How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 4

This is the concluding part of this series that focuses on building relationships. This parameter primarily revolves around strengthening your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision makers.

As per a LinkedIn survey, 73% of B2B buyers prefer sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know. In addition, they found out that buying decisions now typically include more than five decision makers. Hence, establishing strong relationships with different prospects is of utmost importance.

SSI 4

Now, your SSI score component under this parameter of building relationships is based on the following four aspects.

  1. Connect with contacts: It is obvious that a larger network will give you greater leverage in finding new prospects and getting your foot in the door with potential clients. Hence, never underestimate the power of constantly developing your network. You just need to remember that a good, strong network cannot be built overnight. Make it a point to spend a few minutes everyday in building and extending your network. Send out personalized invitations to prospects in the industry. You never know which contact might help you get your next big order.
  2. Focus on decision makers: The key is to establish strong relationships with decision makers at the prospective or target company/institution. Getting through to senior decision makers is not always easy. Also, not all of them might be active on LinkedIn. So, it’s always better to target multiple senior personnel and decision makers to increase your chances of success.
  3. Connect internally and leverage TeamLink: It’s surprising that at times, employees within a company/institution are not connected with each other. Each person has his/her own unique network and connections. Hence, connecting with as many colleagues as possible helps you increase the depth and reach of your network with minimal effort. You might not even need to write personalized notes for connecting with fellow employees. Also, do not forget to connect with the senior management in your company/institution.

    Power tip: If your organization has a big enough sales team and the stakes are high, it might make sense to go for the Sales Navigator Team package offered by LinkedIn. Once you go for a Sales Team package, you can use your company’s network to uncover the best way to get introduced with TeamLink.

  4. Nurture relationships over time to keep your services top of mind: A big mistake some people do is to not maintain a healthy relationship after the initial contact. Remember that LinkedIn is just a platform built to facilitate relationship building. It’s your responsibility to maintain regular contact and reach out periodically. Add value by providing relevant information and solutions to your prospects or client’s business problems. If nothing else, at least make it a point to like, share, or comment on updates shared by your prospects.

We’ve now covered all four aspects – establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships – comprising the primary parameters that determine your social selling index (SSI) score on LinkedIn. Note that this is especially important for those focusing on B2B sales since LinkedIn is arguably the most successful platform for generating B2B leads.

I would like to conclude with saying that it’s best to regularly spend time networking on LinkedIn so that you build a professional brand and strong network over time. Please do share you thoughts using the comments section below.

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How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 3

In the third part of this series, we will be focusing on how to engage with insights to improve your social selling index (SSI) score on LinkedIn. The earlier two parts of this series can be accessed here and here.

The third parameter mentioned by LinkedIn for improving your SSI score is based on your ability to discover and share conversation-worthy updates to create and grow relationships on LinkedIn. Did you know that around 64% of B2B buyers report that they appreciate hearing from a sales person who provides knowledge or insight about their business? Which is why knowing how to engage with insights holds a lot of importance.

Linkedin SSI 3

The following pointers will help you ace your score on the engaging with insights parameter on LinkedIn.

  1. Share relevant resources to strengthen personal connections: Make it a point to post content that is relevant to your prospects. This can be in the form of industry news, trends, or updates from your own organization. Sharing and liking updates posted by others is also a great means of engagement. Make it a point to be on the lookout for insightful updates and sharing them. Show that you care about the successes of your prospects and tag them whenever you share an update relevant to them.
  2. Stay in the know with timely content: Remember to leverage industry data and news on LinkedIn to stay up to date. LinkedIn Pulse was earlier a separate platform, but it was merged into the main LinkedIn platform a few years ago. So, now any long form article published on LinkedIn actually goes on to Pulse. When searching for anything on LinkedIn, searching for “content” allows you to search for relevant content on LinkedIn that you can then share.
  3. Engage in discussion where your connections are: LinkedIn advises you to leave thoughtful, constructive comments on content posted by your prospects and to join LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn groups are a great way to find people with similar interests. Search for groups, especially large groups with a significant number of members, to join and engage with prospects and like-minded people.

    Power tip: When you’re sharing an update, always remember to add your own bit. For example, you can add your thoughts on the update or explain why someone should read that update or article. It’s always preferable to add a comment as compared to simply liking an update. But there will be situations when you’d like to just bookmark an update or show some immediate engagement.

  4. Use relevant information when reaching out: Nothing can match an informed and personalized message. When reaching out to anyone, always customize messages using relevant information you have learned about the person on LinkedIn. A simple example is to always remember to add a personalized message when sending anyone a connection request – explain why you’d like to connect with that person. To be able to do this, it’s best to visit a profile and then click on “connect” to add a personalized message. This will significantly increase the chances of the prospect accepting your connection request.

Engaging with insights is a great way to ensure that you win over the attention of your prospects. The key point is to never use a mechanical approach when trying to engage with prospects. Always try to personalize any message you send out to your prospects. That little bit of extra effort will go a long way in multiplying your engagement.

How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 2

This is the second part in the series of posts on improving your SSI score on LinkedIn. The first post on “What can you do to establish your professional brand on LinkedIn” can be read here.

The second parameter mentioned by LinkedIn for improving your SSI score is based on your ability to find the right people. Hence, in this post, we will be elaborating on how you can improve your score on this parameter.

SSI 2

So, how can you go about finding the right people on LinkedIn? We’ve listed a few pointers below.

  • Use LinkedIn’s powerful search tool to zero in on the right decision makers: Now, LinkedIn earlier used to provide free unlimited profile searches to all users. But with time, they realized that certain recruiters and sales guys were finding loopholes in their system to search and download profiles. And all of this wasn’t paying off for LinkedIn. So, they have now limited search functionality for users unless you purchase a premium account. The search prowess of your account increases with each higher level of premium. You get more filters and greater reach with each higher level. Hence, if you’re really looking to leverage the power of LinkedIn and need to regularly search for various profiles, purchasing a premium account is indispensable. LinkedIn also recommends using Boolean search terms such as AND, OR, and NOT for your LinkedIn search.

Power tip: One important aspect most people don’t realize is that even if you purchase a premium account, your search capability on LinkedIn is still limited to your third-degree network. The larger your third-degree network base, the broader your search will be. Hence, it is really important to connect with LinkedIn power users with large networks. Further details on this are available in a separate post on How to increase your LinkedIn network exponentially. Note that this limitation of search capabilities does not apply to recruiters who purchase a national/global recruiter license (which is very expensive by the way!). 

  • Leverage warm introductions to expand your network: You might be wanting to reach out to someone who is in your second-degree network but you’re not sure if you can reach out directly without making it sound really intrusive and salesy. LinkedIn makes it easy through their introductions feature. Check out how you’re connected to that person. Then, reach out to the common connection between both of you and request the person to introduce you to the prospect. This will help you transform the cold outreach into a warm introduction through a common acquaintance/colleague.
  • Research potential prospects: LinkedIn advises you to look for commonalities to establish a relationship. When checking a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, check out the LinkedIn groups they’re a part of. This information is available right at the bottom of the profile. Request to join any of these groups. Once you are a part of the group, that can serve as a common point of engagement to reach out to the prospect. Furthermore, the advantage that Sales Navigator provides you is that you can save prospects as leads, and you keep getting regular email alerts whenever any of your leads posts anything on LinkedIn so that you can get a trigger to reach out or engage with the prospect.
  • Take advantage of who’s viewed your profile: This feature of “Who’s viewed your profile” is a great source for driving engagement on LinkedIn. Always keep checking from time to time who has viewed your profile. This will help you get a flavor of who all are really taking interest in your posts or profile on LinkedIn. You’re only able to see a few profile viewers with the free account. If you take a premium account, you can get to see profile viewers for up to 90 days ago. Treat profile viewers as inbound leads and always make it a point to engage with them.

So, there you go! These four pointers are the primary aspects that determine the score for your ability to find the right people on LinkedIn. Keep watching this space for more information on how you can improve your sales profile and ultimately your SSI score on LinkedIn.

Do share your thoughts using the comments section below.

How to improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn – Part 1

In a previous post, I’d written about what social selling entails and how to find out your social selling score (SSI) on LinkedIn. In this series of posts, we’ll explain how you can improve your SSI score based on parameters defined by LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s SSI score is calculated on the basis of four parameters, namely, establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. It is important that you focus on improving each of these parameters to improve your SSI score. We’ll elaborate on “establishing your professional brand” in this post.

Professional brand

What can you do to establish your professional brand on LinkedIn? Read on for details.

  • Complete your profile: First and foremost, ensure that you complete your profile with the customer in mind. Remember to emphasize instances that illustrate how you’ve provided value to a client. Take care to complete every detail on your LinkedIn profile, including your profile picture, headline, summary, and experience. Pay special attention to your headline because that is what makes your profile stand apart from millions of others in your domain. To understand the importance of your profile headline, just search for people using any keyword on LinkedIn, and notice how you’ll tend to click on profiles that have self-explanatory headlines.
  • Add rich content to your summary: This aspect is one of the most underutilized items among LinkedIn’s profile page functionalities. Add content that can make you stand out as a thought leader. You can add an image, video, or a presentation to showcase examples of your work or your company’s specialties. You can also upload a deck outlining your company’s products and services on Slideshare and host it on your LinkedIn summary. 
  • Post and interact with content: Always keep in mind that the basic foundation of a strong content marketing strategy is nothing other than relevant and useful content. The key is to post relevant updates on a regular basis so that you’re perceived as a thought leader in your domain. Make it a point to spend some time to curate high-quality content that can be helpful for your target audience, and then, post updates summarizing that content and explaining the importance of why should someone read what you’ve posted. Merely sharing links might not get the kind of engagement you’re looking for. If you post high-quality and relevant content, the likelihood of your content being shared and liked increases several notches. 

Power Tip: Like I’ve mentioned in a separate post, LinkedIn’s algorithm tends to promote content with links to content on LinkedIn rather than that with links to content off LinkedIn. That apart, write long form articles on LinkedIn to share your personal experiences and industry insights. This can go a long way in establishing your brand value as a thought leader. 

  • List skills & get endorsements: The “Skills” feature of LinkedIn is among the lesser used features, especially by industry leaders who don’t have time for these nitty-gritties. But if you’re really serious about networking on LinkedIn, make it a point to add relevant skills to your profile. You can do this by clicking on “Add a new skill” in the “Skills & Endorsements” section. Once you add skills, your connections will view requests to endorse your skills from time to time. Make it a point to endorse the skills of your colleagues, friends, and acquaintances to expect favors in return. Now, this is a separate argument altogether as to how reliable these endorsements are. This situation has arisen from random endorsements by random people who haven’t even worked with you once. LinkedIn doesn’t seem to have figured out a way yet to address these concerns. That said, skills and endorsements remain a factor that can influence the aspect of “establishing your professional brand” on LinkedIn.

Now, all these pointers just constitute one of the factors, i.e., establishing your professional brand, that can influence your SSI score on LinkedIn. Keep watching this space for more details on how you can ace social selling on LinkedIn.

Also, don’t forget to share your thoughts through the comments section below.

Do you know your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn?

Do you know how well you’re placed to drive social selling via LinkedIn? Are you in a sales/marketing role with a need to extensively network on LinkedIn and are looking for some metric to measure your success? Or in other words, would you like to know how effective you’re on LinkedIn? There’s a simple answer. LinkedIn has devised what they call the Social Selling Index (SSI).

Essentially, as per LinkedIn, your Social Selling Index (SSI) measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. These four parameters are monitored and your SSI is updated on a daily basis. You can check your SSI score simply by clicking on this link (you’ll need to log in to LinkedIn to know your score).

 

Minhaj SSI Score

Although some experts are sceptical and feel that the SSI has been devised by LinkedIn simply to promote their Sales Navigator offering. More so because LinkedIn claims that Sales Navigator helps users in improving their SSI score by up to 20%. Which is why you’ll find some views asking users not to bother too much about it.

That said, the four parameters that lead up to the final SSI score for an individual are actually quite indicative and necessary to determine your social selling skills. This article on how important is the LinkedIn SSI score weighs the different aspects quite well.

The SSI score feature was launched sometime in 2014 and must have definitely seen several refinements already. But it’s quite intriguing that despite being around for some time, SSI hasn’t been so popular with LinkedIn users. In fact, a huge number of frequent LinkedIn users are completely unaware that something like SSI exists! I’m certain that with continual feedback, LinkedIn will continue refining the algorithm that determines the final SSI score.

So, what can you do to improve your SSI score? LinkedIn has clearly outlined details for each of the four abovementioned parameters. We will be covering this in detail in a separate blog post soon. Keep watching this space for more.

PS: My SSI score is 75. What is yours? Do you feel that the SSI score is truly reflective of networking capability for social selling? Share your feedback through the comments section below.

Four simple steps to increase your Twitter followers

You’ve just created your Twitter account and are raring to go. Your list of contacts has been uploaded and you have begun following your favorite accounts. But do you still feel you’re missing something? Why doesn’t that follower count go beyond a crawl? Fret not! Here are a few simple steps to set the ball rolling.

Increase Twitter followers_2

  1. Write a strong bio: What a lot of people miss out on is writing a strong bio. Your bio is what attracts people to follow you on Twitter. When users are browsing through hundreds of Twitter accounts, you just get a second or two to get their attention. Your Twitter bio is like condensing your CV to within 160 characters. So, make sure that you give it your best.

Pro-tip: Ensure that your Twitter Bio explains your interests, has keywords that touch upon your profession or expertise, and has a link to your website/blog. If you’re still feeling stuck, this Twitter Bio Generator might just help you generate your Twitter Bio.

  1. Follow your competitor’s followers: Search for your competitors’ twitter accounts or accounts that focus on similar topics/interests such as yours. Then, check out their followers and follow them one by one. The logic is simple: these people have followed a Twitter account because their interests match. So, if your Twitter bio accurately reflects your interests and expertise, there is a very high probability that they will follow you back when they see your following notification! Remember to avoid obvious spam accounts and those that don’t seem to reflect your interests.

Pro-tip: Now, think about why you didn’t follow certain accounts and then revisit your own Twitter bio. Will potential followers ignore following you because your description is unclear/sounds spammy? Would you follow someone who has a similar description as yours? Take a step back and revise your Twitter bio again if needed.

  1. Build an impressive Twitter feed: Remember that apart from your own tweets and retweets, the content of whom you follow determines what will be seen in your Twitter feed. So, pick and choose whom you follow. If you begin following random Twitter accounts, your Twitter feed will be all over the place and might put off potential followers.

Pro-tip: You can choose to pin a tweet to the top of your Twitter feed. Choose this very judiciously – most people barely go down more than a scroll, and your pinned tweet is your best chance to get potential followers hooked on to your profile.

  1. Engage with your prospects: What goes around comes around. One of the best ways to increase engagement on your Twitter feed is to engage with all those who choose to engage with you. If someone retweets/likes any of your tweets, go back to check their account and retweet/like tweets that might be useful for your audience. Make it a point to follow back most people who follow you, but remember to avoid spam and irrelevant accounts. Read point 3 again to maintain your focus.

Pro-tip: Retweet interesting and insightful content from influencers in your domain and remember to add a comment to explain why someone should check that out. You’ll pick up more followers if people begin to perceive you as a curator of good content.

That’s all for now! Go and try out these steps right away. Do not forget to add your comments below to let us know if you found these tips to be useful.

Three amazing free tools for start-ups

Start-ups typically scout for seed funding and angel investors to fuel their growth dreams. But until that happens, most gigs function on shoe-string budgets. It is during this phase that entrepreneurs are on the lookout for free but effective tools that help in facilitating their operations.

Free tools 1

There are thousands of tools out there, and finding the right one for your needs can be a bit daunting. But then, that’s what JBR (Just Being Resourceful) is for! We’ve enlisted a few really effective ones below so that you can not only work hard but work smart!

  1. MailChimp for Email Marketing
    E-mails are a great way to reach out to your audience, keep them updated on your new product launches, or to deliver your weekly newsletter. MailChimp is a wonderful tool that allows you to streamline your email campaigns.

The free version allows uploading a member contact list of up to 2000 members and lets you automate and analyze up to 12,000 mails a month! The fine print says that you can send up to 2000 emails in any 24-hour period. MailChimp’s Forever Free plan packs in a lot of stuff for a free offering. Check out all the details here.

Pro-tip: Always start with a free plan and scale up if needed. For users who send email campaigns to a large user base on an infrequent basis, their Pay As You Go Plan proves to be a useful package.

  1. Hootsuite for Social Media Management
    Managing social media efficiently is indispensable for any fast-growing start-up. It’s not just about being present on social media, but managing it well enough to create an impact and drive traffic and business leads. Hootsuite is a personal favorite and a very versatile tool to help you schedule your updates across various time zones on three social media channels of your choice absolutely free!

You can schedule up to 30 social media updates at a time for free on any given day. What this means is that once some of your scheduled updates have been sent out, you can schedule more for the rest of the day! Hootsuite allows you to attach media, schedule similar updates across different channels, and even tag people/accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Hootsuite is a great tool for several other purposes, but I’ll elaborate on that in a later blog post.

Pro-tip: Try out Hootsuite’s auto-scheduling feature. This feature is available in the compose message window, and it helps in automatically scheduling your updates for optimal impact.

  1. SurveyMonkey for Customer Feedback and Research
    It goes without saying that any business that doesn’t listen to its customers is bound to see failure. Customer feedback is of utmost importance for any business, and SurveyMonkey is a very well-known and great tool for you to launch those surveys and keep tabs on your customers’ raves and rants.

Use this survey tool to upgrade and improve your services, understand user sentiment, conduct market research, and much more! SurveyMonkey lets you create surveys, share them via multiple media platforms, get responses, and turn them in to actionable insights! The basic free plan gets you up to 10 questions and free 100 responses per survey.

Pro-tip: Remember to check out the various professional-looking templates available in their free plan.

That’s it for now! These are just three of the innumerable free tools available out there. While I plan to enlist a few more such tools, I’d like to hear from you on what tools you think can be very useful for start-ups. Enter your thoughts using the comments section below, and I’ll cover them in my next blog post on free tools for start-ups.