4 ways to get connected in the biggest business community in the world

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

LinkedIn has developed an authoritative metric known as the Social Selling Index, because of the content on there that can be shared and measured, and it can deliver a greater ROI for an individual on one of the world’s greatest business-to-business social media platforms. Going to the LinkedIn SSI page will bring you to a social selling dashboard that will display one’s rank in their industry and in their network. It will give you an index that is variable, as it changes weekly and monthly depending on how much work is being put into it. Now, the question is, what is the significance of LinkedIn and how it can help you and your business?

LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, is a worldwide body that eclipses the traditional Facebook, YouTube, or any other place for sharing business-to-business connections. One great thing about it is their statistics are global. Of the 570 million registered LinkedIn users, 150 million are in America. When it comes to users in Asia, 42 million are from China, 50 million from India, 10 million from Indonesia, and 6 million from the Philippines. The population of Singapore is only 6 million, yet 2 million of them are on LinkedIn. The UK has over 25 million users, France has 16 million, and the Netherlands has 7 million. You get the idea. LinkedIn really is the platform for business-to-business regardless of location.

How to improve one’s SSI

The first step to increasing one’s SSI is establishing the professional brand, the second is finding the right people, the third is engaging with insights, and the fourth is building relationships. Each of these four metrics contribute 25% to the SSI. A ranking of 80 out of 100 would put someone at the top 1% within his or her industry and top 1% of his or her individual network. Interestingly enough, sales and PR communications professionals have an average SSI of 28. So, how does one get to become part of the top 1?

When it comes to establishing a professional brand, that can be done through posting on and completing the LinkedIn profile. If you’re not getting close to 25, then you’re wasting an opportunity. It’s like taking an exam. Even if you just fill in a couple of sentences, there’s a greater chance of getting a higher mark than if you leave some questions blank. Of course, important and basic details such as name, job title, profile picture, banners, and company name should be on the profile. Where people then miss out is they don’t mention their client niche sector, or they don’t include their products and services, which they should. One can also add how long they’ve been in the industry, the problems that they’re solving with their solution, and one can also look at how they are targeting a particular market. Testimonials from clients, former members of staff, partners, or anybody willing to give a testimonial would be of great help too. Another error is that sometimes people don’t include their experience and their education, but it’s worth putting all of those different dates in, because it leads to the possibility of being connected with people from the same institution. Skills, endorsements, and recommendations, along with everything else, all contribute to the completeness of one’s LinkedIn profile, and this is going to help boost that SSI.

Photo from The Online Genius

Next, finding the right people to connect with can be a function connecting to industry leaders and thought leaders as well as the key to joining more groups. The LinkedInSales Navigator can actually help with this, and using it could yield a much higher score, because it proactively finds the right people to connect with. For instance, with public relations, the target would be other entrepreneurs, sales directors, marketing directors, public relations directors, as the services may be a little bit broader. Reaching out to people is important, but so is engaging with insights, and this is really about sharing articles and posts, and these don’t even have to be one’s own content. Joining groups and posting articles in those groups is also helpful. It doesn’t necessarily always need to be sales information, but information that could help others with their businesses. On the building relationships metric, this one is all about building and finding trust with decision-makers, such as CEOs, managing directors, entrepreneurs, and people working in big companies. Finding those people on LinkedIn who are established thought leaders and have become part of their sphere of influence helps one’s own reputation.

An effective strategy to growing an individual’s SSI could begin by reaching out proactively through job title searches and by geography. It’s one thing to go out and follow people, but it’s another to get people to follow back, because that improves the authority index. Keep in mind that others’ networks impact your own. The connection request acceptance level can be improved by sending out personalized emails, and also by being cautious of who to accept as there may be irrelevant introductions to business services. 

Other tips and tricks to make the most out of LinkedIn

Another useful metric to track is profile views. This can be increased by posting relevant and captivating content frequently to entice viewers or readers to check out your profile and hopefully connect. Interestingly enough, it’s sometimes the wholesome family-related that gets more traction than the generic business type of posts.  There seems to be a growing interest in LinkedIn on what people are doing in their personal lives, maybe because it doesn’t feel as though you’re being bombarded with “irrelevant” posts unlike on Facebook. So, the idea of posting content that is professional but also personal that might be about you or your interests seems to be both accepted and even getting more uplift. 

Photo from Medium

A poll on LinkedIn found that women in the legal profession are getting more views on their posts than men are, and the question was whether this is because women are being more authentic and more genuine than men, and maybe that’s true. The other question was whether women just approve of other women’s posts more. Either way, it can’t be proven, but definitely, showing a little bit of personality and not making LinkedIn a direct mail house is working. 

All in all, this combination of frequency of good content, reaching out to relevant people, following people back, and sharing useful information that’s not strictly speaking about selling can improve the social index. Why does this matter? Especially now when going to meetings has been replaced with online video calls, maximizing the use of the internet and technology can enable one to widen his or her audience. There could be people that have heard of the business, but in a digital fashion, and so they want to look it up and learn more, making it important to analyze what the content says about the business and what others think of the business as well.

One’s professional brand, the right people, the right insights, and the connection of those with relationships are four of metrics that can be tracked when it comes to the LinkedIn SSI. All of this can be done for free, or for a fee with any of the Sales Navigator packages (Professional, Team, and Enterprise). It’s not cheap, but it’s proven to successfully grow one’s SSI. And in the SPEAK|pr methodology of Storify, Personalise, Engage, Amplify, and Know, plainly, LinkedIn is part of Amplification, but there is room for engagement, personalisation, and storification. The SSI gives us index, so people can know how they’re doing. People often post on their own, but if they’re part of an organisation, they can definitely maximize that by asking other members to share content and support one another online.

LinkedIn monthly plans (Photo from LinkedIn)

Social media is about being seen as much as anything else to be part of a trend or a community. If you’re not using the community within your own company and your own network, then you’re missing a trick. The Progress Shed is an example of an organisation that’s putting together a community where people share their thoughts, and everyone’s agreed to promote posts mutually. This helps drive traffic, because the algorithms are looking for information that other people have found interesting, so if other people begin to express an interest, then the algorithms will pick that up and boost it. 

LinkedIn seems to have become the number one global business-to-business platform. It’s the network effect of LinkedIn that makes it fairly unassailable. Regardless of where someone’s at in their careers or in their organisation, as an entrepreneur, a salesperson, or whatever the role is, LinkedIn is probably going to here for quite some time, and learning how to improve one’s Social Selling Index is a formula and a discipline, and it’s something that can be accomplished. It’s where you can find companies like EASTWEST PR that can help you leverage your skill sets and your knowledge to make sure people know what you’re doing.

 

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from AeroLeads

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *