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How to use LinkedIn's SSI like a Pro

This article is all about LinkedIn's famous social selling index. If you watch your feed from time to time you certainly see posts about the SSI. Out of my experience, these are either people who claim to have achieved a high score on SSI or others who express to not understand the score at all. I have to admit: when I first saw the score I was confused. With this article, I like to help you understand what the Selling Index is and how you can benefit by using it.

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Note: This article aims to provide a practicable guide in how to use the LinkedIn SSI effectively for content and profile optimization efforts. Straight ahead, if you are looking for a tool to monitor your LinkedIn success you might want to check out our LinkedIn Analytics Dashboard β†’ it's 100% free to get started.

‍What Is LinkedIn's Social Selling Index?

The Social Selling Index is a tool from LinkedIn to make your own activities on the platform measurable. The dashboard shows how strong your personal brand on LinkedIn is in terms of your interactions, your engagement on the platform, and the quality of your connections.

With the score, LinkedIn tries to evaluate how likely it is for you to succeed with your social selling efforts. A higher score means a higher likelihood of success.

The tool is the preliminary stage to the LinkedIn Sales Navigator and is linked within the tool.

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Where to find the SSI?

  1. Out of the Sales Navigator under "Admin" > "User Reporting"
  2. Public Version: Just click down below πŸ‘‡

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How To Use The Social Selling Dashboard

The Social Selling Dashboard is divided into 4 main categories: building your personal brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building meaningful relationships.

Other than that, there is an attempt to benchmark you with other people in your industry. This is done by the algorithm assigning you to an industry that the platform thinks best suits you and then compare your score with others in the industry and your network.

The 4 Pillars Of The SSI are the heart of the Social Selling Index
Infographic about LinkedIn's SSI Dashboard

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πŸ₯‡ Metric #1: Establish your personal brand

Establishing a brand on LinkedIn takes dedication and time. The result is usually worth it: More profile views from interesting people, more contact requests, and a higher level of engagement are characteristics of a strong personal brand on LinkedIn.

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πŸ’‘What can you do to improve this metric?

  1. Complete your profile This includes: Identifying relevant Keywords people search for, optimizing your LinkedIn Headline, write a helpful profile summary, posting relevant content, fill your skill section, get recommendations from people in your industry, shoot a professional profile photo and add a custom header banner. (Please note that it's unknown how LinkedIn exactly values these factors, but certainly they won't hurt your efforts.)
  2. Include work samples Add articles and samples of your work in the featured section of your profile. I've written a dedicated guide about outstanding LinkedIn Profile Examples you can learn from - you might want to check it out.
  3. Raise Awareness by posting and interacting To quote LinkedIn here: "Make it your goal to share high-quality information that is helpful and contextually appropriate for followers"
  4. Gather recommendations As mentioned above, it certainly won't hurt to ask your peers to give you recommendations for your work. Another idea is to ask clients or your manager to endorse you. Another "trick" that might work for you is, to give endorsements to people you know and appreciate, some will return the favor.

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πŸ”Ž Metric #2: Find the right people

What does that mean? Finding the right people? LinkedIn wants you to connect with people that are likely to benefit from your activities and offers. That's why you should always aim to offer value first when joining a conversation or any other interchange.

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πŸ’‘What can you do to improve this metric?

  1. Use the LinkedIn search frequently LinkedIn provides you with a friendly search bar on top of the interface. Use it to find people in your industry to connect with - and always remember to add a personal message to your connection request ;)
  2. Filter for 2nd Level connections first LinkedIn recommends that you look for a leverage warm introduction to build your network. It's always easier to get in touch when you have something in common - for example a person you both know.
  3. Join LinkedIn groups Yes, LinkedIn recommends that. Do I use groups? No. Why? Because I have not made any good experience with it. Little commitment and annoying advertising posts are two of the reasons. Decide for yourself if groups on LinkedIn are worth investing your time and energy.
  4. Review interesting Profile visitors This one is simple. You can strengthen relationships with people by visiting their profile. Don't mind reaching out to interesting prospects that showed on your profile. One "hack" I found is: Try to visit 1000 LinkedIn profiles, 200 will view yours too. Why? Because we're all freaks and want to know who's interested in us.

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✍️ Metric #3: Engage with insights

This metric is influenced by several triggers. These include, for example, interacting with and commenting on the contributions of other people. Sharing your own posts also has a positive effect on your score.

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πŸ’‘What can you do to improve this metric?

  1. Share relevant Resources The point here is that you share valuable information with your network to become a trusted expert in your industry. Doing so will most likely boost the engagement of your publications in the long run. Also do keep in mind to engage on the posts of others.
  2. Leverage timely content New's and press articles get often shared on LinkedIn. Out of a good reason: if you share the latest informations about industry-related topics you create value for your followers and contacts. LinkedIn likes that and rewards you for doing so.
  3. Lead meaningful discussions This what is LinkedIn is all about in my opinion - experience a meaningful exchange, connecting and sharing thoughts, and ultimately doing business together. With that in mind, you can improve your score by leaving thoughtful and constructive comments on posts from others. Both: in groups and your feed.
  4. Send personalized messages Did you already get one of those nasty messages from salespeople pitching themself in the first two lines? Don't do that. It's arrogant and always gives me the urge to reverse the connection right away. Instead, you should actually take the time to personalize your messages in a way that adds value to the upcoming conversation.

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LinkedIn Connection Message Example:

Hey Jeff,
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saw your latest post about effective LinkedIn Marketing. Appreciate the work you put in there to summarize all your learnings!

I also saw on your profile that you work on PROJECT, are you still active there? Anyways, would love to connect.
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Cheers,
Tim

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πŸ§‘πŸ€πŸ§‘ Metric #4: Build Relationships

Building relationships with others is a key strategy to use the platform to its full potential. LinkedIn gives you some ideas on how to build those meaningful connections. Here are some thoughts:

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πŸ’‘What can you do to improve this metric?

  1. Connect with contacts through introduction When you already know somebody that can introduce you to somebody else, this makes it easier to connect with strangers. LinkedIn also - might - recognize your efforts in this direction and reward you with a better score. Tip: when you visit a profile from a person you are not yet connected, look for the highlight batch that says: "X mutual connections". This will show you who can give you a warm introduction to this person.
  2. Establishing trust with decision-makers Focusing on building relationships with senior level-people in your industry. For example: If you are a salesperson it won't hurt to be connected with multiple people at the same company. This increases your chances to get noticed by decision-makers in the prospect organization.
  3. Connect within your team Pretty straight forward: do make sure that you add your teammates in your contact folder. You can also help each other by providing warm introductions. Often, it's the easiest to start from within.
  4. Periodically reach out There is one statement from Stephen R- Covey in my head that tells me to "follow up or fail". Make sure that you not only connect to someone and then let the connection cool down. With important connections, I'd recommend reaching out periodically and adding value. I try to remember as much as possible when connection to someone. When I find a news or press article, that I know someone could benefit from I'll send it to them.

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LinkedIn Follow-Up Message Example:

Hi Dave,

found this marketing gem while browsing youtube, thought you'd like it. The guy from epic light media always points out interesting channels he’d like to get attention from by the end of each video:

Example 1: **https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbg9OsbJCqs (**14:30)

He makes it in a funny and entertaining way. He goes against the expectations of the audience by explicitly mentioning that -no- one should subscribe or like.

Rather, go and subscribe to other channels. I think it great because of:

1. how he makes himself stand out by doing so
2. how he gets attention from people recognizing his mentions (and telling people to comment under their channel).

Cheers,
Tim

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How To Track Your SSI Performance

Straight forward: in the middle of your dashboard navigate to the "Weekly social selling index". What you find here is a line chart visualization of the past 7 weeks (49 days). This index tracks your previous efforts. You can see at one glance how your score changed over time.

Usually, if you get more active the score will rise. But be informed: I've never experienced a sudden rise of more than a few percentage points in one week.

Even when I had an extremely active phase during that time. That's also what I heard from colleagues and friends who use the SSI to their advantage.

Social Selling Index from LinkedIn being reported on a paper

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See Yourself Compared To Others
- LinkedIn's Benchmark

With LinkedIn's Selling Index you can see how well you compare to people in your network and industry. LinkedIn automatically categorizes you into one industry. Based on that you will be compared.

Some people report to be assigned the wrong or slightly inaccurate industry. You might just try to modify your current position in your profile to change that.

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🌐 How You Perform Compare To Your Network

Here is my example, I'm just slightly above the SSI of my network peers. That means I'm a little more active/ optimized than most people in my personal network. You also notice that I'm able to check the different colored chart-pieces, seeing where my peers are better and worst than me.

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🏭 How You Perform Compare To Your Industry

In my example right here, the Marketing and Advertising is pretty low on average when it comes to SSI. For my personally, this is interesting but rather not helpful to figure out how to improve. What would indeed help is to see what others do, which helps them get a higher score, aka. build better relationships on LinkedIn.

One way to figure out just that is by signing up to inlytics. We are currently working on a machine learning algorithm that benchmarks you with people in your industry that also have a similar job title. We will continually enhance the algorithm to give concrete to-do's on how to improve your account. Register now, this feature is coming soon.

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What To Do With This Information?

Quite honestly: I don't use LinkedIn's SSI benchmarking part that much. Benchmarking is interesting to see how I compare to others, but it does not directly help me to better up.

Doe one thing can be helpful: checking where most people in your network are better than you - you might grab some insights for yourself (checking out which part of the pie-chart diagram is higher on average than yours and then search a way to improve just that).

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What Is A "Good" Social Selling Score?

This question is asked quite a lot. Of course, it's always subjective what is "good" for you and what is not. If you would ask me, I'd say for active LinkedIn users a score from 0-30 is below average (not so good), 31-50 is ordinary, 51-70 is above average and everything over 70 is pretty solid.

Some people manage to get over a total score of 90+. Here I would assume that the profile is extremely well optimized.

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Infographic about what it a good SSI score in my opinion

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1 Viable Alternative To LinkedIn's Social Selling Index

Did I mention "alternative"? Well, yes I did. We build a tool that aims to help you improve content performance, by providing you actionable insights about your LinkedIn profile. We do that with a variety of product features, including:

  • The content heatmap
  • Detailed post stats, like from which industry/ occupation people are
  • Extensive profile insights and many more..

With that said, let's look at the SSI alternative. We provide a comprehensive (free) checklist that gives you many ideas on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. You find it in your inlytics dashboard under "Profile".

Here's the deal: Signup for free and provide us with your feedback (in-app feedback). We'd like to learn how we can improve based on your specific needs - we can't do that without you! In return to that, you get a lifetime free account (There will be paid plans soon too, but yours is staying free). Interested? Go ahead and signup here.

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LinkedIn Analytics Dashboard - alternative to SSI LinkedIn

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Conclusion: Is The SSI Worth YOUR Time?

You guessed it: It depends on your needs. I know, I know, I know... this is not what you want to hear. But speaking out of my own experience, many people - including me - do not get many helpful insights out of the SSI.

There are interesting facts like, where I have opportunities to optimize my profile (the four pillars) but after all the SSI dashboard lacks quite some actionable advice in my opinion.

That does not mean others are not motivated by using it and start improving based on the insights they get? Of course not. Its just not.. for everyone!

To make a bottom line I try to don't make a too generic conclusion. I will put it this way:

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Putting time & energy in optimizing the SSI MAY be a fit for you if:

βœ…You are willing to invest time to figure out how to improve based on the metrics you see

βœ…You're not demoralized when results don't happen overnight

βœ…Seeing stat's rise does give you a push and motivate you to further invest in the platform

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The SSI IS NOT a fit for you if:

❌You expect to get immediate results from just optimizing a few things

❌You value actionable insights more than "just" stats and figures

WRITTENΒ BY

Tim Schmidbauer

I help startups to validate their critical assumptions, sharpen the business case and ultimately generate traction. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-schmidbauer/

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Frequently Asked Questions
About LinkedIn Dashboards

I answer the questions that you may still have

How Can I Increase The SSI Score?

There are many ways to improve your score with a little work. In the above mentioned examples under "How To Use The Social Selling Dashboard" I give you some ideas what you can do.

How To Get To The SSI Score?

Either you type in "https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi" directly in your browser or you can find the dashboard in your sales navigator dashboard under "Admin" "User Reporting".

How Important Is The SSI Score?

Essentially, the SSI tells you how well optimized your profile is in terms of your personal brand/visibility. It depends on how important these attributes are to you. One thing is clear: The Social Selling Index is only an attempt to measure your activities on LinkedIn and to show you potential areas for improvement. In my opinion, the score is particularly suitable for this.

Are There More Dashboards Like The SSI?

LinkedIn provides you with a variety of different measurement tools. If you are interested in learning further about that topic, I've written a complete guide for how to use the LinkedIn dashboard. Check it out, it's worth it.

How Often Does The SSI Update?

LinkedIns social selling index is updated once a day - every 24 hours.

How Is The Social Selling Index Calculated?

LinkedIn's social selling index is based on a scale of 0 to 100 and calculated using your activities on LinkedIn. There is no clear indication from within LinkedIn how exactly the score is calculated and which action influences certain parts of the score the most. In any way, Β I do not think it's important to focus on how to improve the score, rather see the score as an indication where you can better up.

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