When we talk about social selling, LinkedIn’s SSI (Social Selling Index) is not far behind. Let me be clear that the SSI, just like KLOUT, is vanity number and does not buy you anything.
However, the SSI score can give you some insight on what you could be doing better to become a successful social seller.
Let me try and give you some ideas on what the SSI is really telling you and give you some tips to change your behaviour. As an additional benefit, your SSI score will benefit.
“Establish your professional brand”
You want to be perceived as a professional and resource for your clients and prospects. A low SSI score indicates that you are not seen as a resource of professional in your line of business. Here are four tips to make your LinkedIn profile as professional as your business card and have everyone talking about your skills and talents.
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Tip #1: Bring your profile to “All-Star” level by completing as many fields as possible with relevant information for your potential clients. And yes, you have heard this before!
Tip #2: Add multi-media to your profile just like when you show up at clients, you have presentation material with you (ppt, video and/or brochures). Since your profile is your online presence use that multi-media here too.
Tip #3: What better way to become a resource than clients saying you have the skills and talents. Add and get endorsed for the skills that make you the #1 resource in your field.
Tip #4: Becoming a resource is about sharing relevant information with your network (without wanting anything in return). You make it a daily practice to do status updates and a weekly practice to write LinkedIn articles.
“Finding the right people”
Social Selling is all about building and maintaining relationships. No, LinkedIn does not know who the right people are but they do care whether you look and connect with people. A low score on SSI really means you are not doing enough searches, viewing profiles and starting conversations.
Here are some tips to remedy this low score:
Tip #1: Do several searches daily to find 2nd-degree contacts who are in your target audience. Visit their profile, if and when they come back to visit your profile, you have an opportunity to start a conversation or get introduced by a mutual contact.
Tip #2: View profiles of both 1st-degree contacts (check their status updates since they do not always show up in your stream) and 2nd-degree contacts and take every opportunity to start conversations with these people.
Tip #3: Join LinkedIn groups where your prospects and clients live.
“Engage with insights”
Where “Finding the right people” focusses on starting relationships, “Engaging” is all about sharing content and becoming the resource for your clients and prospects. A low SSI score means you are not sharing, interacting and having meaningful conversations on LinkedIn.
Here are three simple ways to get started:
Tip #1: Go through your stream of posts from your network and start liking, commenting or sharing and it will create visibility with your network.
Tip #2: Participate in group discussions with likes and comments or even better start a discussion on topics of your target audience.
Tip #3: Use notifications to keep your network warm. There is a lot of debate about the use of this but it gives you a perfect opportunity to start a conversation. Personalizing messages get you bonus points and make you stand out.
The art of sales is building and maintaining relationships and that is no different on LinkedIn. You must see LinkedIn as an extension of your rolodex and real-life meetings. A low score here indicates you are not adding people to your network (or rolodex) and thus not building the foundation for future relationships and business. And yet it is simple.
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Here are my three simple daily steps:
Tip #1: Every business card you receive, turn it into a LinkedIn connection. Don’t forget the old ones you have either!
Tip #2: Ask for or give one introduction a week.
Tip #3: Respond to every invite. If you don’t know the person, why not send a message first and start a conversation?
By following the above tips on a regular basis you’ll become a super social seller or salesperson and your SSI score may skyrocket. After all, these tips don’t take much time and are worth the effort. If you have any other tips, please feel free to share them in the comments below.