LinkedIn is no longer just an employment-focused and job-searching platform; it is now a popular and competitive social selling tool. So, if you are a sales professional, it’s time to boost your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) score.
LinkedIn allows you to measure your social selling efforts by providing an SSI score between 0 and 100. Only you can see the private score, but data allows you to compare yourself to others in your industry and network.
If you want to be considered a thought leader in your industry and hit your sales target, LinkedIn recommends an SSI score of 75 or higher. The four components that contribute to your SSI score are:
- Establish your professional brand
- Find the right people
- Engage with insights
- Build relationships
Sales professionals with a strong SSI score have 45% more sales opportunities than those who don’t. Here are four ways to boost your LinkedIn SSI based on the above components:
Optimize Your Profile
Optimizing your profile allows you to establish yourself professionally and build relationships with the right people. A double whammy for boosting your SSI score!
Firstly, ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete with all the information the platform requires. This includes a summary of yourself as a professional, your location, a headline, a current job title, job experience, certifications, education, volunteer work, spoken languages, interests, and skills.
LinkedIn has now reduced the effort required in profile building even more by introducing an AI-powered tool recommending personalized ways to present your skills and experience in the About and Headline sections. However, make sure to proofread this and edit it to suit your usual writing style, as you don’t want your connection prospects to detect AI-writing.
In addition, ensure you have a professional-looking profile photo. It doesn’t have to be a headshot from a photographer, but if you are taking the photo yourself, try to avoid:
- Using an outdated image.
- Having too much background or a distracting background (your face should take up at least 60% of the frame).
- Using something of poor quality.
- Wearing an outfit that you wouldn’t wear to work.
Create And Share Own Content
Creating and sharing content allows you to establish yourself as a professional in the industry and showcase the value you bring to potential social buyers.
Sharing relevant content that others have created is one thing, but publishing your posts is a great way to showcase your expertise to your network and beyond. On a LinkedIn poll, users voted that articles (31%), photos (27%), and text posts (25%) were the most popular forms of content.
In addition, adding relevant and trending hashtags will increase the visibility of your posts and attract the right audience.
Build A Network
Connecting with the right people who can provide value to your network is vital to boosting your SSI score. This includes co-workers and professionals in your industry, as well as thought leaders, current customers, and prospective ones.
You can use LinkedIn’s search filters to search for connections by their name, company, job title, location, and industry.
Once you have found the right person, ensure that you personalize connection requests and outreach to demonstrate you’ve done your research and have a genuine interest in connecting with them. Here are some ways to personalize your outreach:
- Use their name – This is an easy personal touch that shows that you took the time to do basic research.
- Include mutual connections – If you have a mutual friend or are part of the same LinkedIn group, then mention it to help establish a common ground.
- Include mutual interests – In addition, if you have any mutual interests, then mention these to build a relationship beyond just a professional one.
- Mention a recent article or post – If they recently shared content that you found interesting or valuable, tell them, as this shows that you pay attention and are interested in their work.
- Explain why you want to connect – Explain and be clear about how your background or experience aligns with theirs and how you think you can add value to each other’s networks.
- Offer value – Share an article or a relevant resource with them, or even offer to introduce them to someone in your network who could help them.
However, remember you can send only 100 connection invitations each week, so be smart about who you request and track your outreach success to adapt accordingly.
Engage With Your Network and Their Content
The more connections you engage with and relationships you build, the higher your SSI score will be. In addition, regular engagement with your network can help increase your credibility as an industry thought leader.
LinkedIn is available as a smartphone app, so it is easy to actively follow your network’s activity, engage with their content, and check in with them regularly. If you make a genuine effort to show an interest in your connections, they’ll respond more warmly towards you.
Engagement can include:
- Liking shares, posts, and comments.
- Being active in groups.
- Commenting on posts or taking part in discussions.
Social selling is about creating organic conversations about your products or services that eventually lead to sales conversations without any of the traditional pitching methods. Here are some reasons why commenting is an essential form of engagement on LinkedIn:
- It boosts engagement – Comments keep the conversation around a post alive and will likely be interacted with through likes or replies.
- It strengthens relationships – Engaging with someone’s content shows you value their perspective. This can build and strengthen professional relationships.
- It positions you as a thought leader – A well-written comment can showcase your expertise on a subject, helping you emerge as a thought leader in your industry.
- It drives profile traffic – When you comment on a post, it enhances visibility, and a reader’s curiosity may force them to check out your profile.
Paul Sowada, Market Development Manager at Binocular, said: “Social selling is taking out the pitching component of sales. You’re creating conversations about your product and services which organically can produce sales conversations.”
As you implement the above strategies, you should begin to see improvements in your SSI score. However, social selling is a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort, so regularly review your SSI score and identify which of the four key components need improvement.
While seeing your SSI score increase is exciting and rewarding, remember this also means your overall effectiveness in using LinkedIn for social selling purposes is increasing, and you should be generating more sales.
Ready to check your LinkedIn SSI? Click here to get your score.