As fans of the classic TV show The Prisoner know, guest Number Six will not be “ filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!” You, on the other hand, have definitely been indexed whether you know it or not.
Every LinkedIn member has a dynamic Social Selling Index, or SSI score. This is a moving measure of the strength of your activity and profile on LinkedIn. Granted, LinkedIn sees this as a nice entry point into promoting their Sales Navigator tool for salespeople on LinkedIn. However, it can also be a useful tool for improving your personal brand.
I’m guessing Number 6’s SSI score could use some work.
The Four Pillars of Your SSI
The SSI scale runs from 0 to 100. Within that there are four components, each with its own set of metrics: Establishing a Personal Brand, Finding the Right People, Engaging with Insights, and Building Relationships.
While you can see how these dimensions would be helpful to a salesperson, they are also useful to keep you on track for optimizing your personal brand.
Before I briefly talk about the pillars and how you can improve each, let me summarize why I think the SSI can be useful even for non-salespeople.
LinkedIn is a business-focused social media network. Just like in your personal social media networks, your online activity says something about you (i.e. your brand). If you want to succeed in business, you should have a brand that stands for something. Make yourself a well-known go-to person on LinkedIn – become a subject matter expert. This takes consistent, intentional work, kind of like dieting.
To extend the metaphor, think of checking your SSI on a regular basis as a food journal or regular weigh-in. It can make you mindful of your activity (or lack thereof) on LinkedIn. IMO, the SSI is not much use as a one-time snapshot, but is very useful as a directional check on your commitment to building your personal brand. Check it on a regular basis to nudge yourself toward success.
The Four Components and How to Improve Each
1 Build your professional brand.
Make sure your profile is complete. Picture, headline, summary, education, experience, etc, etc.
Decide what you want to be known for and post consistently about that subject matter.
Consistently provide relevant and interesting comments on others’ postings.
Endorse the skills of others in your network – and ask others to endorse your skills.
2. Find the right people.
This means more than inviting anyone and everyone to join your network:
Use LinkedIn’s filters to find other people interested in or working in the areas you are interested in within your field.
Look at who’s viewed your profile and invite them (and always personalize an invite.)
Follow thought leaders in your specialty. Ask others to follow you.
3. Engage with insights.
Share timely and relevant articles through LinkedIn which position . Here’ an easy way to do this: Sign up with a service like Flipboard, where you can curate content about your professional interests and specialties all in one place. Next get yourself a Buffer or similar account. These free services let you schedule posts to your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Then get the browser extension for your service (I use Buffer, but there are other options) and you can post interesting articles to your queue from your Flipboard collection with a single click. You can easily have a week’s worth of interesting content queued up with one or two visits a week to your Flipboard account.
Post an original article of interest on LinkedIn once a month – and include the link in a post to your network announcing your latest piece of relevant content.
Join LinkedIn groups within your industry and engage regularly in the ongoing group discussions.
4. Build relationships.
Send a personal message to your most important contacts once in a while sharing content or insights which they might find useful.
Look for opportunities to help out people in your network. Make introductions, ask if there’s anything people need which you might be able to assist with.
Lastly remember the people in your network are people. Be genuinely interested in them and they will reciprocate.
Schedule these tasks as regularly occurring calendar events to ensure they happen on a regular basis.
Locating Your SSI
Okay, so how do I find my SSI you ask? You can search the help section of LinkedIn. Or you can log into you LinkedIn account and enter this URL: linkedin.cm/sales/ssi
A Personal Example
Here’s my latest score. Okay, but I’d like it to be in the 80s. Clearly, I need to comment more and engage in more group discussions. This is helpful info to have if I want to be a strong LinkedIn player.
Not bad, but I could be doing more. Good to know.
Build Your Own Action Plan
Check out you SSI on a regular basis. Find out where you are lagging and create a plan based on the tips above. While the SSI is mainly focused on salespeople, it’s good directionally insight for any LinkedIn user.