I have mixed views on LinkedIn’s SSI score (Social Selling Index). Part of me thinks it’s a very clever tool that LI has developed to keep you on the platform but I can’t deny those that achieve higher scores see improved opportunities. (This backs LinkedIn’s claim that those who achieve 70 or higher, see 45% more opportunities and are 51% more likely to hit sales targets.)
It's great to log in and see you've achieved 'social leader' status on LinkedIn. But it's even better when the sales or career opportunities start rolling in as a result.
- Establishing your professional brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging with insights
- Building relationships
So it's not surprising that your score is a pretty good indication of your social success
Most of us are aware of the basics like optimising your LinkedIn profile not spamming your network and joining relevant groups. But if you want to take your LinkedIn SSI score from average to “all-star”, here’s what we know...
SSI Pillar 1: Establish Your Professional Brand
LinkedIn’s own SSI help section lists some obvious tips:
- Fill out all profile sections - headline, summary and experience
- Include a photo
- Increase your endorsements (after all, it helps prove your skills). Offer to help others
- Share high-quality, helpful and relevant content with your follower
And some less obvious tips:
- Add rich multimedia content highlighting you as a thought leader. Consider SlideShares, published work and videos (which see 3x more engagement than text-only posts).
- Write long-form posts related to your professional experience or industry trends. (Surprising, but perhaps this is to encourage native ‘mini blogs’.)
And here are additional optimisation tips that we’ve seen make a difference:
- Include a background cover as well as a profile photo.
- Endorsements should be relevant. You can easily dilute your professional brand if your specialities aren’t clear. with too many skills. Consider pinning your top three skills so that people know what to to endorse you for.
- Generate followers from your long-form posts. Not so obvious and we’re guessing this is just about LI wanting to see genuine engagement in what you do?
SSI Pillar 2: Find The Right People
People often believe that finding and connecting with people is enough (the more, the better). Yet LinkedIn emphasises that you should identify better prospects, quicker and with the right tools.
LinkedIn isn’t stupid. This pillar encourages the use of Sales Navigator with ranking factors such as:
- Carry out advanced account searches
- Save leads
- Use the Lead Builder tool
However, there are a few tips everyone can implement:
- Carry out advanced people searches. Use the advanced search feature to filter results or carry out Boolean searches to identify the ‘right people’.
- View people’s profiles. Don’t just search and connect or message! Show that you’re doing your due diligence.
- View your third-degree connection’s profiles (a “prospecting view”).
- Look at who’s viewed your profile. These are warm prospects, so ignoring this sends the wrong signals!
There are also a couple of curveballs for this pillar:
- LinkedIn looks at your number of active days - whether that be on LinkedIn.com or Sales Navigator. (This may be at odds with how you prospect most efficiently.). Increase your inbound profile views It’s slightly surprising, as that is your prospects finding you...
SSI Pillar 3 : Engage With Insights
You’re probably already aware of the basics to help you establish trust and engagement:
- Following relevant industry or topic hashtags e.g. #SocialSelling #Finance
- Join relevant groups (and engage with them)
- Comment on and share other people’s posts
Many people assume that these tips only serve to discover share-worthy content and create a sense of give-and-take.
But they’re also a ranking factor for this pillar in their own right. In fact, LinkedIn’s engagement factors include:
- Likes comments and reshares that you give
- Likes comments and reshares that you receive
- Reposting other people’s content
- Groups joined
- Your inMail or connection request response rate. Make it personal and relevant. You can ask your second-degree connections to introduce you or look for common interests by following their activity
This may seem like a lot of work, but it can all be done in just 10 minutes a day. The trick is to make it part of your routine. (See how we do it at Tribal Impact. Download our 10 Minute Coffee Cup Routine.)
But LinkedIn is a little sneaky. Your connection acceptance rate will be much higher with the insights Sales Navigator provides. They also include ranking factors that you can’t carry out unless you’re a LinkedIn Sales Navigator user:
- The accounts you’ve saved.
- Research views (account page views + homepage scrolls in Sales Navigator)
SSI Pillar 4: Build Relationships
Again, people are often surprised: surely, if you’re not interested in social selling then who you’re connected to doesn’t matter? Unfortunately, it does.
Here’s what your score is based on:
- Total number of Connections. The total number of connections.
- Vice President level + connections.
- Internal connections (with other coworkers).
- The acceptance rate for connection requests sent.
You can improve your LinkedIn SSI score in just 10 minutes a day, with noticeable improvements within a month. But remember: there’s more to social selling than LinkedIn. And even more importantly: you can take it offline too!