It took me a literal 5 years in business to join LinkedIn. ‘Cause I was a little freaked out about a platform ostensibly made for corporate folks — a world I escaped almost immediately post graduation.
As a creative and entrepreneur, I felt intimidated and confused about how to make it work for me. But over the past year, I’ve found a select group of creatives who are using LinkedIn effectively to drive business (without coming across like they stole a template from one of those bro-y LI gurus).
At the top of that select list is Andrea Pascual, a designer who gets a whopping 50% of new business from her LinkedIn content.
I interviewed her to pick her brain about how she approaches the platform to drive business (not JUST build a personal brand).
Here’s our conversation, edited and condensed for clarity — link at the end to listen to the full, raw interview that’s more like a podcast!
What percentage of your business comes from your LinkedIn activity?
So interestingly enough, 50% of my projects are from LinkedIn. But when we’re talking about leads, 48% of my leads are from LinkedIn. So I tried to break it down a little bit there, but yeah, the majority of my leads and client projects are from LinkedIn.
Interesting — it’s slightly higher for the percentage of clients that you agree to work with. So definitely your content is working. Out of curiosity, what are the other lead sources other than LinkedIn?
The second lead source that comes in second is referrals. Behind that, Slack, and right behind that are Facebook groups. Those are the top three lead sources after LinkedIn
None of your content is explicitly promoting your services. Like the typical, “Hey, I’m accepting new clients,” or even that structure that’s, you know, “If you’re struggling with this, I can help you solve this” type of content. Yet, it’s still driving sales. So what is your secret?
I start from a point of what is my offer, similar to what other peers like other brand designers do. They start with that as well, but I approach the content differently. I like to approach it in a more conversational way, and I don’t like to push the CTA on every post. So when you’re following me or reading my content, it might take you a few months to gather the story and understand what I do. To me, it’s kind of like more of a long-term relationship building online by telling you pieces of my story and showing how great I am at branding, then gaining trust and getting those leads. So I don’t push for the “work with me” type of posts. I use a longer approach to getting my business.
So, when you say you’re sharing pieces of your story, do you mean your personal history? What’s included in your story?
For example, I also have a background in fashion, and when I first started posting on LinkedIn, I was telling the truth about the fact that I, before like 10 years ago, I was lost on my brand identity. I had no brand strategy. It was just, I had a couple of logos, slapping them on. There was no cohesion to my brand until pre-COVID. I had some time to think about my brand strategy and I applied it to my own fashion brand. That’s when I saw I was actually building an audience, and people understood what my brand was about just by changing the strategy and identity alone. So I kind of like to pull from my past and use examples of how branding has worked for me.
Can you share a specific case where your LinkedIn presence led to someone reaching out?
One recent lead was a fashion brand, and they reached out to me because they liked my writing, clarity, tone of voice on LinkedIn, and they felt that it was suited for their brand. Also, I do talk about diversity and women-owned businesses. There was one recent prospect who stands for that so strongly in her business, so she reached out to me because of it.
I’m imagining that gives you a higher quality of lead generation. The people coming in are really like, “We want Andrea,” not just like, “We need a graphic designer.”
Yes. Until I saw the numbers, I didn’t think about that, but they’re super aligned, especially from LinkedIn.
Can you break down the anatomy of a great LinkedIn post for you?
I have a structured approach to my posts, focusing on branding and graphic design. It begins with a captivating hook to stand out in the limited space on LinkedIn. Then, I weave storytelling into my content, often drawing from relatable experiences. After that, I support my argument and showcase expertise, typically discussing aspects like colors or local design. I wrap it up with a subtle call to action, making my content engaging and informative.
Do you have a LinkedIn post that you could read?
This particular post begins with a logo featuring vibrant colors, emphasizing that it’s still just a logo. I then introduce a personal touch by sharing my preference for black coffee with a hint of milk, despite not considering myself a coffee connoisseur. I briefly recount experiences with coffee, from Stumptown at the Ace Hotel to local shops in Vancouver, and even a gift of a Breville espresso machine.
I playfully mention my preference for coffee without intending to provoke a dispute, highlighting that Starbucks is not my top choice. Instead, I express appreciation for Starbucks’ global recognition. I link this to branding and brand strategy, emphasizing the importance of starting with strategy before design preferences. The post combines storytelling, showcasing expertise, and ends with a subtle call to action.
🎧 Listen to the full, unedited 25-minute interview with Andrea, like an exclusive podcast ➡️ Click here to listen.
About Andrea: Andrea Pascual is a brand designer for diverse founders with a POV.
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