As the premier social platform to build a community of followers and buyers in the B2B space, LinkedIn is the undisputed champ for networking. If you’re serious about scaling your business – as either an SDR or founder – running an active profile is essential.
LinkedIn has plenty of tools to help you scale your social selling, with one tool in particular that measures the strength and reach of your profile: the Social Selling Index (SSI).
In this article, we’ll explore what an SSI score is and how to improve your SSI score on LinkedIn with 5 tips.
For years the SSI score was a feature of LinkedIn’s paid service, Sales Navigator.
Thankfully, LinkedIn has since made the SSI score free for everyone to check. Before we get started, you can see for yourself what your SSI score is by clicking here.
What is an SSI score?
An SSI score is a number from 1-100 that represents your social selling efforts on LinkedIn. It’s a performance grade that tracks the impact of your actions on the platform and ranks them against your peers.
According to LinkedIn, there are four elements that influence your score:
- Establish your professional brand
- Find the right people
- Engage with insights
- Build relationships
These four elements of social selling are meant to guide your efforts and make you better at selling.
As part of the LinkedIn Sales Solutions package, the SSI works closely with Sales Navigator. It’s intended for sales leaders who connect with and message decision-makers at target accounts.
However, it’s still a useful (and free) tool for anyone who wants to see how their profile ranks among their industry and network.
Why is the SSI score important?
It’s a good metric first of all because it’s endorsed by LinkedIn.
Obviously, the company has an interest in keeping you on the platform and encouraging you to sign up for Sales Navigator to expand your network. Regardless it’s not easy to get a high score and those that do deserve to be called thought leaders.
Your SSI is useful data you can use as a measuring stick to see how your networking and messaging perform. As a data point, it’s invaluable insight that’s useful for personal branding and outreach strategy.
LinkedIn has its own numbers to prove what a good SSI score can do for you as a salesperson. In short, the higher the score, the better the results.
5 ways to improve your SSI score on LinkedIn
While there are some things you can do to help in the short term, improving your SSI score is an ongoing process. Often a good score can be achieved by simply following Linked social selling best practices.
Nevertheless, let’s review how to improve your SSI score on LinkedIn with these 5 tips.
1. Complete your LinkedIn profile
Before you conduct outreach or entertain your audience with posts, you need to optimize your profile.
Starting from the top, the most important components of your profile are:
- Profile picture: A well-lit picture that features your face. Whether it’s professional or fun and informal, whatever photo you choose will leave the strongest first impression.
- Headline: With just a few words, your headline explains what you do. Instead of simply putting your job title, customize it with a few keywords about the value you add to prospects.
- About: Summarize who you are and how you help prospects overcome challenges in your industry.
- Experience: Include all work experience that’s relevant to the target accounts and verticals you’re trying to penetrate.
Note: The Activity section is often overlooked and can sometimes do a better job of revealing who you are than what you say about yourself. Be mindful of your digital footprint.
2. Be selective with your connection requests
To maintain a good experience for its community of over 930 million members, LinkedIn has a cap on the number of connection requests you can send in a week.
The official LinkedIn help center is vague about the exact number, but the LinkedIn community verdict points to a strict weekly cap that varies between 80-100 connection requests.
Since finding the right people is one of the core elements of your SSI score, it makes sense you’ll want to connect with those most likely to accept and respond to your messages.
This is why preparation and research are so critical to prospecting. Use Sales Navigator’s advanced search features to filter and segment your list of prospects to suit your ICP.
The SSI score will define your ability to target decision-makers and the prospects most likely to get some value out of their relationship with you.
3. Post quality over quantity
The same principles that apply to prospecting are true for content creation. Quality > quantity.
You’ll find the most common advice when it comes to content on LinkedIn is to post 2-5 times per week. No doubt you’ll be rewarded for being active on the platform.
However, while you may extend your visibility with more frequent posts are you offering value to your audience?
There’s no harm in posting photos of your pet. We all love them. But as a consultant to your prospects don’t forget why they connected with you.
It’s true that social media algorithms favor the most extreme opinions that generate engagement. Emotion is a powerful tool in the attention economy.
Over time, though, you can harm your reputation on the platform as being a kind of “empty calorie” content creator. Instead, give your audience what it needs as a subject matter expert on your unique solution and vertical.
Form is as important as content, so if you’re struggling to drive engagement, try using some of these highly-effective ways to post:
- Video: LinkedIn claims your audience is 20x more likely to share video content. The transition to short-form video has taken over all social media platforms, so don’t be afraid to share some of your insights in front of a camera. Just be sure to upload it natively to LinkedIn when you do.
- Carousels: Extra effort can go a long way when you share a document as an image carousel. This kind of visual content is popular with the LinkedIn algorithm as it increases the time a user spends reading or interacting with a post.
- Listicles: For the same reason carousels work, writing a step-by-step checklist for a “How to” post or a simple list ranking can increase the time your audience spends reading your post and the likelihood they’ll engage with it.
4. Engage authentically
The LinkedIn algorithm loves conversations.
If you’ve followed tip #3, and your post is getting comments, be sure to follow up with some of your own. Just don’t be the first to comment on your own post and when you do make sure you’re responding to someone to prolong the conversation.
On the other hand, if you’re commenting under someone else’s post, you’ll want to comment as soon as possible for maximum visibility.
And here’s the trick: you don’t always have to respond with text.
Sharing a link to a more authoritative, relevant source of information or news is a great way to add value.
Better yet, if you know an expert tag them in the comment to get them into the conversation. Just be careful about how many people you tag because the algorithm will penalize you for tagging too many.
Speaking of which, it’s true that much of the advice for increasing engagement on LinkedIn is to play by the rules of the algorithm.
But LinkedIn is still a social network and people will recognize someone who is gaming the system for more views.
Engage authentically by adding information, asking questions, and not commenting for the sake of saying commenting. Your SSI score and audience will thank you.
5. Follow the leaders
Although you can’t see someone’s SSI score, you can see how many followers they have.
Outside of their score, this is the most obvious factor in whether someone is following good social selling practices.
LinkedIn has a growing community of influencers, each with their own niche following and tailored value prop for potential clients.
When we were young we learned by imitating. You never want to copy someone word for word, but you can still learn a lot by following leaders in your space and applying some of what they do (and how) to your own social strategy.
If there’s an influencer you like posting a lot of carousels that stir up conversations in the comments, try posting one of your own in your own style and voice.
To help build a winning social strategy, ask yourself the following questions about your favorite thought leaders:
- Are they using a lot of images? Video? Text?
- How often do they reply in the comments of their own posts? What do they say? And are they active on other influencers’ posts?
- What tone of voice do they use in their writing? Informative? Informal?
- Do they use a lot of white space in their writing or do they write with longer paragraphs?
- How consistently do they post? What is their posting schedule?
Adopting and innovating on the habits of successful LinkedIn influencers is yet another excellent way to build your network and improve your SSI score.