What is Social Selling?
If you’re a business on social media, you are most likely already involved in the practice of social selling. It’s basically utilizing social media to create relationships and build trust with consumers to increase your chances of turning them into your customers. But its also the careful balance that takes so that you are not spamming them, and driving them further away.
Even though having a social media strategy for your business on any network means you are engaged in social selling, we see that term much more when it comes to LinkedIn.
Those who do well connecting on LinkedIn are referred to as Social Seller leaders.
What is an SSI?
SSI stands for Social Selling Index, and you may not know this, but if you have a LinkedIn, you also have an SSI score. Your SSI is based on 4 factors, known as “LinkedIn’s SSI Pillars,” and each of them are worth 25 points, making 100 the maximum total. The 4 pillars are:
1.) Create a Professional Brand – Complete your profile with the customer in mind. Become a thought-leader by publishing meaningful posts.
2.) Find the Right People -Identify better prospects in less time using efficient search and research tools.
3.) Engage with Insights – Discover and share conversation-worthy updates to create and grow relationships.
4.) Build Strong Relationships –Strengthen your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision-makers.
Everyone’s score is updated daily based on these factors and I’m sure by now you are wondering what your score is. You can check by clicking the button below (your score won’t be shared with me).
So does SSI really mean anything?
LinkedIn defines the SSI is a “measure of a salesperson’s social selling skills and execution”. LinkedIn also claims that “statistics show that as a salesperson’s social selling index rises, so does their sales”.
The following figure is provided by LinkedIn and their research.
There are many, however, that question the validity of the score and see it as a way for LinkedIn to push its Sales Navigator. And supporting that, while doing a few simple tasks daily can raise your score quickly, it can drop just as fast if you start to slip up (more how to increase your score in a little bit).
Social Selling Trainer Dave Howe calls LinkedIn’s SSI score “The ultimate vanity metric of the social selling world.”
“People proudly wear their SSI score like a badge of honor – reaching a score above 80 is truly thought of as a rite of passage.”
While LinkedIn trainer Mike Shelah commented on his belief that the system is biased stating,
“I had a score in the mid-90s for quite some time and then it dropped 10 points one day. It was unclear as to why. I will say it happened around the same time I stopped using the LinkedIn blog platform and then sharing those blogs to my groups. The biggest revelation for me was the 80/20 rule is in full effect: 80% of people on LinkedIn seem to be casual users, at best, and the other 20% of us dominate the platform.”
Raising your SSI
There are lots of simple things you can do to raise your SSI score. Since the art of social selling is about sharing valuable content in the hopes prospects will hear about you, learn about you, and then trust you, so that you can sell to them, it should come as no surprise that engagement on the platform largely influences the score. But let’s break it down by pillar.
Create a Professional Brand
Ensure that your profile is filled out completely. Engage daily by liking, sharing, commenting and posting. Scores can rise and fall quickly, so do these things daily. You should also aim to post a long-form original article at least once a week. Also, work on increasing your endorsements and recommendations from other people.
Find the Right People
Use LinkedIn’s search tool to find other industry leaders as well as prospects. Look through your connections and find ways to move from “cold outreach” to a “warm introduction” (as LinkedIn puts in). Either way when asking to connect with people, be sure to include a personalized message of how you heard of them (for example where you saw them speak) or any type of message that puts your request to connect into perspective for them so they aren’t confused by the ask. Join LinkedIn groups to talk with and meet more people. Take notice of reach out to people who have viewed your profile. Save your leads using Sales Navigator or Lead Builder.
Engage With Insights
So this pillar is more about engagement, and in a way builds on the first one. Once you’ve created your brand, you don’t want to start there, you want to continue liking, commenting and sharing as well as sharing your own industry-related insights. You should also join and keep active with groups as well as utilize InMail, and send out messages as well as promptly responding to incoming ones.
Building Trusted Relationships
So this one is referring to expanding your circle. LinkedIn will also evaluate the strength of your connections and so you should connect with decision-makers or strong status individuals (VP+). Use your mutual connections to help you connect with more people. But don’t overreach, as LinkedIn also takes your acceptance rate into account. It’s better to target valuable prospects than simply mass message people.
Wrapping it up
Ultimately, staying engaged on LinkedIn will help your score and the experts say even 10 minutes a day of TLC (plus your occasional long-form article) can help raise your score.
So what do you guys think? Is SSI a valid tool or vanity metrics? Will you be working to increase your score?
Or if this topic isn’t new to you, do you have any advice or insights to share?
find this article and comment here
And check out our article about LinkedIn content