LinkedIn is all about authority, credibility and building relationships.
But the truth is, few people pay attention to those things – not, at least, in the right way. And let’s be honest: LinkedIn is not an easy social network to understand.
I’ve said that LinkedIn is about authority, credibility and building relationships, but if you think about it, our personal relationships are based on the same fundamentals.
Let’s think in the context of a networking event. We’ve all been there. People coming in and out, talking in small groups, exchanging business cards, shaking hands, and so on.
A networking event shouldn’t be a place to make sales, but a place to gather great contacts to expand your business in different ways.
The thing is, people often leave a networking event with a bunch of business cards – and engage with nobody. We all think, “Oh well, I can contact those people any time because I have their contact details.” We rarely do that – and if we do, they have to make an effort to remember your face.
On the other hand, the ideal situation is when everybody has engaged with you, your work and your story – and is ready and willing to do business with you after the event.
Of course, that’s not as simple as having a gadget on your wrist that measures your success at a networking event and the things you need to improve to achieve your greatest potential.
But wouldn’t that be great?
Wait a minute – did you know that LinkedIn actually gives you that tool?
It’s true. LinkedIn reads all your activity and “calculates” your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (LinkedIn SSI).
In other words, LinkedIn is telling you why you aren’t engaging the way you’d like to and tells you the key areas where you need to improve.
LinkedIn is a massive networking event, running 24/7, open to a global audience.
I this post, I’ll tell you how to check your Social Selling Index – and more important, what the key factors you need to focus on to improve it.
Do you know your LinkedIn Social Selling Index?
Let’s be honest.
Did you really know there was such a thing? Did you know that LinkedIn has a Social Selling Index that measures your activity, and therefore your chances of successful selling on LinkedIn?
I want you to check your LinkedIn SSI right now. You just need to be logged in to LinkedIn and click this link.
This is my own SSI. As you can see, it looks pretty optimized. If you check the top right corner, you’ll see that I’m in the Top 1% of my industry.
Now compare your LinkedIn SSI score with your average industry profile.
If you take a look at the bottom of the results page, you’ll see something like this:
That gives you two important insights: first, how people in your industry are doing. And second, your relative position in your network.
This is very important, because it puts your LinkedIn SSI in context and gives you a guideline for improvement.
Now let’s take a quick look at the 4 key factors that LinkedIn says can improve your SSI score.
NOTE: Linkedin premium won’t improve your Linkedin social selling index, you can check this post if you are wondering LinkedIn premium is worth it.
Establish your professional brand
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile may sound basic, but it’s still is one of the most important things to improve.
I’ve said it a thousand times, but I’ll say it again: LinkedIn is not an online CV. And if you’re treating it like one, you’ll never get the most out of this social network.
I have a whole online course dedicated to explaining to my customers how to optimize their LinkedIn profile for a reason.
As a quick tip, I’ll tell you that you need to focus and pay special attention to your Headline, Summary and Experience sections.
The best way to create a compelling LinkedIn profile that connects and engages your target audience is to do it with the customer in mind.
This is not about you. I’m sorry, but this is not the place to brag about you. This is where you explain to potential clients (or recruiters, or colleagues, or business partners) the unique value you can deliver to them.
Adding media files to highlight your key expertise improves your SSI score
You can add media files to your profile – videos, PDFs, images and external links, whatever.
The point in adding these complementary files is to show that you have a background in what you’re talking about.
You might prove this through a great case study, video interview, podcast episode, infographic, etc…
Find the right people
Connecting with key people and generating real opportunities is the essence of LinkedIn.
The first thing to do to find your target profiles is use the main search (or the advanced search in Sales Navigator, if you have the chance).
So far, so good. But things get interesting when you start following up on your customized searches and find new profiles in your filtered search.
Every new targeted profile is both a new opportunity to connect with a potential client and a new connection that will give you access to other contacts.
Here are two ways to save your searches:
Use LinkedIn native searches. Find this feature on the right side of your results, after you do a search.
You can save the search and set up an email alert to send you any new profiles that match your filtered conditions.
The bad news is that you can save only 3 searches.
If you want to save more than 3 searches or want to manage this on a spreadsheet, for example, you can use the second method.
Once you do a search by applying the filters you’re interested in, simply copy the URL into your browser.
Just like this:
Simply copy and save the URL to get access to your search and keep all the filters you applied in the first instance.
This way you can find the right people, over and over again, and save tons of time.
Engage with insights
The next step to improved an SSI relates to the information you send to your LinkedIn community, whether it’s on purpose or not.
Every single time you interact with your connections – for example, by sending an invitation request, commenting a group post or sharing an article – you share your insights.
The perception of those insights from your network represents your credibility and authority, and therefore, affects your engagement.
That said, paying attention to your insights is extremely important if you want to build a long-term relationship with your connections.
If you share relevant content, you’ll become a trusted source
You can find loads of content on the internet. But let’s be honest – most of that content is not worth reading.
If you can curate, or even create, original content that brings high-quality value to your network, you will be seen as a trusted source.
You will deliver information worth reading in a crowded and noisy world.
LinkedIn Groups – groups of targeted profiles with similar interests – is a perfect place to share this valuable content.
I suggest that you create what I call a “Group portfolio”, and start using it to share your most brilliant content and interact with other members.
PRO TIP: You can boost your engagement and credibility by creating a discussion on LinkedIn groups. Choose an interesting topic, craft a question and ask the other members to share their opinions.
As you can see in my example below, 10 people commented on the discussion in a group of 5K members, which is not big for LinkedIn. If you look at the average post on LinkedIn groups, 10 comments is a pretty good result!
The 3 I’s Rule: Connect and build relationships
Let me introduce you the 3 I’s rule. It’s actually very simple – but it’s always tempting to write a guide and include some kind of mnemonic rule, right?
Next time you send an invitation – and you should be soon, because you have already saved your searches, right? – I want you to personalize your invitation message.
This has, as well, a positive impact on your LinkedIn social selling index.
Never use a default message on an invitation request.
So, before sending your next invitation, go to the option “Add a note” and write your customized invitation. It should always include their name and the main reason why you want to connect.
Introductions are the most powerful way to reach new profiles you don’t know. Let me tell you how this works on LinkedIn.
Let’s suppose you want to contact Tom (see the image below), but he is a second-degree connection, so you can’t send a direct message to him.
What you can do is check the common connections that you and Tom share. In this case, I just need to click on that 92 shared connections to see their profiles, choose one that is more indicated and ask for a formal introduction.
As a final step, interactions are highly important on LinkedIn. As you can see, most actions, like asking for an introduction, require a previous relationship with your connection if you want to get good results.
There is no point asking for somebody you’ve never spoken to before to introduce you to one of their contacts.
So start interacting with your connections as soon as possible – by helping, talking, sharing, inviting them to have a coffee, meet them at an event, etc.
I’m sure these tips will help you to improve your LinkedIn social selling index and your overall success on LinkedIn.
Please share your questions and current LinkedIn SSI results with me in the comments section below!