. You know what I’ll do? I’ll put it in the show notes which you can find over at howibuilt.it/329. Is it Waalaxy like Galaxy with a W.

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah. It’s like that but another A. So W-A-A-L-A-X-Y.

Joe Casabona: W-A-A-L-A-X-Y. So I will also make a short link, howibuild.it/waalaxy. That will go to Kathleen’s affiliate link.

Kathleen Celmins: And like I said, if you don’t get any value out of it in two months, don’t worry about it. Just cancel it. It’s not expensive, especially compared to paid ads. I think it’s a great tool. It has been around for a couple of years and I’m pretty sure LinkedIn knows about it. So it’s one that I feel good about. But again, that’s a shady area of software.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, it’s tough, right? I mean, I signed up for Hypefury and like the same day that I tried to do my first DM campaign, they were like, “Oh, Twitter’s API is broken, we can’t do DMS anymore.” And I’m like, “It’s not broken.” I mean, now is a pretty tumultuous time for, I think, any Twitter-based tools, right?

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah. Any tool. We could have a whole nother conversation about that.

Joe Casabona: Maybe let’s talk about that in Pro. So I didn’t ask you is in the pre-show, but you know what? We do a members-only section. We’ll talk about this topic in How I Built It Pro. You can sign up over at casabona.org. It’s just five bucks. Well, it start at five bucks a month which is like less than a cup of coffee, less than the iced coffee I paid for the other day at Starbucks. So that’s what we’ll talk about in Pro if Kathleen will join us for that.

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah.

Joe Casabona: So Waalaxy. And then you mentioned another one that I think had the word “sales” in it that I can’t remember.

Kathleen Celmins: This is interesting. The way that I see it, LinkedIn exists to sell you on LinkedIn Premium.

Joe Casabona: Mm-hmm.

Kathleen Celmins: Don’t ever upgrade to LinkedIn Premium.

Joe Casabona: But full disclosure, I have LinkedIn Premium because I am a LinkedIn Learning instructor and I get it for free. So if you’ve seen the little gold icon next to me, I’m not paying for it. I get it for free as an instructor.

Kathleen Celmins: It allows you to send in mail, which no one in the history of being on LinkedIn has gotten in email that they liked.

Joe Casabona: This is 100% accurate.

Kathleen Celmins: Again, if you care about vanity metrics, it’ll tell you which 800 people looked at your profile this week. Well, I can tell you which ones did. It’s the people who you reached out to using the automation. So I believe that LinkedIn free exists to sell LinkedIn Premium, and LinkedIn Premium exists to sell you on Navigator. Skip premium altogether. Navigators like 99 bucks a month. It’s a LinkedIn tool and it allows you to do really, really targeted searches and it allows you to save them and import them into the tool of your choice.

So it’s a really… I mean, I go back and forth. You can buy it for a year, but I never do because you can use it to set yourself up in the automation, then turn it off because you can save 2,500 leads. It’s a neat way to… If you don’t know, let’s say that you Joe, don’t know whether individual podcast hosts or companies that should be podcasting are better fits for you. You could set up two different campaigns-

Joe Casabona: Are you a mind reader? I’m going to interrupt you right here. Literally earlier today, I was talking to somebody about this. So I don’t know if you have my phone tapped or what, but this is the exact problem I’m trying to solve right now. Continue. You can create two different campaigns is what you just said, right?

Kathleen Celmins: Right. So you do these two different searches. Again, for I’m a marketer. So from a marketing perspective, who you serve is a sleepless night question. Who is your target audience should be an easy, easy… It’s an easy question with a tough answer. Because then you have to say, well, I only do digital marketing for dentists, you know? And then you got to have like a tooth in your logo and you got to change your website so that it’s like mint green with teeth on it. You know, like a whole. You have to change everything from a marketing perspective.

But if you take an outreach approach, you just let the results of your outreach determine your niche. So, if six companies come back to you and say, “Hey, you’re right, we do need to have a podcast arm, then it’s like, okay, well now this is what I do. I work with companies who pay quickly and never follow through. Because it’s different. Or I’ll look at entrepreneurs who pay slowly but do all the work that I ask them to do.

It doesn’t mean you have to do any of your marketing differently until you actually know who you like working with the best, who pays you fastest, who is easiest to work with. And I think that the two things that sort of sealed the deal for me on LinkedIn were the content schedule was significantly more doable.

And then also, yeah, maybe I’ll just reach out to authors or graphic designers or… You know, because creators who I work with or individual solopreneurs, that’s a pretty broad category. So maybe I want to talk to people who also speak digital marketing because then they can set up their funnels easier. And doing those different searches is really interesting because you can see what percentage of people even respond to you, how they’re responding. You know, you get into an industry where they just tell you, you know, kick rocks and you’re like, Okay, not that, you know?

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Oh, that’s so smart. So for 99 bucks a month, maybe 99 bucks every couple of months when you need it, you can run these not quite AB tests but… It’s almost like market research, direct outreach market research. I like that. So I will link to Navigator in the show notes as well.

I’m going to guess that this the find… Oh, sorry, your plan cannot change right now.” Oh, this is really good podcast content me clicking around on a website. This is great. Because this is the other thing that I’m doing very soon. This is like, I guess, a case study in LinkedIn direct outreach, because my friend Jordan Eaton, she commented on one of my posts and then reached out and asked me like how I was delegating. It was about automation delegation. Asked me how I was delegating.

She has, essentially, a virtual assistants company for higher-level virtual assistants. So you’ve got like the lower level ones that do some of the grunt work and then you’ve got the virtual office managers that basically replace you at the head of the business, and then her people sit right in the middle there.

And this was several months ago. But, you know, we’ve stayed connected, we did a webinar together and I’m going to hire her agency to do some virtual assistant stuff for 20 hours a month. So, first of all, LinkedIn totally worked for her there. We got connected. It’s going to work for me too—she’s filling a need that I have.

But the main thing I’m going to have her people do for me is outreach to potential clients. And I need to answer the question, who am I serving? Who do I want them to spend their 20 hours a month reaching out to? And it feels like maybe Sales Navigator, right? In the grand scheme of things, I pay 100 bucks this month to help me use the 20 hours more efficiently, it would be a big help to both me and her team because they want to deliver good results as well.

Kathleen Celmins: Right. For podcasting too, the reason that people don’t do it is because it’s a lot of work. I mean, literally, everybody has something to say for a podcast. But the reason that people aren’t doing it is because it’s too much work. So how many people does a company need to have so that they can afford to use one or half of one or a 25% of one person’s hours on podcast production? So you can filter down by that. If you only wanted to work with local companies, you could filter in your specific geographic area. You can do it the value add where it’s like, Look, I’ll just come over and we’ll get it all set up, you know?

Joe Casabona: Right.

Kathleen Celmins: Anywhere like from 2 hours from your house. And then you can upsell, you know, Joe, getting out of the house time to people who would happily pay for it, you know. It’s a tool that’s really helpful. And if anybody listening to this is intrigued by LinkedIn and wants to learn more, I have a program for it. I have a video that just walks people through exactly my process for how I use LinkedIn to get 8 to 17 qualified sales conversations on my calendar every week.

Joe Casabona: Wow.

Kathleen Celmins: I can link to that. So thewellpaidexpert/levelup.

Joe Casabona: Thewellpaidexpert-

Kathleen Celmins: Thewellpaidexpert.com/levelup.

Joe Casabona: All right, slash level up. I’m going to link to that.

Kathleen Celmins: All one word.

Joe Casabona: All one word. I will link to that in the show notes as well. As we conclude our time here, I’m really excited about this because I feel like I’ve been all over the place. Let me tell you how my day has gone today. I wasted, I don’t know, 2 hours this morning just bouncing around social networks, realizing that my top-performing posts on Twitter was a comment on [inaudible 00:42:15] thread about parenting. And then my second most popular one so far is me saying, “Yo, I can’t wait for the Yankees to have a city connect Jersey.” That’s not going to get me clients, right? As people know, I love the Yankees. Kathleen knows more than most people because I talked a bunch of people’s ears off about baseball in Boise. But I’m really excited about this.

If people are just getting started on LinkedIn, perhaps they’ve been convinced, what are the first one to two steps they should take to start getting qualified leads on LinkedIn?

Kathleen Celmins: Take a look at your profile, see if it would make you want to work with you.

Joe Casabona: I’m going to let that sit out there for a minute.

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah. I mean, it’s tough. It’s really tough, especially because it’s like your “about me” sections, it’s like, where do you start? Birth? College?

Joe Casabona: I remember-

Kathleen Celmins: And it’s never about you. It’s how you can help your people. And if you realize that in this approach, your profile is now a sales page, it’s easier to rewrite with that in mind. You know, people aren’t going to look at it hard, they’re going to skim it. They’re going to look for reasons not to work with you. For you, it’s Yankees, right? But here in Arizona, there’s a huge feud. My brother-in-law said he would have never, ever hooked up with my sister-in-law if she had gone to the wrong Arizona college.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, Yeah.

Kathleen Celmins: You have a like conflict. So they’re looking for like, Oh, I don’t know. I went to the… you know, that kind of thing. Just rewrite your “about” page like it’s a sales page. Make sure your headlines right and make sure your profile picture is not from your brother’s wedding where you the last time you were dressed up and you had to cut the groom out of the picture.

Joe Casabona: It shouldn’t be like you and someone’s shoulder, right?

Kathleen Celmins: You don’t want that. It should be a headshot. And you can make one pretty easily with your phone or AI or the combination.

Joe Casabona: Right. Shout out to Sarah Vada. She lived on my block for a while. She did not drive in Iraq. Right. I started the Teenage Dirtbag song, but she’s a professional photographer. So I was like, “Can you come to my office down the street and just take pictures?” And she’s like, Yes. So I got a professional photographer in my office, which is very exciting. But yeah, professional headshots for sure. Like put your phone on a tripod, get decent lighting. Don’t do it in your office by the cold blue glow of your computer screen and you’re like better than most people, right?

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah. Yeah.

Joe Casabona: What about the banner? Because you look at the guy that everybody immediately associate with LinkedIn is Justin Welsh. And like most people, I think, model their banner off of his. Is that a good banner to model your banner off of?

Kathleen Celmins: If you sell to the same people he’s sells to, sure.

Joe Casabona: I guess so. I guess should we include more information there? Like I’ve got like trust me…

Kathleen Celmins: Nah. It should just be consistent with your branding.

Joe Casabona: Okay.

Kathleen Celmins: It should look good. It shouldn’t look like your three-year-old did it. But it should just be consistent with branding. You can just take a picture from a branding session, put your logo on it, and so it can look… I think mine’s like my feet with my lower… like knees or something with my leg. No. No.

Joe Casabona: You know, tastefully done.

Kathleen Celmins: No. But there’s Canva precepts for LinkedIn headers. Spend 15 minutes on it. Don’t make 18 different versions. It’s not that big of a deal but it does matter.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Thrilling update, it is your arms, your hands folded.

Kathleen Celmins: Thank you. I knew it was like-

Joe Casabona: Like a body…

Kathleen Celmins: I didn’t do my head on my head. Like you take something from your branding photos. And if you don’t have branding photos, then find a Stock image that represents what you do.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Unsplash is probably a good place for most people to do that.

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. So I’m also noticing here… And you know, it’s funny because I just did this for this podcast, well, all of my podcasts, but you have Kathleen (O’Malley) Celmins – The Well-Paid Expert. So how important is… So The Well-Paid Expert is like, you know, your brand… like, your company, your brand sort of thing, right? How important is it to have something like that in your LinkedIn name?

Kathleen Celmins: It depends on… So if you don’t have a brand like that one, it might be better to put some description of what you do. I get people to respond because they’re like, “Ooh, Well-Paid Expert.”

Joe Casabona: Ooh, I want to be a well-paid expert.

Kathleen Celmins: And I’m like, Come on. Join me.

Joe Casabona: Joe, I can help you.

Kathleen Celmins: But I’ve seen it where it’s like your two-word tagline, you know. You can put it in your name. I think it helps a little bit. I don’t have good data on it other than just the gut instinct data that I feel like more people responded by to change that.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, right. And it makes sense, right? Because it kind of shows up quickly, Right? Again, if you look at this in Apple Podcasts or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, you’ll see that this is How I Built It-Case Studies and Coaching for Creators and Solopreneurs. That makes the show rank number one for coaching for creators, by the way.

Kathleen Celmins: Perfect.

Joe Casabona: And then the artist is Joe Casabona, Podcast Automations Coach. So again, if people go, “Oh, wait, what does Joe do? He doesn’t just talk to people? Like, he does this.” I think that’s helpful. So I should definitely update this. I’m ruminating as we recorded changing it to the Podcast Systems Guy because automations has like a bunch of different baggage. Is it like email automations or what? But that’s maybe something else we can hash out in the Pro Show. But if you want to get started today, number one, look at your LinkedIn profile and say, Would I hire this person? Right?

Kathleen Celmins: Not just that. Not even that far. But like, what does this person do?

Joe Casabona: Oh, I like it. What does this person do?

Kathleen Celmins: How does this person help me? Who do they…? Can I describe…? And not using somebody in a different generation. Can your grandma describe it? No. But can someone…? Like if you’re looking at yours… and it’s tough. It is so tough to step back from yours.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Because you know what you do, right?

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah.

Joe Casabona: But like, would I hire this person is a very subjective question, right? Like, you can’t go to your husband or wife or friend or whatever and be like, Hey, look at my LinkedIn profile. Would you hire me? Like, Well, I know you. So yeah, I would hire you. But like, look at my LinkedIn profile based on this, tell me what I do. Right?

Kathleen Celmins: Right.

Joe Casabona: Well, I know you’re a podcast… but does it say I’m a podcast coach anywhere, Right? That can definitely be… And again, you don’t want to go to your grandma I or my parents or whatever.

Kathleen Celmins: Find a colleague and swap.

Joe Casabona: Yes, find a colleague and swap.

Kathleen Celmins: Do it by someone else and have somebody else do it for you. I actually just talked to somebody yesterday who in my 30-day program I want to bring her on because she does rewrites in a done-for-you way, where she interviews you then she rewrites your about page and delivers that to you. I realize that that’s a lot. It’s a big sticking point for people that come in to my programs. So that’s going to be so fun when you get that knocked out of the park day one.

Joe Casabona: You know what I want to do here? Because I want more of… I’m like on the precipice of, I think, a hundred reviews or something like that on Apple Podcasts. The first five people who leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts and send me a screenshot, I will send your LinkedIn profile along with it and I will try to tell you what you do based on that. So there you go. We’ll see. Maybe that’ll get me five reviews. Fingers crossed.

Kathleen Celmins, The Well-Paid Expert, thanks so much for spending some time with us today. Where can people find you?

Kathleen Celmins: Thanks so much for having me. Thewellpaidexpert.com is the place to go for everything. I’m also the only Kathleen Celmins on LinkedIn. So if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, please do so.

Joe Casabona: Nice. And people are seeing your name somewhere in their podcast player, it is Celmins, C-E-L-M-I-N-S. People will want to say, I want to say Clemens. It’s not even close to that now that I’m spelling out loud. I don’t think I’m the only person to make that mistake.

Kathleen Celmins: No. And I married into it, so I get it.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Yeah. I see. On LinkedIn is Kathleen O’Malley. Are you Irish by chance?

Kathleen Celmins: Yeah. It’s funny because I can tell you this, that then people in my real life are like, What? But the reason I changed my name was because the Kathleen O’Malley is of the United States are pretty distinguished lot. Like we just retired from the Ninth Circuit Supreme Court as a justice. We are a blue ribbon baker in Wisconsin. I was like, there’s no way I’m going to rank on LinkedIn [inaudible 00:52:27] my name.

Joe Casabona: I’m grateful there’s only one… Well, there’s actually two Joe Casabonas. One owns like an oil company or something like that and apparently, he’s been giving my email address to people. So, Joe, if you’re listening, man, stop telling people to send me trade secrets to my Gmail account. But thewellpaidexpert.com. Kathleen Celmins on LinkedIn. Thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.

Kathleen Celmins: Thank you.

Joe Casabona: And thank you all for listening. If you want to hear Kathleen and I, Kathleen and me, if I’m being grammatically correct, if you want to hear Kathleen and me talk about creating tools for social media and maybe ruminating on my new title, you can become a member over at casabona.org/join for just five bucks a month. You can also find all of the show notes, everything we talked about over at howibuilt.it/329. So if you remember one URL, it is howibuilt.it/329. Thanks so much for listening. And until next time, get out there and build something.

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