LinkedIn isn’t just for job hunters and recruiters anymore. For a while now, LinkedIn has been one of the best social selling tools online. Used properly, it can help you expand your network, establish thought leadership, connect with decision makers, and increase your revenue.
To make the most out of this social networking platform, you need to know how social selling works. Social selling involves creating organic conversations around your products and services. Even without the traditional sales pitch, these conversations can lead to sales.
One of the tools LinkedIn provides to help you improve your social selling game is the LinkedIn Social Selling Index or SSI. This is not a well-known feature, but it can help your marketing efforts tremendously.
LinkedIn describes it as a “first-of-its-kind measure of company’s or individual’s adaptation of the 4 pillars of social selling on LinkedIn, based on a scale of 0 to 100.”
The LinkedIn SSI measures how effective a company is at connecting with their targets and building relationships with their leads. These insights will improve your LinkedIn outreach significantly. Your score is updated daily, and you can check your own LinkedIn SSI online for free.
Your LinkedIn SSI is actually important because it also determines the rank of your profile. According to LinkedIn, marketers with high SSI create 45 percent more opportunities compared to those who have lower LinkedIn SSI.
To put it simply, if you want to improve your LinkedIn marketing outreach, you should refer to your LinkedIn SSI and work on getting a higher rating.
Here we will talk about how you can increase your LinkedIn social selling index.
The 4 Pillars of LinkedIn SSI and How to Boost Them
Each of the four pillars of LinkedIn SSI has a maximum score of 25. By looking at each pillar’s score, you can tell how good your social selling skills are.
The four elements of social selling according to LinkedIn are the following:
- Establishing your professional brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging with insights
- Building relationships
The idea is that as your SSI increases, so should your sales. But some marketers and salespeople debate about how accurate this is, and whether or not it is actually a good way to determine someone’s skills. But at the very least you can get an idea on what to improve upon. If one of your SSI pillars is low, you need to put a little bit more effort into it.
How to Establish Your Brand
The first pillar of LinkedIn SSI is establishing your brand. If you’re marketing yourself through other channels, then your brand may already be defined and polished. All you have to do is make sure the same message is reflected in your LinkedIn profile.
If your branding isn’t on point, you have to start by optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Always keep your target audience in mind. Give them all the information they need so that they can connect with you. Complete your LinkedIn profile: add a profile picture, banner image, summary, etc.
You also want to establish yourself as an industry leader, and you can do that by providing high quality content regularly. Content marketing works great in LinkedIn because you get to show off your knowledge while attracting the attention of your target market. It is also a good way to give them an idea of who you are, what you do, and what your brand is all about.
Establishing your brand is all about getting your name out there. It’s also about building your reputation and showing your credibility. You can share recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn to show prospects that you are worth looking into.
How to Find Your Target Audience
The second pillar of LinkedIn SSI is finding the right people. By now you are well aware of your target market and where to find them on social media. Maybe you’re focusing on LinkedIn because you know this is where they are hanging out online.
Finding the right people is also about lead generation and outreach. As you know, this is an essential part of any LinkedIn campaign.
You can expand your network by adding people you know in real life: friends, colleagues, family members, former classmates, etc. You can also use LinkedIn’s recommendations to find other potential connections.
If you want to expand your reach beyond that, you should join LinkedIn Groups that are related to your niche. Be an active member of the community by commenting on posts and occasionally sharing your own content. Become a familiar face so it is easier to add them into your network later on. People are more likely to accept a connection request from people they know.
You can also use a LinkedIn automation tool like Kennected to make this process easier. Kennected uses LinkedIn’s data-rich filters to help you find your ideal targets. You can then use Kennected to send messages automatically—but not in bulk, as if you were sending them yourself. Kennected sends personalized messages and follow ups. This increases your chances of getting a response and not getting marked as spam.
Take the time to get to know your target audience and post about the things they care about. By being proactive, you can find the right people on LinkedIn more easily.
How to Engage with Insights
The third pillar of LinkedIn SSI is engaging with insights. This comes up once you’ve built your brand and started connecting with the right people. The challenge is to create more conversations around your products and services—organically. So this means you can’t just rely on advertisements.
Creating and growing relationships begins when you start engaging with your audience. When people comment on your content, don’t forget to respond. Try to start a conversation there. The LinkedIn algorithm rewards posts that have high engagement, and by doing so you can extend the lifespan of your content.
When people post reviews, try to reply to them whether they left positive or negative feedback. You will boost your engagement either way. You will also demonstrate how involved you are with your community.
Your LinkedIn SSI will increase as you get more likes, comments, and shares on your posts.
How to Build LinkedIn Relationships
The fourth pillar of LinkedIn SSI is building relationships. LinkedIn marketing is not just about selling: it’s about building strong connections. The more you value these relationships, the more effective you will be as a marketer. Social selling is effective because it is organic and built upon the idea of genuinely helping other people achieve their goals.
Provide value to your community even before they convert into a paying customer. The more people you help, the more credible you become, and the more business will come your way.
Establishing trust is not an easy thing to do—but if your branding is effective, you will quickly become a household name. Eventually, building relationships will become easier.
Those are the four pillars of LinkedIn SSI. Check your score today and start working on a higher score. Keep track of your sales as you work on your LinkedIn SSI and see if it makes any difference. It can give you a solid idea of what you need to work on and how to take your brand to the next level.