In this article, I’m going to take you through my guide to your Social Selling Index (SSI). But first, let’s have a recap on Social Selling.
Social Selling is the art of striking up a relationship and rapport with a prospect, then nurturing the relationship until they become a quality lead. Instead of relying on the traditional method of cold-calling, social selling utilises social media to initiate and build a relationship with your prospective clients until they are ready to engage your services or buy your product.
I recommend that my clients in the B2B sector use LinkedIn to initiate those all-important connections that can lead to a long-lasting (and ultimately profitable) relationship, because:
Over 80% of all B2B leads generated by social media come from LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) Score
You can monitor out how well you’re doing at Social Selling by checking out your LinkedIn SSI score – that’s your Social Selling Index score.
It’s totally free and you don’t need any special subscription to view your stats. You can find it at:
Your Social Selling Index is a handy metric tool which gives you a rating on how well you are leveraging the platform for social selling, on a scale of 0 to 100, and measures how effective you are in 4 key areas:
- Establishing your professional brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging with insights
- Building relationships
Let’s look at how you can influence – and improve – each SSI measure in turn.
Establishing Your Professional Brand
Pay attention to your professional profile and make sure you include meaningful content for your readers. One of my top tips is to look through each stage of your profile and ask yourself:
‘Would I hire myself if I were in their shoes?’
Start by making sure that you have a professional-quality headshot photo – you want to portray yourself as competent, experienced and professional. Create a captivating headline and summary in the ‘About’ section – your headline is the most crucial part of your profile along with your photo as it creates that all-important first impression.
Ensure that your experience section is credible – before anyone will hire you for your professional expertise, they will want to see what you have actually done to justify their choice. Focus on your most recent and relevant experience and take the opportunity to include appropriate keywords relating to your expertise.
Showcase your skills – now is the time to tell your ideal client about your specialisms! Make sure the top three most relevant skills are listed first. Then ask for endorsements from people with whom you have good relationships, who are highly skilled within your field and have first-hand experience of your capabilities. The LinkedIn algorithm favours credible endorsements, so go for quality rather than quantity.
Finally, ask for (and give) recommendations – these provide great social proof of who you are and can often be a deciding factor in whether a prospect will reach out to you or not. If you can get 2-3 video testimonials from clients, even better – include them in the Featured section at the top of your profile as this can help boost your credibility and visibility.
Don’t forget to give recommendations to others too, as this is just as helpful to your professional brand – and your Social Selling Index score.
Finding the Right People
Using smart search tools like Boolean search can help you to specifically locate your ideal client. This allows you to target people more effectively, improving your Social Selling Index score, as LinkedIn sees you connecting and networking with the right people.
But what is a Boolean search? Sounds complicated!
In simple terms, it’s a targeted way of filtering out unwanted search results. Let’s say you want to find property developers. A simple search for the words property developer will bring back results including both ‘property’ and ‘developer’, even if they are not together, resulting in a lot of unwanted results.
Instead, if you use speech marks and search for “property developer”, you will return only profiles with those words next to each other. You can also broaden your search by using OR, so you could try looking for “property developer” OR “property investor”.
There are also options to use phrases such as AND, NOT, LOCATION – watch this space as this is just a brief taster of Boolean search, and I’ll be following up with an in-depth blog on this subject soon!
I’d also advise removing 1st-degree connections from your search as they are already part of your search and focusing on 2nd-degree connections instead.
Engaging with Insights
Your LinkedIn profile will be judged not just on the quality or regularity of content, but also the level of insight and engagement you offer. Aim to create more content which inspires discussion, debate, and conversation.
Develop content around relevant and topical industry news too. If you have quality content you are permitted to share, then do so using LinkedIn Pulse. This allows you to build up leads quickly and regularly, generating more interaction, thus improving your SSI score.
You should be adding content on LinkedIn to offer value. If they are encouraged to click on your LinkedIn profile, your network may be positively surprised to see you giving away free information, advice, and expert opinion. It immediately shows that you are a valuable resource.
Make the most out of the LinkedIn Groups function. Join specialist industry and local business groups and participate with proven tips and sound advice as often as you can. This will help boost your Social Selling Index score and establish your credentials as you interact with others related to your industry.
LinkedIn provides a powerful means of directly talking to key decision-makers and cutting out the middlemen. Use that to your advantage, making connections with more than one decision-maker per target client to ensure you are more easily noticed and remembered.
Again, being seen as a helpful and authoritative contact will build your kudos and status as a professional who respected individuals want to interact and build a relationship with.
If you implement the above tricks and tips, you should see an improvement in your Social Selling Index metrics. Your profile is then likely to rank higher as you will be ticking every box in terms of the criteria that LinkedIn looks for in its valued members.
I suggest that you take a note of your overall SSI score, as well as your scores for each of the 4 categories, both before and after you’ve followed this advice. You should start to see results as you start engaging more and driving interaction, making you a highly valued member of the network!