The LinkedIn Social Selling Index, or SSI, has been around for years, but now that the entire globe is moving to a digital-first model, it has suddenly become more relevant. LinkedIn compiles data from your profile based on its four pillars of social selling and gives you a 0-100 score. Using these metrics, they’ve found that 78% of sales reps who score high here outsell their peers and create 45% more opportunities for themselves.
If you’ve been struggling with getting engagement on LinkedIn, here’s what you need to know to generate the sort of attention that can skyrocket your career and raise your Social Selling Index. Now that social selling has become the norm, it pays to figure out how to do it right and rise above your competitors.
Why Is Social Selling Important?
“Selling through social channels is the closest thing to being a fly on the wall in your customer’s, prospect’s and competitors’ world.” – Jim Keenan
Never before have sales reps been able to so easily reach out and connect with clients on a social level. Being able to follow your audience to learn about their likes, dislikes, passions, and goals can give your sales career a huge boost if you utilize it correctly.
Anyone who’s been in the sales industry for any amount of time knows that repeat, loyal customers are your most valuable asset. Building trust and relationships with your customers that go beyond dangling your products or services in front of them is vital to success in today’s world.
LinkedIn’s Four Pillars of Social Selling
Before you get upset that LinkedIn is crunching your data, take a step back and realize they’re actually giving you a powerful tool to improve your performance. Paying attention to the proven metrics of your Social Selling Index can help you take your sales skills to the next level. Each pillar makes up a possible 25 points out of your total score.
Establish Your Professional Brand
Making your unique presence known is the first step to establishing yourself as a leader in the sales industry on LinkedIn. Complete your entire profile with your customers in mind. Make it light and engaging to read by sharing instances where you’ve provided value to your clients.
Find The Right People
LinkedIn provides powerful search tools for you to find leads and network with others in your field. This metric looks at how well you’re establishing contact with 2nd and 3rd-degree connections using their tools. I’ll go into more detail on these tools shortly…
Engage With Insights
They’re also looking at the content you share. Your ability to be a thought leader and share useful, insightful information weighs heavily on your score here. Focus on quality rather than quantity of information. Make yourself an asset to potential customers by tagging them with information you think they’ll benefit from.
The larger your network is on LinkedIn, the more you’ll be able to build relationships with peers and prospects alike. Use TeamLink so your coworkers and colleagues can share warm introductions with you. Reach out to your connections periodically and engage with their content to raise your score here.
As you can see, they’re simply making a measurement of what makes a fantastic salesperson to start with! If you focus your efforts on LinkedIn around these principles, you should see a marked improvement in your results
Your Professional Brand On LinkedIn
Establishing who you are and the value you provide is the goal of your LinkedIn profile. Social selling means you’re putting yourself out there to connect on a real level with colleagues and clients alike. Your banner and profile photo should be high quality, and every section of your profile should be filled out.
Make the most of your profile by adding videos or presentations! The more informative and engaging your profile, the higher your score here will be.
You should also regularly create long-form posts (1900-2000 words perform the best) that share your expertise in your field. When you establish yourself as an authority, people will start reaching out to connect with you so they can gain from your knowledge.
Engaging with your connection’s content is part of this as well. Comment on articles and share them with your connections by tagging them. The more you engage with other’s content, the more visible you’ll be, and the higher your LinkedIn Social Selling Index will go.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is a powerful tool that lets you keep track of your leads, see who’s interacting with your profile, and reach out to your potential customers through 2nd and 3rd-degree connections.
You can use the unlimited profile search with advanced filters to zero in on the most relevant connections. Linking and connecting like this can replace cold calling with warm introductions from your current connections. This is why the size of your LinkedIn network is so important.
Sales Navigator also integrates with CRM databases, allowing you to save your search activity to your or your company’s CRM software. It is well worth the investment for improving your reach with this tool, as well as increasing your Social Selling Index.
If you’re not able to invest in this tool, you will get this part of your score from their regular profile searches, and the groups you’re a part of. Be sure to perform searches using their filters and reach out as much as possible!
What Makes Great Content on LinkedIn?
It can feel overwhelming when you look at all the professional, well-written content that’s currently trending on LinkedIn. There are some simple things you can do to make your content stand out and be competitive.
- Using images of yourself, clients, employees, and colleagues instead of stock pictures.
- Make it personable. Write as if you’re speaking directly to the reader to hook them in.
- Cover news and current events in your industry.
- Always respond to comments. The more comments a post has, the more visible it is.
- Post regularly, but remember that quality is better than quantity.
- Use videos! Video content does insanely well on LinkedIn.
- Statistics and infographics are extremely useful to your audience.
- Use striking headlines.
- Include a strong call to action to drive engagement.
Since LinkedIn factors your insightfulness and the value of your shared content into your Social Selling Index, creating high-quality content should be the main focus for your LinkedIn strategy.
Building Relationships on LinkedIn
Since mankind first developed monetary and economic concepts, a salesperson’s ability to connect with customers has been a necessary skill. This has not changed with the evolution of digital tech.
When you’re making connections on LinkedIn, it’s important to maintain those relationships by engaging with each other’s content. Reaching out with comments and messages is a great way to stay in touch. When you help others build up their connections and promote their content, they’ll respond in kind because LinkedIn rewards engagement with visibility.
If you work for a company or sales agency, look into connecting with your coworkers so you can access their connections (and their connection’s connections). TeamLink is another tool provided with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. You can use it to pool your agency’s leads and contacts to help your team be more successful as a whole.
Your score with this pillar is basically how active you are on the platform. Spending just a few minutes a day engaging with your connections can boost your score and get your own content more noticed.
Putting It All Together
“Selling to people that actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers that don’t.” – Seth Godin
All of this advice is geared to getting you and your business in front of the right people, as opposed to getting seen by countless multitudes who aren’t in your target audience. It’s as simple as that. In days gone by, a salesperson’s Rolodex or address book was their lifeline to branching out and making sales. LinkedIn is the modern-day networking tool for sales professionals.
Keeping an eye on this convenient performance monitoring metric can give you insight and help you fine-tune your efforts. Turn yourself into a social selling powerhouse. Today’s savvy and tech-forward customers no longer respond well to the hard sale and cold contacts. Building trust and relationships with your clients and peers is essential to your success. Work on improving these metrics daily to rank higher on the LinkedIn Social Selling Index.
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