Linkedin has always been the most unrated social media platforms for many marketers.
It is not just a platform for people to look for a job, it is also an excellent platform to connect with other professionals for business opportunities and collaboration.
It has 500 million users all over the world with many world influencers in business, entrepreneurship and many other disciplines producing content and engaging their tribes actively on a daily basis
This article will focus on how to increase your Social Selling Index (SSI) score on Linkedin to do an audit of your profile and find new ways to engage your audience to build your influence.
Personal Branding is transforming our uniqueness and making it visible to others. It is about knowing our substance, positioning it well and choosing the right form to tell our story. It is the art of balancing substance with form. If we have all substance but no form to show it, we do not do any justice to our brand. If we only have form with substance, we are nothing but a product or a person without depth. Both are equally important. This chapter focus on one aspect of our form online – Linkedin.
All of us have a personal branding whether you believe it or not. If we are not own or manage our personal branding, others will do it for us. Perception is powerful and usually stronger than the truth if you do nothing about it.
Let’s go on this Linkedin journey to explore telling our story in a professional form.
Social Selling Index (SSI) Score
Log on to your account using a browser and access www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi
Let’s dissect what the SSI means
1 . Establish your Professional Brand. This index is about the information you provided in the profile from photo to professional experience. The more decorated you are, the higher the score. This tell Linkedin who you are.
2. Find the Right People. This index is about Linkedin assessing the overall SSI score of your connections and if they are able to create value in your life. This tells Linkedin who are in your tribe.
3. Engage with Insight. This index tells you if you are actively sharing content and engaging others in conversation. Doing this regularly on a daily basis will render you a higher score. This tells Linkedin how active you are.
4. Building Relationship. This index measures the level of one to one communications, replying to comments, celebrating others’ success on work achievement and anniversary. This tells Linkedin if you are truly interested in people.
5. Industry SSI. This index ranks you against your industry stated in your profile in the same region. Assuming you are the digital marketing manager in Singapore, you will be ranked against everyone else with the same designation. If the group size is 10,000, top 1% would mean you are top 100 of them.
6. Network SSI. This index ranks you against everyone in your network (1st level Connection). If you have 1000 connections, top 1% means you are the top 10 profiles in your network.
Establishing Your Professional Brand
Now that you know what SSI means to you, you will realize Big Data is really important to our understanding of our profile status on Linkedin. With a good knowledge of our profile audit, we can now begin a journey of building our brand.
· Photo. You need to have a recent and decent photo of yourself. It should not be dated and should be as recently as 3 years ago. Make sure both eyes are visible and you should emit the right energy so that the right people will resonate with you. You do not need to wear suit, a tie or a jacket. It is the visual representation of your professional brand.
· Headline. This section has only about 120 character of space. It is meant for you to encapsulate the essence of your professional brand. It is not about what you do but about what you can bring to the table in your profession. It is your unique selling proposition. It is about the problem you can solve. It is about the value you can create. It is also the first thing others will see before they click on your profile besides your name.
· Profile URL. You should edit the profile URL into something unique instead of letting Linkedin generate a random link with numbers. It makes others feel you are not a rookie in the professional platform. It is easier to share this link on your email signature, whatsapp status or even other platform. If possible use the same handle you have being using in other platforms. For me I use “ideasandrew” since this is used in all of my social media platforms.
· Summary. The summary is probably the most important part of your profile. Many people make the mistake of diving straight into what they do and how they do it. The missing piece is always WHY do you do it? The following is a format I always recommend for people to write something concise yet powerful to leave a lasting impression. Less is More when it comes to the length of the summary. Keep it to 150 words
a. Who are you? Tell others something about your personality, character and core values. Share about your vision and mission in life
b. What do you do? This is the part which you can define your role in the workplace or business. You can include the client you serve if you are in business. If you are working for someone else, you can also highlight the role you would like to have in the near future.
c. What makes you so unique? This is a closing paragraph to state your value proposition. It is about personal selling. It is about a Call-To-Action for whoever is reading your profile. This answers the burning question as to “Why should People work with you instead of others who have a similar profile?”
· Social Portfolio. Linkedin allows different links or media to be uploaded to the profile to enhance your value. Social Portfolio is the online evidence of what you said you have done or accomplished before. It is a social proof to your professional experience. If you were conceptualizing Television Commercials (TVCs), there should be a youtube link to the video. If you have been a writer, there should be a blog link. If you are a thought leader, there should be a Twitter account. If you have been doing training, there should be some presentations links from Slideshare (which is owned by Linkedin). Do ensure that you own those media in your social media accounts and not take them from some websites. When they revamp the site, the links may not be around anymore.
· Skills. Skills are the Keywords in Linkedin, They should be optimized so that people can find you with the relevant skills. Be specific when you list your skillsets. Once they are in place, whenever someone new view your profile, they may be asked to give you endorsement. You can also re-arrange the order of the skillset to ensure the most relevant ones are endorsed first. The top 10 skillsets will be prominently displayed while the remaining 15 will be listed thereafter.
· Work Experience. Many people will just enter all their long list of job description into this section. Truth be told, not many will be keen to read them all. This is a place for work achievement, not work description. No one is keen to know too much about what you do but how much did you achieve. Convert these into powerful achievement statements today. Did you grow the team from 5 to 15 in 1 year? Did you achieve 1 million sales in the first quarter alone in your rookie year? Did you formulate any Standard Operating Procedure or create any patent while you were in a job? Write them down and then substantiate them with one or two things you did to achieve that.
· Achievement/Accoldates. If you have won any awards, this is the place to list down the name, the year, who was the presenter and a brief description of the award
· Language Proficiency. If you are multi-lingual, it is definitely an advantage in this disruptive world. State the language and the level of proficiency
· Certification. This is over and above your academic qualification, what other professional certification or competency do you possess?
· Voluntary Experience. If you have been serving any charity or Non Profit Organisation in different capacity, this is the place to show you have devoted time and resource to help the community.
Finding the Right People
· Connections. Ensure that whenever you receive a name card, search for the person on Linkedin and connect. Dig out all the old name cards and find all of them on Linkedin today. Consolidate all your professional contacts on Linkedin is an efficient way to connect and engage people whom you rarely get to meet often. Learn to use the “Find Nearby” function in “My Network” whenever you organize an event, be it networking or seminar. It is the best way to connect with hundreds in the same venue if they all activate the function within Linkedin.
· Recommendation. Have you have ever done something amazing for someone you know on Linkedin before? It is time to get that testimonial, which Linkedin called “Recommendation”. Simply click on the profile of the person, look for the option “Ask to be recommended” and send him the message. To help this person respond to you swiftly, you need to help him to help you. Include the following 4 questions when you are sending him a request.
a. When did you know me?
b. What did I do for you?
c. How do you feel about my performance/work?
d. Why do you recommend me?
Engage with Insights
· Linkedin Groups. If you want to sharpen your iron, it is best to find other irons to do the job. Groups on Linkedin are great community and platforms to connect with like minded people to share, exchange, contribute ideas within your specific areas of interest or industry.
· Writing Articles. Writing articles is the highest level of content creation on Linkedin. It is putting down your thoughts and your opinion about a subject close to your heart. It takes a lot of effort in planning and structuring your articles into a readable format. It should be concise with a powerful yet catchy titles. The length should not be more than 600 words. Put your conclusion of your opinion in the introduction so that the readers will get the direction of your article. Highlight certain sentences which is quote-worthy and make it interesting with no more than 8 images in the article
· Posting new status regularly. If you come across an interesting article, share it. If you met someone amazing, do a short video with the person. If you are in high energy event, take a few photo and post them. Creating content is not really challenging, the tough part is getting engagement. Many will be contented with passive engagement (views and likes). It is the active engagement (comments, shares, mention) that will help you to grow in your network
· Follow certain hashtags on Linkedin, you can select them very easily. Some of the posts on your feed will be shown if there is a match of their hashtags with yours. Hashtags is a way to keep abreast of what’s going on in the marketplace and the people in your connection. Contribute your thoughts instead of just giving a token comment like “awesome” or “great job!”
· Celebrate the success of others. Be it birthday, promotion, work anniversary or new placement, celebrate by contributing a unique message so that they will remember you when it is your turn. Linkedin has make it very easy with ready option for standard reply. Go a step further by making it special.
· Offer something of value whenever someone accept your connection. Send the person your best article without a sales pitch or invite them to an event without an hidden agenda. People appreciates sincerity and can feel it through the words you used in the personal messaging.
· Subscribe premium account or Sales Navigator. If you are serious about building relationship to create a funnel for lead generation leading to a meaningful customer relationship, Sales Navigator will be the solution for you. You can able to view many profiles in detail, generate leads based on many complex criteria. You will be able to send more messages to people you have yet to connect with. You are able to work with others in the same organization to manage leads and prospects effectively.
Where do you go from here?
· If you are not on Linkedin, sign up today!
· If you are on Linkedin and have not been active for more than a year, follow these 20 points to increase your SSI
· If you are active on Linkedin, it is time to invite all your contacts to Linkedin and share with them how Linkedin can tell their personal brand stories.