What are your thoughts on the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI): vanity metric or valuable tool?
Some say it’s a helpful metric of performance on LinkedIn. Others say it’s a useless vanity metric.
Where do you stand? Do you use the SSI or even know what it is?
The validity and usefulness of the LinkedIn Social Selling Index continue to be a source of much debate among those in sales, leadership and digital marketing.
In this article, I give an overview of the LinkedIn SSI score and ways to utilize it to improve your social-selling and relationship-building efforts.
Ultimately, you need to answer the “how important is the LinkedIn SSI score?” question for yourself.
What is the LinkedIn SSI score?
LinkedIn describes its Social Selling Index as a “first-of-its-kind measure of a company’s or individual’s adaptation of the four pillars of selling on LinkedIn, based on a scale of 0 to 100.”
LinkedIn measures your performance in each of the four pillars, and the compound score is your Social Selling Index.
The maximum score for each pillar is 25. LinkedIn says the SSI is a “measure of a salesperson’s social selling skills and execution” and claims that “statistics show that as a salesperson’s social selling index rises, so does their sales success.”
The LinkedIn SSI score measures your or your company’s performance in four key areas, also known as the LinkedIn SSI pillars. They are:
- Create a professional brand
- Find the right people
- Engage with insights
- Build strong relationships
Under the first pillar, Create a professional brand, LinkedIn looks at the elements that reflect your professional presence on LinkedIn. For example:
- Do you have a complete and professional-looking profile that includes a cover photo?
- How many endorsements have you received?
- How many LinkedIn Publisher posts have you written?
- How many followers did you gain from your articles?
- How many page views are your posts generating?
- How many overall followers are you gaining?
To assess the second pillar, Find the right people, LinkedIn looks at whether you prospect efficiently, using its lead builder system. Are you finding the right people and reaching out to relevant people with useful information? It considers the data related to your connections and the acceptance rate of your connection requests.
That leads to the third pillar, Engage with insights. According to LinkedIn, it means to “discover and share valuable information to initiate or maintain a relationship.” This measures engagement. It looks at the number of shares, likes and comments your posts receive. It also looks at the messages you send and their response rate.
Finally, the first three pillars culminate in the fourth pillar: Build strong relationships. This pillar measures how successful you are at expanding your network to reach not only your prospects but also those who can introduce you to prospects. LinkedIn factors in the number of people searches you have conducted, profiles you have viewed and days you have been active.
LinkedIn calculates your score by measuring performance in each of the four areas. These elements include activities that can be done through Sales Navigator, adding metrics that measure quality as well as quantity, and including publishing platform activities.
The Sales Navigator data they look at includes:
- People searches in Sales Navigator
- Profile views in Sales Navigator
- Leads saved in Sales Navigator
- Accounts saved in Sales Navigator
- Lead and Account Lists created in Sales Navigator
What information can I gain from my LinkedIn SSI score?
From your LinkedIn SSI score, you can determine how well you are doing in building your profile to attract the right kind of clients while establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.
As you complete your profile with the customer in mind and publish meaningful posts, your professional brand score will begin to rise.
You can learn how to identify better prospects in less time by taking advantage of LinkedIn’s profile search function. As you find the right people to reach out to, your SSI in this area will increase.
Posting relevant content can help you become a trusted source of insights while engaging with insights from others. Also, engage in discussions with those in your network and the groups you are a member of.
Strengthen your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision-makers. Connect with contacts, and build a larger network. This gives you greater leverage in finding new prospects as well as getting a foot in the door with prospective clients.
How do I improve my LinkedIn SSI score?
LinkedIn and Social Selling expert Brenda (Zawacki) Meller of the Meller Marketing says there are several things you need to do to improve your SSI score, such as complete your profile, comment and engage with others and make a consistent update. In addition, share with others what you can bring to the table and why you would be the right person to meet the needs of your niche market.
Further, you can increase your visibility by posting and interacting with high-quality content helpful to and appropriate for your followers. Also, write endorsements for both customers and colleagues, and don’t forget to list your skills as a simple, efficient way to show your prospects how you can help them.
Brenda also recommends searching for and reaching out to viable prospects and utilizing warm introductions to grow your network. Also, take advantage of the Who Viewed Your Profile feature, and engage relevant viewers to expand your network.
Finally, connect with other users and start building the foundation of trust necessary for establishing and maintaining successful relationships.
After connecting, develop the relationship just as you would have before LinkedIn existed. Reach out to your prospects periodically at appropriate times, add value to them by sharing relevant information, and help them by sharing their updates and reposting what they’ve published.
What to focus on and what not to bother with?
Some have asked the question, “What should I focus on regarding the LinkedIn SSI score and what can I ignore?”
Because all four pillars are interconnected in determining the overall SSI, it’s not likely any of them can be ignored if you are determined to build a respectable score of 80 or above.
However, the first pillar – establishing your professional brand – is foundational even if you are not concerned with the other three. Many users establish their professional brand and do very little after that.
Serious LinkedIn users will want to engage in all four pillars to establish themselves as thought leaders in the LinkedIn community.
While the debate rages, you have to answer the following questions for yourself:
- Where do you stand on the score?
- Is LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index a tool you use or plan on using?
- If you are using it, what will you do to raise your SSI score and increase your social selling success with current clients and prospects?