The LinkedIn Social Selling Index has been available to everyone for around a month now so it’s high time we make a few reflections on it. What it brings to the table, what the issues surrounding it are and how to improve it. If you’re unfamiliar with the LinkedIn SSI check out our first blog introducing the tool here.
The first thing to say is that the Social Selling Index should not be a vanity measure. There has been some disagreement within the Social Selling community about exactly how valuable the SSI is. A lot of the measures LinkedIn uses to calculate the score are based on quantity of interactions rather than the quality of those interactions. If you get too focussed on simply making your SSI score as high as possible then it certainly could actually harm your effectiveness when it comes to making sales and closing leads.
Instead you should view your SSI as a measure to show you what you are already doing well and where you can improve. The quality of your interactions and general Social Selling should always be your first priority. Working with that mindset you can properly interpret the SSI and apply it. Social Selling isn’t something you should be doing ‘just because.‘ If that’s how you or your sales team feel then you’re not doing it right. Social Selling should be helping you hit quotas and generate leads. A high SSI alone will not do that. It’s important to keep the value of the SSI in context with your larger objectives.
Having a strong Social Media presence is a key part of properly maintaining your digital presence. If you were at a networking event you wouldn’t walk up to someone, say hello, take a card and never speak to them again. Not if you expect to make them into a meaningful connection and potential lead. Your digital presence is the same, Social Media is an extension of your normal networking activities, not seperate to them. Conduct yourself on Social Media as you would in the flesh, maintain your digital presence correctly and focus on quality interaction and the SSI will follow in due course.
All that said, here are our tips on how to go about pushing your LinkedIn Social Selling Index score up and making Social Selling pay in general.
Ensure Your Profile Is Properly Completed For Your Job Role
Many people leave their LinkedIn profile looking like that of a jobseeker. If you’re looking to get headhunted then that’s great, but if you’re looking to fill a Sales quota? Not so much. Depending on your job role you’ll need to give different emphasies throughout your LinkedIn profile. The key point to remember is to highlight why you are a trusted source of the information you’re looking to provide. Once your profile is up to scratch you need to maintain it, which means adding to it periodically. Beyond just making connections on LinkedIn you should try to be writing industry related, thought provoking or educational material and posting it. This sets you apart from other users as someone who can genuinly provide insights and advice.
We’ve written a free eBook to help you set up a LinkedIn Profile that’s ready for Social Selling.
Join Discussions & Contribute in Groups
It can be tempting to see joining groups as your way into a pool of new prospects and then to never contribute to the group. If you want your LinkedIn Profile to have the best impact then you want people to see you contributing rather than passively sitting back cruising for prospects. Once you’re in a few groups and connected to the right people this becomes easy. Checking your newsfeed a couple of times a day and spending 5 minutes writing a comment shows a willingness to engage and help the community beyond that of the average sales person.
Expand Your Network in a Targeted Manner
Don’t just connect to anyone. Depending on your industry and role you’ll want to connect to different levels of seniority within businesses. Use your posts, comments and shares on LinkedIn as a conversation opener. You can use InMail or mutual connections to prepare a prospect for you to connect to them. Once you make these connections you’ve got to nurture them. Social Selling is about building trusted relationships, not just seeing how many connections you can get. Interact periodically, watch out for Trigger Events and see what groups your prospects are active in so you can contribute there.
Ask For Feedback
A lot of people feel uncomfortable asking for Endorsements or Recommendations. But if you’ve delivered someone a valuable service then you absolutley should ask them for 5 minutes of their time to write a recommendation or at least a few clicks of the mouse for some endorsements. If you’re asking for a recommendation then it helps to give a few bullet points or leading questions in the request to structure the clients response and make it easier for them.
Sales Professionals who rank as ‘good’ at Social Selling are 51% more likely to hit their quotas than their counterparts that do not engage in Social Selling. If you or your Sales Team are unsure about Social Selling now is really the time to get on board. In fact we’ve written an article dedicated to why you should be Social Selling with some pretty compelling statistics inside!