Social selling is no longer a novelty — it is an increasingly critical component of successful B2B sales strategies. Considering 90% of top salespeople are leveraging social selling tools, it’s important to know where you stand among the competition. LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) allows you to understand, measure, and improve your social selling strength.
What is the SSI made of?
LinkedIn tracks your behavior on the platform and grades it using a formula based on top-performing social sellers’ behaviors. LinkedIn then generates an overall score between 1 and 100 that correlates how closely your actions on the platform follow those top social selling practices. This score is your SSI. The higher your SSI, the better your sales outcomes on LinkedIn are likely to be.
LinkedIn ranks your score against everyone in your personal network and industry over time, allowing you to see how you match up compared to both. For example, if your SSI is in the top 2% of those in your industry, your social selling practices are likely quite effective. If your SSI ranks lower, however, your sales outcomes are likely falling behind those of your industry peers. If that’s the case, it may be time to change your strategies and increase your efforts.
Four components comprising your LinkedIn SSI
The SSI is an aggregate score based on four major activities LinkedIn executives identify as key to driving social selling success. Your behaviors in each of these categories determine your general score and your overall social selling effectiveness. Four components of LinkedIn social selling are:
- Establish your professional brand. How well-constructed and engaging is your professional brand? This component includes your profile’s completeness, including your profile picture, professional headline, summary, skills, and experience as well as how often you share and engage with relevant content. Building a strong professional brand means 81% of buyers are more likely to engage with you online.
- Find the right people. Finding the right people is crucial to social selling success. Find connections who could view your relationship as mutually beneficial. Are they in your industry? Does your company offer a solution to one or more of their problems? Spending time reviewing who’s viewed your profile as well as researching, viewing, and saving prospect profiles can improve your score in this category and expand your professional network.
- Engage with insights. Content is key! Posting relevant articles and other insightful content, sending customized and personable InMail, as well as making intelligent and focused comments on others’ posts can help position you as a thought leader. This can not only keep you top of mind with your prospects but also boost your SSI.
- Build relationships. Relationship building is at the core of good social selling. Adding prospects to your network and reaching out regularly to key decision-makers can expand your network and provide you with greater social leverage in your sales process. It’s important to remember you are connecting with real people. Nurturing relationships with them as such will reflect on your score positively.
However, while your SSI score can provide calculations and insights useful for professional goal-setting, it’s important to avoid focusing on the number so much that you lose sight of its true purpose: strengthening your social selling skills. Just pressing the “connect” button on as many profiles as possible may boost your SSI, but it won’t drive positive sales results. The ultimate value of LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index is not in the insights it helps you generate but in the social selling behaviors it encourages.
Whether you are generating leads on LinkedIn or elsewhere, stay top of mind with a strong professional brand and proactively nurture those relationships as you guide prospects through the sales funnel. When the time is right, those relationships can yield valuable results.