Whether you’re trying to find a new, potential client, expand your professional network, or you’re in the market for a new job, LinkedIn is the #1 online tool to help you achieve your business networking goals. Whenever you meet someone at a networking event or have a conversation with a new prospect, LinkedIn is one of the first-places professionals will go to find out more about you and your unique success story.
To be successful with your networking efforts, you need to make sure you quantify and monitor how you are using LinkedIn to maximize every possible networking opportunity. You need to come up with a networking game-plan to grow your professional network. One way to accomplish this is by monitoring and tracking your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI).
Monitoring and tracking your Social Selling Index will help you understand more about how effective you are with LinkedIn... Does your LinkedIn brand grab and keep the attention of your audiences? Is your Social Selling strategy manageable and consistent? Are you helping your audiences learn how to solve their most pressing business challenges with your content? Are you using LinkedIn on a daily basis in just 15 to 30 minutes per day to find, connect, and develop relationships with your key contacts and prospects so you can ultimately take your online discussion offline?
Learn how to reach for the stars!
In this article, I'll define Social Selling and walk you through how to find and maximize your SSI so you can reach for the stars and achieve your networking goals. You’ll learn the importance of Social Selling and how to find and track your SSI on a daily basis so you can monitor and adjust your LinkedIn Branding and Social Selling tactics and strategies to get even better results.
Social Media has forever changed the way we do business
Social Media has changed the way in which we communicate with others. In years past, we would send emails, make phone calls, and meet with our key contacts and prospects face-to-face to accomplish our networking goals.
Today, with the popularity of Social Media and digital marketing, we send emails and text messages from our computers and digital phones and jump on our favorite websites and Social Media platforms to find answers to our most pressing questions and business challenges.
Your key contacts and prospects are using Social Media to find more information who you are, what you do and how you can help before they make a buying decision. They search and read about topics of interest and make business decisions based on their research findings. They're making educated decisions based on the information they get from their key influencers, Social Media posts, and blog articles they read on the internet.
What's the difference between Social Media and Social Selling?
There is a big difference between Social Media and Social Selling. Social Media is like throwing a party. You've got to invite the right people, get some great tasting food, and hire a great band to create an event the everyone will remember and talk about.
Social Media is very similar in that you have to create and post great content on a regular basis to entertain and educate your audiences; keep up with the comments and questions from those responding to your Social Media and blog posts; and build deeper relationships over time with those who connect with you online.
Social Media is like throwing a party
Social Media is like throwing a party. It's all about connecting and communicating with others on the most popular Social Media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. With Social Media, you can connect with new "friends," promote your personal and company brands, and sell your products and services with short, easy-to-understand content that your followers can quickly scan and review.
Just like throwing great parties, the goal of your Social Media strategy should be to create lots of fun, pique the interest of others and get them to read your content and follow your one or more of the Social Media platforms. You need to get your key friends and followers to share your content with others to spread the word about you and your companies' brand.
Social Selling is like going deep sea fishing
Social Selling on the other hand is like going deep sea fishing where you have to have the right fishing gear, the right tackle and the ultimate goal is to land that fish. This is how Social Selling works... It’s all about finding, connecting, and developing relationships with your key contacts and prospects over time so you can ultimately have a conversation with your "connections" offline.
So, whether you want to build your professional network, sell your products or services, or you’re trying to land your next dream job, you’ve got to have a great LinkedIn Brand and Social Selling game plan that that will empower you and your team to find, connect and develop trust and rapport with your key contacts and prospects so you can ultimately have an offline discussion.
Speaking with people face-to-face is still the most effective way to communicate and build trust and rapport with others over time. LinkedIn is a great place to find, connect and learn more about your "connections", but the ultimate networking opportunities will happen when you take your online discussions offline.
Offline is where the real Social Selling magic happens. Remember, if you try to sell on LinkedIn, or any of the other Social Media platforms, people will unfollow or unconnect with you or even worse, block you altogether in anticipation of future unwanted communications or sales pitches.
So one of the best LinkedIn suggestions I can give you is to build your professional network on LinkedIn. Then, once you have developed some trust and rapport with your new connections, get into the habit of taking your online discussion offline.
Never sell on LinkedIn. Instead, use LinkedIn as a very effect online networking tool to find and connect with others and build some trust and rapport over time. Then, set up a convenient day and time to talk in person, over the phone or on Zoom.
What is the LinkedIn Social Selling Index and why is it important?
LinkedIn launched the SSI performance evaluation process back in 2014 to help business professionals measure the effectiveness of their LinkedIn Brand and Social Selling tactics and strategies. LinkedIn is also trying to motivate you to subscribe to their Sales Navigator premium premium version of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn research shows us that professionals who maximize their Social Selling efforts will outperform their peers who are not using Social Media. According to LinkedIn, professionals who have higher SSI will create 45% more opportunities and be 51% more likely to achieve their sales goals when they use Social Selling.1
1 linkedin.com website
How do you find your Social Selling Index Dashboard?
To find your SSI Dashboard go to: linkedin.com/sales/ssi. Your SSI Dashboard showcases your Industry and Network SSI at the top and your overall SSI, which is located next to the pie chart towards the middle of the page. Once you find your SSI, you can monitor your performance and make an needed edits to your LinkedIn brand or Social Selling tactics and strategies.
What’s a good Social Selling Index?
Your overall SSI will range between 1 and 100. It shows you how well you are using LinkedIn on a daily basis to find, connect and develop relationships with your key contacts and prospects.
Your "Industry" and "Network" SSI is located at the top of your SSI page and should be in the top 5% to 10%. Your overall SSI should be 75% or higher range. Setting a target at 75% or higher will help get more exposure for your profile and your posts... that will lead to more engagement and reach!
What are the 4 LinkedIn Social Selling Pillars?
LinkedIn created 4 "Social Selling Pillars" to help you calculate your overall SSI. Each SSI Pillar is weighted equally and is worth 25% of your overall SSI core. And, your overall SSI is updated daily.
Monitoring and tracking your SSI will help you measure, track, and modify your LinkedIn Branding and Social Selling tactics and strategies on a daily basis. Achieving a high SSI will help establish you as a industry thought leader and key influencer. It will make it easier for you to connect with decision-makers, professionals and companies who can buy your products and services, or make you an offer for your next dream job.
Social Selling Pillar #1 - Establish Your LinkedIn Brand
Your LinkedIn brand should tell people who you are, what you do and how you can help within seconds. You need to show those who view your LinkedIn profile and read your content that you are an industry thought leader, someone who has the answers to those pressing questions and needs your key contacts and prospects have.
You also need to keep your LinkedIn brand in front of your audiences so they'll think of you the next they want to talk with someone with your unique talents, services or products. You can do this by consistently responding to and creating great content in your LinkedIn Newsfeed.
Complete all sections of your LinkedIn profile. Aim to achieve the "All-Star" level of completion. For example, you should have a branding headline at the top of your profile that tells people who you are, what you do, and how you can help within seconds.
Please go to linkedInTips.com to download my white paper which details my LinkedIn Branding and Social Selling tips and strategies, the steps you need to take to maximize your LinkedIn networking efforts.
Your ABOUT section should be written in first person and detail more about you, your successes and how you can help others. It should also include a Call to Action (CTA) at the end of your About section to motivate others to connect with you on LinkedIn and pick up the phone and call you to talk about their needs.
You’ll also want to monitor the number of page views, followers, and connections you get on a regular basis. Your goal should be to get 3 to 5 profile views per day. You can monitor this by clicking on the “Who’s viewed your profile” link in the left sidebar on your LinkedIn HOME page.
Also, make sure you demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise by liking, commenting, sharing, and posting great content to your LinkedIn Newsfeed on a regular basis. Are you creating informative content that is helpful and educational? Do you create posts and articles on LinkedIn that get lots of likes, comments, and shares from your audiences?
Answers to these and many other questions will demonstrate your brand effectiveness and serve as a measurement of your overall LinkedIn networking success, something you should track and monitor on a regular basis.
Social Selling Pillar #2 - Find and Connect with the Right People
Use Boolean Searches to find your key contacts and prospects you want to do business with. Boolean searches allow you to refine your search results so you end up with a much more relevant, smaller list size of prospects you can reach out and connect with on LinkedIn. Your SSI will go up when you use advanced Boolean searches to find and connect with your key contacts and prospects.
Social Selling Pillar #3 - Engage with Insights...
Spend just 15 to 30 minutes per day on LinkedIn. One of the most important things you can do on LinkedIn is share your thoughts and expertise by liking, commenting, or sharing 3 to 5 posts per day. Your knowledge and expertise will show up in articles you create or share in your LinkedIn Newsfeed. This content strategy will influence others to follow, connect and learn from you.
You also should curate one to two articles per week that you bring in from other sources. Repurpose some great content from your favorite websites and share it in your LinkedIn Newsfeed on your HOME page.
I have found that there’s not a lot of great learning content in my LinkedIn Newsfeed, so I always write or bring in some great articles that will help my audiences learn and grow professionally.
Use Feedly which is a great news aggregator that will allow you to quickly access great articles that you repurpose and upload into your LinkedIn Newsfeed a couple times a week. Feedly is so easy and fun to use, and it's a great way find some meaningful content you can quickly share with your LinkedIn audiences.
The free version of Feedly is perfect for most users; however, I pay a small fee to get even more great options. Go to buzzpro.com/resources-tools to get more details on how to use the Feedly and be empowered to quickly source some great content that you can repurpose and place into your LinkedIn Newsfeed.
You also get additional SSI points when you create your very own “article” on the "LinkedIn Pulse" blogging platform. Go to your HOME page and click on “Create an article” and follow the app instructions.
Create stunning banner images with Canva!
Use Canva to create great, eye-catching banner images. Upload a great banner image and a great, short article on a topic of your choice that your readers will love.
It takes a little more time and effort to do create your own article, but the value to your audiences is much greater and your SSI will increase when you create your own content on LinkedIn on a regular basis.
You can find more details about Canva at buzzpro.com/resources-tools
Social Selling Pillar #4 - Build Relationships
Building relationships is the most important of all metrics used to calculate your overall SSI. It’s the key to your networking success. Remember, people want to do business with those they know, like and trust.
So, you want to make sure you increase your SSI to ensure you are doing everything you can to develop relationships with you key contacts and prospects on LinkedIn so you can ultimately take you online discussion offline.
Top 5 tips that will help you increase your Social Selling Index?
1. Create a one-of-a-kind brand that stands out from the competition - Create a stunning LinkedIn brand that tells people who you are, what you do and how you help within seconds. Go to linkedintips.com to download my LinkedIn Tips which details how to create a well-branded LinkedIn Profile brand step by step.
2. Become an active LinkedIn user - Become an "Active LinkedIn User" in just 15 to 30 minutes per day. Log into LinkedIn and look at the top of your LinkedIn profile to see if there are any red circles with numbers. If so, click on these links and respond to all post comments, accept any outstanding connection requests, and respond to any important notifications on a daily basis.
3. Create targeted quality content on a regular basis - Create and engage with helpful content that will showcase your knowledge as a subject matter expert and help your audiences solve their business-related challenges. Keep front of mind with your key contacts and prospects, so they'll think of you the next time they need some help.
Go to your HOME page LinkedIn Newsfeed and like, comment or share on 3 to 5 posts per day. Also, bring in some fresh content and curate one to two articles per week by using Feedly as a resource for your new content.
I use Feedly to source all of the article I post outside of the blog articles I personally write. Develop a reputation for helping others and provide great content.This will keep you front of mind for any future opportunities.
Keep your online conversations going in your LinkedIn Newsfeed by always responding to those who comment on your posts. Like, comment and share the great contact that shows up in your LinkedIn Newsfeed. And reach out and send a connection requests to those who show an interest in you and your content.
4. Build and grow your network - People like to work with professionals they know, like and trust. So, implement my “25,15 and 10 Social Selling strategy” to find, connect, and develop solid relationships with your key contacts and prospects…
1.) Send 5 or more LinkedIn connection requests per day to targeted contacts and prospects
2.) Connect with 3 to 5 new connections per day
3.) Pick up the phone and have a couple of conversations per day
If you implement my 25,15 and 10 Social Selling Strategy, you'll get 60 new LinkedIn connections and have 40 sales conversations per month. Having these types of results will dramatically increase the probability of you achieving your networking and business relationship building goals!
Remember… nothing happens until you have a sales conversation. So make sure you are taking your online discussion offline and having at least 2 conversations with you key contact and prospects per day.
Get into the habit of using LinkedIn on a daily basis for just 15 to 30 minutes per day, and make 3 to 5 introductions per week. Because of the Law of Reciprocity, they'll often return the favor and introduce you to some new connections that just may turn into new clients.
5. Monitor your SSI on a weekly basis - Review your SSI on a weekly basis and make any needed changes to your LinkedIn Branding and Social Selling tactics and strategies. Your overall SSI should be in the mid to upper 70's. So, set up and implement a system that will make your Social Selling process easy to manage in just 15 to 30 minutes per day.
Using LinkedIn Social Selling is a great way to find, connect and develop relationships with your key contacts and prospects. So make sure you review and track your Social Selling Index at linkedin.com/sales/ssi on a regular basis.
Your Social Selling Index is updated daily, so check your SSI often to track your progress. It’s a great way to monitor how effectively you are at using your LinkedIn Brand and Social Selling tactics and strategies to accomplish your networking goals.
Make any needed changes to your LinkedIn Brand and Social Selling tactics and strategies to further improve your business networking results. Create a Social Selling strategy that's easy to implement and manage, and monitor your SSI on a regular basis so you can lock in your networking success with LinkedIn.