Growing Your Visibility on LinkedIn: A Case Study with Sophie Pyne, LCSW

May 22, 2024

Episode 58: Growing Your Visibility on LinkedIn: A Case Study with Sophie Pyne, LCSW

Sophie Pyne is a nonprofit founder, private practice therapist, creator of the Ocean Healing & Therapy online group coaching program, and so many other things! Her lived experience is the silver thread that ties it all together. As Sophie became LinkedIn-curious to grow her visibility and business(es), she joined the LinkedIn Content Sprint. This podcast episode shares a case study of what can be possible when you consistently show up on the platform. 

From reconnecting with old colleagues who became donors …. to attracting students into her group coaching program … to spreading the word about surf therapy as an evidence-based practice – this episode covers so much!

“What I really loved about the LinkedIn Sprint was it gave you this template in this journey of bringing people through something that they could understand how [your offer] would be helpful in their lives.”Sophie Pyne

Sophie’s journey of long term recovery

T: I am so grateful and happy to have my dear friend Sophie Pyne with us today. My friend who I have known now for over a decade, I want to say, in many different capacities and I don’t know the word reincarnations almost comes to mind for me because Sophie is so many things from a licensed clinical social worker and a private practice therapist, a sound healer.

She is the co-founder of this incredible nonprofit Waves of Recovery. She is a fellow Pisces and avid surfer and ocean lover and has an amazing group program that teaches. healers, how to integrate the power of the ocean into their business. And of course, like I could keep going, the list goes on and on, but let me just stop here and say, hi, Sophie, thank you for being here.

S: Hello. Thank you so much for that beautiful introduction. And I feel like, oh my goodness! When you used the word reincarnation, that really resonated with me because I just celebrated 10 years of sobriety on April 26 and that’s really what connected us in the first place. If I think about my own journey, how we met, and what’s unfolded.

So, it’s really wild to think about, first of all, celebrating 10 years of sobriety and what’s unfolded over the last 10 years. And really, what has unfolded is beyond my wildest dreams and not anything I would have thought about when I first got sober. So, I guess I can tell you a little bit about my story and where I come from and what’s unfolded, what my life looks like today.

I’m a person in long-term recovery and I went through most of my adolescent and young adult life really struggling with substances. and brought me to some really dark places. I say all of that though because I feel like I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t go through those struggles. And those struggles have really helped me turn them into strengths and realize my purpose and my passion and my power to now be able to do the work that I do today. So, through this journey of getting sober, going to a women’s treatment center, when I was a junior in college, coming back to campus, and being able to graduate with my master’s in social work has really given me this opportunity and foundation to give back to other women what I was given and to my community, of course, too.

When I first got sober, I think the big question comes with what does my life look like now? What am I going to do? All I really knew was how to drink and use to the point where it was unhealthy. And so how do I actually live a life that is meaningful, that’s purposeful, and that I actually enjoy as well?

So, over these past 10 years, I’ve really had an opportunity to create a life that I really love. From graduating with my master’s in social work, I worked in the addiction and mental health treatment field for many years. I actually was working more on the business development side, if you will. I worked at the program that I went to after treatment, which was a college program supporting young adults in finding their own path back into college and how to be a college student and be sober and learn to really thrive. From there, I also started my own private practice as well, and so was doing some clinical hours on the side, and it was the Pandemic.

I feel like a lot of people talk about the pandemic and how, yes, it was a really challenging time for a lot of us, something that a lot of us… well, really, all of us experienced, right? And it gave me an opportunity to reset, and it was during the Pandemic that I almost feel like I had this second rebirth, if you will, where I realized that the work that I was doing, yes, was contributing back to the place that I perhaps had also found my sobriety and learned how to be sober in college. But it got to a point where I felt like I wasn’t really fulfilling my purpose in life. And through all of these interesting and wild events that happen in life that sometimes you can’t really explain, I actually met my partner of my nonprofit, who is also my fiancé now and I’ve really created a life that I feel is very authentic to who I am.

So, I dove back into my private practice. I spent time building my own business. I left the other company, and that was a really scary thing to do. I think for a lot of us… Well, I guess I’ll speak for myself too, building yourself up to a place where you have your own business and your own brand and your own story to share can be really scary to step outside and to put yourself out there really.

So, that was something I really worked through during that time, about three years ago, and I also engaged in other programs and coaching and trainings because I wanted to start adding different modalities into my private practice into how I was working with the community that were not just traditional talk therapy.

And these were all things that really supported me on my own journey of healing and my own journey of recovery that I thought there’s probably something here that if it’s resonated with me and if it’s something that I practice on the daily or I’m consistent with, it may help other people too. And so, over the course of the last three to four years, I’ve also done sound healing training. I learned to surf and now have integrated those things into how I work with other people, which really birthed all these other programs that I’ve created over the last three years, including our nonprofit, Waves of Recovery. And then now my ocean healing and therapy programs.

So, I really feel like all these different things that were happening in my life when I really reflect back, it’s almost as if they were guiding me to this place that I am today where there were signs or there were things going on internally that I couldn’t really ignore anymore that I really had to allow them to come to the surface, illuminate them, understand what was happening, and then allow myself to really let life unfold in that way and not necessarily worry about the outcome or try to control what my life looks like, versus just allowing myself to flow.

And that’s the beauty I think that I really learned over the last four years of starting my own business and starting this nonprofit.

LinkedIn vs. Instagram

T: I’m so just happy to see how all of these different pieces of the mosaic of your story have come together to now be very integrated, very genuine, very authentic. You do so many different things, but they tie so beautifully together. Like, it makes so much sense to me. how that silver thread wraps through everything that you do and you’re bringing in your lived experience, your education, your professional know-how, your relationships, your influence, your power to really just create healing in so many different ways. And it’s incredible to see. 

I also want to touch upon the piece about how you said that it can also be really scary. I don’t always see that in terms of, I don’t see the scary moments, it just looks like you’re just in flow. But I intimately know how scary it can be to put yourself out there and really share your vulnerabilities. But I know that when you do that, it attracts the right people who are meant to be in your life. world and your ecosystem. 

So, I want to ask you a little bit about that process because for the majority of the time that I’ve known you, we’ve been able to really stay in touch, not just in person, but through your Instagram. And I’ve seen you do sound healing on the beach. And I’ve seen you do advocacy in the recovery community or whatever you are doing on Instagram, you were very active there. Can you tell me a little bit about your process of why or how you became LinkedIn curious and decided to show up on LinkedIn?

S: Yeah, absolutely. So, I feel like we have all of these incredible tools nowadays that allow us to put ourselves out there to really connect with communities all over the world, which is really cool. Technology is great in that way. And when you were just talking about Instagram, it’s interesting. I feel like a lot of us on Instagram are showing that highlight reel, like all the beautiful things about life, which yes, there’s a hundred percent beautiful things happening in the world. And as you said, and as I said, too, there’s also this vulnerability and these scary moments and these obstacles that we all have to face in life, and sometimes Instagram doesn’t really show that side of life. 

I can also, just when I reflect back on sharing on Instagram, normally what I’m sharing is all this beautiful, positive stuff. But what I notice on Instagram, when I do get real and vulnerable, that actually connects way more than all the pretty stuff. So, there’s something to be said about being real and authentic. 

What sort of attracted me to start exploring LinkedIn was more of this sense of professionalism on LinkedIn. I’ve dabbled here and there on LinkedIn since I graduated from my master’s. I want to say that’s something that I felt like everyone should have a LinkedIn profile.

It’s professional. It’s almost like your resume, but on a profile, right? Or that’s what I thought it was. And as I started my own business, I realized that a lot of the people that I connect with, for example, on Instagram are, yes, my community members, potentially there’s other people or other influencers in my space or other colleagues in my space that are also on Instagram. But it felt more like we’re not here perhaps to necessarily make deeper connections. 

And that’s what I found really attractive about LinkedIn, or this is how I perceive LinkedIn, is people who are going on LinkedIn are perhaps sharing from a place where they’re sharing knowledge or they’re sharing their beliefs and their values and their opinions about certain subjects or certain areas. I’ve noticed there are a lot of people on there who also are experts, perhaps in their field, who are sharing research or articles or interesting things that are happening in the world that I probably would never find on Instagram. 

So, I actually found that connecting with people on LinkedIn has helped me to really make connections with more people in my profession or more people who are interested in things like ocean therapy or nature therapy or things like that. It’s also led to some, yeah, really beautiful connections of just other clinicians in my area, networking in that way. And I find that with LinkedIn, it’s not really like you’re updating every hour of your life on there. You can actually be really thoughtful and really have less of the day-to-day happening and more of a, what I love that you call it, you can be lazy on LinkedIn, you can post there, and you still are able to make these beautiful connections with people. So, I’ve really enjoyed exploring it. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with people who I probably would never have found before. 

And I know from other friends, this hasn’t necessarily been my experience, but job opportunities have come from LinkedIn. I know that they’ve been highlighted for articles they’ve written, so I think there’s just a lot more depth, if you will, to LinkedIn than there is on other social media channels, if you will. 

T: Yeah, I think that’s a great way of sharing it. I love how you put that. For me, and you and I think both, I think are very attracted to depth over reach or going deep versus wide.

So, it always has just naturally appealed to me. And I think I haven’t really maybe even put that together that was why, it’s the opposite of small talk. It’s if you’re going to be on LinkedIn, you’re going to go deep and actually talk about, like you said, your beliefs and your values, or at least that’s what I have found maybe does the best or creates those relationships that we want.

LinkedIn for nonprofits

T: So, in terms of relationships, you brought up a couple of different ways to be on LinkedIn and I want to delve deeper into some of those specifically. 

Let’s talk first about your nonprofit, which is Waves of Recovery. You and your fiancé have this incredible nonprofit that helps individuals who are in early recovery connect with Mother Ocean and how beautiful and how incredible it is to be in the water and just experience something so much greater than ourselves, and so tactically as well. I love your work, but I would love to know how LinkedIn has helped you fundraise, reconnect with relationships, or just otherwise supported your nonprofit mission?

S: That’s a great question. And I think something that I’m continuing to explore for sure. But in terms of our nonprofit and our ways of reaching other people, I think by me just sharing about the work that I’m doing, it has helped me to reconnect with other people in the field who perhaps have had no idea that I transitioned out of my previous job and now started Waves of Recovery.

It’s helped us to reconnect with partners in a different way. It’s helped us to actually connect and develop relationships where we now provide surf therapy to that treatment center, which has been amazing. It’s also helped us to connect with other community members who perhaps are interested in either volunteering or supporting or donating as well.

So, I think, again, going back to the professionalism side of LinkedIn, it’s really helped us to connect with people I feel who are more invested in the quality of work that we’re doing and the impact that we’re having in our community.

It’s also helped us really connect with other surf therapy organizations all over the world, which I think is really incredible because when we think about the use of hashtags as well, it’s cool to see it start to grow and see people start to follow that particular hashtag, for example, because we know then that the work that we’re doing or the research that we’re doing is actually contributing to this greater mission of really elevating surf therapy as an evidence-based practice in the world. 

So, I feel as though it’s just, again, going back to the depth side of things, like I feel like it has really deepened my connections with people and helped us to just also raise the awareness in a way that I feel like other platforms perhaps can’t do as well and fingers crossed that we get a big donor from LinkedIn for sure.

T: That is so good. And can you think of any specific examples, Sophie, where maybe somebody from a previous role or somebody from a previous job was able to reconnect with your work today from LinkedIn? 

S: Yes. So, this all actually just happened last month when I was working in my old role at the previous treatment center that I worked at we had investors at that organization, and we had kept in touch here and there since I left and since they moved on as well. 

Randomly, we’ve kept in touch actually on LinkedIn throughout the last three years. And he had reached out to me, I want to say about a year into Waves of Recovery and just sent me a nice message on LinkedIn saying really incredible work that you’re doing, would love to learn more. 

We were all busy at the time. Of course, life happens. So, we didn’t reconnect until December of this last year, and I had actually reached out to him and said, I might need your help with fundraising. And we didn’t end up talking again until he reached out again in March, and I had randomly been booking a trip to New York to see my brother in New York.

You know how things just all sort of align. I said, I’m coming to New York in March. I would love to see you. I’d love to share more about Waves of Recovery. I’d love to share about our work. And we actually met in New York about a month ago. And from that connection, from that dinner, he actually gave us a very generous donation.

And I feel as though just those little bits and pieces that I’ve been able to share on LinkedIn almost perhaps sparked his interest in this work that we’re now doing in this way of still staying connected. And he’s someone that really believes in mental health care and supporting our communities. And so, it just all really aligned and has been a beautiful blessing for us too, of just these, again, connections from my other job, but that have also supported us in this way.

So, yeah, that was really exciting to receive. I want to say one of our bigger donations that we’ve received over the last two years. 

T: That’s such a perfect story for what happens on LinkedIn, because like we started the conversation off by saying, people on LinkedIn are not necessarily updating it hour by hour what’s happening in their life. Like, these high-powered investors and movers and shakers and decision-makers and people with access to resources are probably checking it every couple of weeks, they’re not on there all the time. But if you are consistently showing up and sharing your story and your values and your passions, the people who are loosely in your ecosystem are going to take notice, especially over time.

And I truly believe that’s not a coincidence. There are no coincidences. And I’m so proud of you, by the way, for asking for this major gift. I know that that can be scary too and I’m just, I’m so proud of you.

S: Thank you. And I just want to say, I think part of it too, for me has been having coaches, having advisors, having people in my ecosystem as you’re sharing that have really been so supportive in my own journey of not only building my business, but then helping us grow. And you’re one of those people, by the way.

So, I really appreciate all of your support. And I think it’s so important that we continue to grow and evolve and put ourselves in spaces and places with the people that inspire us with the people that support us. Because that’s how we can actually create greater change is by doing it together versus doing it alone.

LinkedIn for growing your group coaching program

T: I have another question. So, we talked a little bit about Waves of Recovery, but in terms of your group coaching program, your three-month group coaching program, the Ocean Healing & Therapy Program ….you did the last Sprint right around the same time that you were launching this program for the second cohort.

And I would love to just hear from you. How was showing up on LinkedIn? Like, how did it help you grow that group program? 

S: Yeah. So, I absolutely loved the Sprint. First of all, I want to say the prompts were so helpful. Because sometimes you’re writing stuff and you’re like, I don’t know if this sounds like anyone’s going to resonate with it.

I do love writing, but I also feel like I’m someone who just writes and can babble on similar to when I’m talking, it just goes on and on and there’s no stop point. So, I really feel like having those prompts helped me to succinctly say what I needed to say and hopefully landed with some people for sure. 

But yes, it was right around… I was doing the launch for the Ocean Healing & Therapy Program and what really helped I think doing the LinkedIn Sprint was one, it helped me with consistency of showing up. So, it helped me to consistently create posts that were not only engaging but also asking people questions or asking people to reflect or yes, having conversations with people on LinkedIn with the things that I was sharing. And it also gave me an opportunity to shout out people that I was bringing into the program. So, I have masterclass teachers, for example, in OHTP and I was able to shout out people like Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, the author of Blue Mind, and then he gets to repost it to his community so I’m really reaching a larger audience as well, which was really great because that also helps me to raise awareness about the work that I am doing through the program and how people can really take what he’s written and put it into practice. And I think also just creating this community of people that are, again, really interested in your subject or in your content and becoming an expert in that field.

So, that was really helpful, too, because I did get inquiries for the Ocean Healing & Therapy Program through LinkedIn, and I did have a student sign up through really connecting through LinkedIn as well. And so again, I think it was having this consistent message going out. 

And it wasn’t all about “join my program” it was more sharing from a way that was authentic, that was real, that was also giving people an opportunity to have a conversation rather than being super salesy. So, that’s what I really loved about the LinkedIn Sprint was it gave you this template in this journey. of bringing people through something that they could understand how this would be helpful in their lives.

Yeah, and again, it didn’t feel salesy at all, which nobody loves sales, and nobody loves someone who’s pushing you into something, it has to feel aligned. And so, I do feel like the LinkedIn Sprint helped me to get really clear on who I am speaking to as well. I gained new followers just from what I was sharing and what I was posting. And so, that I think also really helped me to think about my own strategies going forward. 

T: First of all, thank you for sharing that. That really makes my heart and my soul happy for many reasons. Like, one, I love that you’re able to grow your business from it, but also, I love that you’re just showing up in a different way and seeing what can be possible.

Something that you said earlier is that this isn’t just about growing your business, it’s also spreading the good word about surf therapy and cementing it as an evidence-based practice, which it is, and sharing the research and reaching those people who are curious about it. Maybe they know about it, but they don’t even know that it’s something that they can do, especially because maybe they don’t live by the ocean, but your content is educating them and answering these objections and answering their questions in a way that makes them want to ask more questions and get into relationship with you, which is what I really saw happen. As an outsider who was looking in, as you shared your posts, you really got a lot of people showing up and asking you deeper questions, which I just, I loved that. I loved it.

S: Yeah, it was really fun. And I think again, it was like people that I probably would have never connected with in any other way. Like, how would they find me? I’m not sure. So, it was really lovely to be able to connect on a more professional platform as well. Because when I think about the work that I am sharing and doing today, it is very different from just Instagram and that sort of community. It’s really, as you said, more educational and supporting people, perhaps in a bigger capacity than other things that I do.

How thought leadership on LinkedIn builds confidence

T: How has writing that batch of content through the Sprint or how has showing up as a thought leader on LinkedIn shaped the ways that you are showing up in the world outside of LinkedIn? 

S: That’s a great question. It’s interesting. I sometimes still feel that imposter syndrome because there’s definitely people in the field, like the author of Blue Mind, Dr. Nichols, who is actually an expert and wrote a book. Sometimes that imposter syndrome creeps in because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, you are literally the person that inspired my work and you’re talking to me. This is so cool. I feel so small compared to you”. But it’s not true and I think by defying that, by continuing to show up, by continuing to use my voice, by continuing to share my values. 

I have noticed perhaps more self-confidence that comes from the way that I talk about it with other people, just more self-confidence in the work that I’m doing by having people like him sit in on my masterclasses and actually share about this program.

So, I think that by putting ourselves out there, yes, there can be those voices in our head that are like, “You’re not good enough”, or “You’re not a PhD” or whatever that is, but by being consistent and by continuing to show up in the way that we do, the more confident we’re going to feel. I think that just happens, the more consistent you are.

I think it also helps me to perhaps also become more succinct and more intentional about what it is that I’m sharing. Because there is so much that we can talk about and there is so much that we can share, but it’s also starting to figure out what are the things that people do really resonate with, what are the things that are perhaps going to shift and change the way someone else is going to think about something, or how can this be an opportunity to further educate somebody? 

So, I think also by showing up on LinkedIn, it’s helped me to craft my message, craft my elevator pitch, craft all these other ways that I show up in the world because I’m constantly again, going back to the results, if you will, of thinking what landed with people, what resonated with people and are those things perhaps that are going to be helpful in the long run for people to understand and things that I should talk about more.

So, yeah, it’s been really helpful. I think for myself to also get over myself. We’re all going back again to the lived experience. No one else can tell my story like I do. When I think remembering that piece too, that yes, there’s all this research, there’s all this evidence, there’s all these theories that we can share. But again, when you add the component of your lived experience to that, or the experiences your clients are having, or what you’re seeing in the world as a result of utilizing the research and utilizing the theories and all of those things, I think that’s what connects for people more. 

T: A hundred percent, 10 times out of 10 that is exactly what connects with people. I really love everything you said. It makes so much sense. It makes me think of the time that I interviewed Denise Brosseau on this podcast, and I talked about burnout and thought leadership with her, and she really said thought leadership is a relay race.

So, in a lot of ways, the gentleman that you mentioned, he’s in some ways passing the baton to you, like you showing up and sharing more about his work just makes both of your missions stronger. And I don’t know, I’m just going to keep reflecting on that. I really, really loved what you had to share.

Sophie’s dreamy vision of mental health and wellness

T: As we wrap up, I always love ending with this question. And I especially love asking my fellow Pisces this question because it’s so good. 

What’s your dreamy vision for the future?

S: What is my dreamy vision for the future? Wow. I feel like that is a very big question. I have so many big visions and big dreams for the future.

And I think when I try my best to answer that question, my hope for the future is that we live in a world where we can all access mental health care wellness in a way that really resonates with us coming home to our true nature. I truly believe that there is so much in our backyard, in our environment, in our communities that can really support us in becoming the most authentic versions of ourselves and we’ve strayed so far away from that. And so, my hope is that we can really allow ourselves to find those tools to, first of all, support ourselves, but then be able to support our overall community so that we can live in harmony with one another. 

So, that is my big, dreamy vision for the future.

T: That’s perfect.  It’s the big dream, the big vision, because that’s what you’re working towards in your business and that’s what’s driving you forward. But I want to thank you so much for being here. And I really appreciate you sharing your experience with us.

Linkedin helped us to connect with people who are more invested in the quality of work that we're doing. It's also helped us connect with other surf therapy organizations all over the world.

Resources from this episode:


Get ready to join (THE FINAL) LinkedIn Content Sprint in June – doors open for registration on Tuesday, May 28th. Get on the waitlist here (there’s only 15 spots available.)

Other Campfire Circle podcast episodes I recommend:

Episode 45: Thought Leadership on LinkedIn: A Case Study with Kel Haney

Podcast Episode 33: Breaking Down The Barriers Behind Batching LinkedIn Content

Podcast Episode 5: From Leader to Thought Leader (with Denise Brosseau)

Connect with Sophie Pyne

Nonprofit: wavesofrecovery.org 

Website: sophiepyne.com

LinkedIn: Sophie Pyne

Instagram: @oceangoddesstherapy 

Connect with Tania Bhattacharyya:

LinkedIn: Tania Bhattacharyya

Website: lumosmarketing.co

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