How to improve your LinkedIn social selling index (SSI) score

The LinkedIn Social Selling Index was created as a formula to quantify how well people have embraced social selling on a scale from 1 to 100.

According to LinkedIn, social sellers:

  • Create 45 percent more opportunities than peers with a lower SSI
  • 51 percent more likely to achieve quota
  • Outsell peers who don’t use social media

How is Your Social Selling Index Score Calculated?

LinkedIn’s SSI score is calculated using the following four categories:

  • Establish your professional brand – How complete is your LinkedIn profile?
  • Find the right people – Are you using Advanced Search function or Lead Builder to identify prospects?
  • Engage with insights – Are you sharing content and engaging other people’s status updates or company updates?
  • Build relationships – Are building relationships with senior leaders, decisions makers and people at your accounts?

How to Improve Your Social Selling Index Score

Here are five tips to help you improve your score. By spending as little as 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn and following these tips, your social selling index score (SSI) should improve.

1. Calculate your LinkedIn social selling index score

Once you see your score, you can see what categories of the four total categories you need to improve. Once you get a baseline of where you stand, you know where you need to concentrate on. You can track your score weekly to see if you are making improvements or not and see how you are doing compared to your industry and network.

Tip: Figure out your SSI score on LinkedIn and bookmark the link to your web browser.

2. Boost your personal brand with a completed LinkedIn profile

Personal branding is what others say when you are not in the room. Your clients and prospects view your LinkedIn profile as much as you view their LinkedIn profile. The top part of your LinkedIn profile is what most people look at when they view your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t already completed your LinkedIn profile, then it is an excellent place to start raising your SSI score. LinkedIn’s algorithms look at profiles that are complete when determining your score. For the people (you haven’t met in person), trust is key in determining whether it’s worth their time to connect and build a relationship.

Tip: Update your LinkedIn profile with these 10 steps. It is important to add a professional headshot since people are 7x more likely to engage with you if you have a good headshot. It is also important to add a summary that is optimized for the new LinkedIn new and look for the desktop. To help you create that summary, you can use LinkedIn summary templates for sales pros, learn how to write a LinkedIn summary and find inspiration in these 3 brilliant LinkedIn summaries.

3. Proactively search for the right people to connect with on LinkedIn

LinkedIn was created to build your network of connections. Your SSI score rewards you for proactively searching for the right people. Are seeking second-degree or third-degree connections? Are you looking for influencers and decision makers to connect with? Have you connected with everyone you know on LinkedIn?

Tip: Use the people you may know feature on LinkedIn to grow your network.

4. Engage with relevant insights and share valuable content on LinkedIn

Many people find that posting updates and sharing content on LinkedIn is one of the most enjoyable parts of social selling. If you are liking, sharing and/or posting content that is interesting to you, it is probably interesting to your network (and those beyond it). Remember, make sure that the content you like and share is relevant, positioning you as an expert who knows the latest in the industry. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 74 percent of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to bring value and insight and according to Forrester, 82 percent of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the winning vendor. Learn why value and insights win in social selling.

Tip: Share and/or like content posted to your company’s LinkedIn page; share content from your company’s blog and/or resource page; and/or share content from these 5 content curation resources.

5. Join groups to connect with the right people on LinkedIn

It’s all about who you know not what you know. Your SSI score considers both your connections on LinkedIn and the acceptance rate of your connection requests. If you join groups on LinkedIn, you can find the right people to connect with on LinkedIn.

Tip: Find and join groups on LinkedIn.

Your LinkedIn SSI Score is Just a Number

Everything you do on LinkedIn should add value so your network (and even those beyond it) will think of you in the future and recommend you to others. With face-to-face conversations with your clients and prospects, you understand how to build trusted relationships. Those same principles apply online with LinkedIn.

The SSI score just measures it for you.

Remember, your SSI score is just a number that indicates your engagement on LinkedIn, what really counts is your business results. When you are more active on LinkedIn, your SSI score will rise. The key is to be consistent and put in 15 minutes a day.

What tips would you add to this list? How did you grow your SSI score?

What B2B buyers really want marketers to do [infographic]

According to a recent Demand Gen Report on content preferences, business to business (B2B) buyers are looking to consume content that is concrete, has fewer sales messages, and is more educational.

With less time to devote to researching potential purchases, B2B buyers want marketers to not bury the lede. They want marketers to get right to the point with helpful and informative content that lays out a formula for success.

Here are some key highlights from the survey. B2B buyers want:

  • on-demand, bundled and packaged content
  • mobile-friendly formats
  • visual and interactive content
  • content with trustworthy sources, data, and research
  • prescriptive content such as “X steps to” or “X tips for”
  • blueprints and toolkits

Check out this infographic below for more information about what buyers want from marketers:

What Buyers Really Want From Content Marketers Infographic | Uberflip

This infographic was created by Uberflip.

7 of the best image websites for free high-quality photos

High-quality photos are critical to a successful content marketing and social media strategy.  According to research, content with images get 94 percent more views and if a relevant image is paired with the same information, people retain 65 percent of the information three days later.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad stock images that people and companies use with their content.  There has been a growing number of websites with beautiful stock images that can help your content be more memorable and make it “pop” off the page.  The old expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true here.

These free image websites utilize the creative commons zero (CC0) license, which indicates ownership rights have been waived so no attributions are needed.  They are simply public domain.

Here is a curation of the best image websites for free, high-quality stock photos:



Unsplash adds 10 photos every 10 days via an email subscription or via their website.  You can browse the website by scrolling down the home page, browse by new [photos], searching by collection or keywords or search by photographer name.  You can switch to the grid format as well.  Visit their photo license page for the terms and conditions.


Stock Snap

StockSnap images can be sorted by date, what images are trending, the number of views or downloads.  It has a big search area on the homepage where you can search based on keywords or by popular searches. You can also browse by recently added photos.  Visit their photo license page for the terms and conditions.



Pixabay has over 940,000 photos, vectors and art illustrations.  You can browse by Editor’s Choice, photographers, videos, photos and cameras that took the photos.  It has a robust or advanced search button that helps you find the right photo based on certain criteria such as orientation (horizontal or vertical), color and size.  Visit their photo license page for the terms and conditions.



Pexels has a big search button on its home page that shows you popular searches.  At the bottom of the home page, they do “while you were away” section that highlights popular photos.  You can also browse by popular photos, popular searches and photographer leaderboard (users with the most downloads of photos uploaded in the last 30 days). Pexels curates photos from Gratisography and Unsplash to help you simplify the image search process.  Visit their photo license page for the terms and conditions.



GratisographyYou can search by categories such as animals, nature, and objects.  Or you can do a “magic auto search” to find a photo.  Photos are added to the website every week.  Visit their photo license page for the terms and conditions.

Negative Space

Negative Space

Negative Space adds new free stock images every week that are sortable by categories such as business, people, and nature.  The website also has a section for popular collections.  If you follow them on social media, you will get updates on new images.  Visit their photo license page for the terms and conditions.



This website is sorted by galleries. If you click on the image, you will get the name of the image and you will get a button for related images or how you can quickly download the image. It is also sorted by featured images, photoshoots. You can subscribe to their email to stay up-to-date with their blog and latest additions. Visit their photo license page for the terms and conditions.

What free image websites would you add to this list?

The A to Z guide to personal branding

Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not around. It is how the world sees you. It is your reputation. It is who you are. It is what you value. It is your unique perspective on the world.

In today’s digital age, personal branding is not optional.

A powerful personal brand has its benefits. You can take control of your online identity and influence the perception other people have about you. It can help you to attract opportunities such as a promotion, a new job, a new client, or a new speaking opportunity.

By establishing yourself as an expert on certain topics, you can become a “go-to” source of information. Creating your successful personal brand will require time and effort but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

It starts with understanding and mastering the fundamentals.

Here is your A to Z guide to personal branding:


Personal branding is your individual responsibility. That is why it is called personal. No one should manage your brand but you. We are all chief executive officers (CEOs) of our own companies and our job is to be the chief marketing officer (CMO) of the brand called you.


In today’s age, it is important to distinguish between your personal and professional brand by understanding your audience. One of the easiest ways to balance personal and professional is through your bio. For example, your bio on LinkedIn will be different from your bio on Facebook. Most likely, some of your followers will track down all your social media accounts so it is up to you on who you “let in” into your social networks by accepting or ignoring their connection requests. It is critical to balance your personal and professional brand to make sure that your digital body language is what you want others to know.


It is important to create compelling, entertaining and helpful content through your blog and/or submitting content as a guest contributor to other publications/blogs. By providing a consistent amount of content over time, you will earn a reputation as an expert on the content you publish.


Think of the Internet as a copy machine. It is easy to replicate but tough to delete. For example, social media platforms like Twitter are easy to delete while others like Pinterest are impossible. If you don’t like what you see online, you need to act using tools like

Elevator Pitch

If you were in the elevator with your future boss or the CEO of your company, could you tell that person who you are in 30 seconds or less? That is your elevator pitch. Learn how to quickly develop your elevator pitch.


Is personal branding a fad? Nope. Look at the growth of the words “personal brand” in Google Trends from 2004 to the present. In a survey of hiring managers, 56 percent of them admit candidates that have a personal website are highly impressive. To beat your competition and find that dream job, you need to have a strong personal brand. Your current company should be helping your build that personal brand or you should think about leaving that company for that one that will. According to Fast Company, personal branding is essential to career success.


Expressing gratitude and generosity are qualities that make people remember you. Being noticed is critical in building your personal brand. By being generous, you build goodwill and are associated with positive feelings. This will help you open the door to new opportunities and experiences.


A habit is doing something that you don’t have to think about it. There are good habits and bad habits. Make sure you cultivate good habits like exercise, helping others, being proactive, and developing your leadership skills. Learn the 10 habits for building a personal brand.


Your personal brand helps you clearly and consistently define and communicate who you are. There are three key components of your personal brand identity: 1) who you are and what you do;  2) why you do it; 3) your tagline.


Your brand will tell employers why you are a good fit for their company and how you can help them reach their business objectives. Your personal brand must shine in your resume, your cover letter and your online presence such as your LinkedIn profile or your personal website. Learn why your personal brand is essential for getting a job.


Keep it simple, stupid (KISS). If you understand a topic, you know how to explain it simply. People who have strong personal brands can communicate complex topics in simple terms. Learn the 10 ways use to KISS principle to simplify your life.


If there one social media platform that you should be on to develop your personal brand, it is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the most professional social media platforms of all the social media networks. LinkedIn demonstrates what you are all about and it shows others what your colleagues think about you in a professional way (think: recommendations and endorsements). Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile in 10 steps.


Your personal brand is changing daily as you learn and grow. It is important that you manage your personal brand like a company manages its company brand. As it evolves, it is important to keep tabs on it. It is important to do the tough work up front like crafting your elevator pitch and updating your LinkedIn profile so you can reap the rewards in the future. Learn why managing your personal brand is like being a scientist that fails 85 percent of the time in their quest to discover the right formula and breakthrough.


Your name is powerful. It is the main thing that people ask for when they meet you. It is one of the most important means by which someone can identify and refer to you. It is something that we use every day but we don’t realize how important it is until someone misspells it or mispronounces it. It is one of the most unexploited tools in personal branding. If your name is common, it is more difficult to brand yourself so you may want to use your middle name (think Samuel L. Jackson, Michael J. Fox, Stephen A. Smith), your professional career (think @prsarahevans) and your significant other (think 14 best celebrity super couple nicknames).


As part of personal branding 101, the overall goal with branding yourself is to differentiate yourself in the marketplace so you can attain your objectives. What are your objectives or goals? It is important to define those so you can better define yourself and how you are different. To be hired, you must first be found.


Don’t wait for things to happen to you. It is critical to proactively manage your personal brand so you can control how the world sees you. The more active you are in managing your personal brand, the more control you have over your life. There are many things you can proactively do such as launch your blog, update your LinkedIn profile, create your bio, build your network, get a new headshot, update your personal website, or learn new skills.


Check-in on your personal brand and online identity, at least quarterly. It could be as simple as emailing your network quarterly. It is important to build a feedback loop with friends, family, colleagues, and others you trust so they are helping you polish and refine you and your personal brand.


Do you Google yourself and find another person with your same name pops on the screen? If your answer to that question is “yes” then you will want to monitor and be proactive about your personal brand and online reputation. There are 10 key steps for creating a successful personal brand.


Storytelling is one of the most critical ways to make your personal brand shine and grab the attention of your audience, grow your network and build stronger relationships. It is one of the main components of good marketing. Remember, you are the CEO and CMO of the brand called you. Your storytelling abilities set the foundation for your brand and provide a strategy for future growth. Learn how to define your personal brand using storytelling.


There are many apps, websites, and tools that you can use to help you build your personal brand. Here are 10 free tools to help you develop your personal brand.


A unicorn is a legendary or mythical creature that has a horn coming out from its forehead. A unicorn person is someone who has very specific skills who can jump in without any training and work magic. To really differentiate yourself, it is critical to market yourself as a unicorn who delivers a lot of value and is rare.


What can you offer in terms of your talents, skills, network, etc. that will add value to people’s lives? For example, are you asking the right questions during a discussion at work? Are you helping someone improve their LinkedIn profile? Are you helping someone find a job by using your network? Are you proofreading someone’s resume?


With your personal brand, you shouldn’t over-emphasize your competence and skills and appear cold. To exert influence, it is important to balance competence with warmth.


Xenagogy is a guidebook. You may want to read the complete guide to building your personal brand to learn more about personal branding.


Opportunities will find you when you have a strong personal brand. Your personal brand is about you and what you stand for: your values, your abilities, your skills, your network and your actions. What is the overall impression you want people to have of you? Create your personal brand statement to proactively address this upfront.

Zig Zag

To be different and differentiate yourself, it is critical to do the exact opposite everyone else does so you stand out. Learn the zig-zag method for catching attention and building credibility.

What are the letters of your personal brand?

What words would you add this A to Z list?

The A to Z guide to social selling

Social selling is the next evolution of content marketing and social media.

To help you understand this hot topic, it is important to know (and master) the fundamentals. Social selling is a term that is being used more often, just like the term digital marketing. But what does social selling mean?

At its core, social selling is half social media and half content marketing.

Social selling is an evolution for marketing and a revolution for sales. The old sales model used to be about cold calls, qualifying leads, and sales demos. The new sales model is about education, social networks, and engagement.

Your sales team is looking for a partner in marketing to help with this transition toward being a digital and social business, and marketing is looking for more insight from sales on what works and what doesn’t, especially with the content a company produces. Learn how to launch a successful social selling program and learn why value and insights help companies win with social selling.

Here is your A to Z guide to social selling:


Having a positive attitude with social media is a great place to start. If you think you will succeed in leading a social media program at your company or using social selling to find and engage clients and prospects, you will. It is simple: you can do anything you think you can do. If you think you can master social selling, you can. It all starts with your attitude toward social.

Business Case

To build the business case for social selling, it is important to document your social selling program through a charter that explains the scope of the initiative, identifying an executive sponsor or sponsors and a timeline to show what is or what is not working. You may want to interview people at your company who are doing social selling well. For example: How are they taking advantage of social selling and what appointments/business has it gotten them? This helps you baseline where you are currently now with the initiative and then you can talk about where you need to go. You may want to create a social selling maturity model that outlines your strategy for social selling and/or you may want to create a one-page document that outlines your strategy. It is also critical to have internal social selling champions, case studies from other companies and what your competitors are doing with social selling. All these ideas can help you build your business case for social selling.


“Content is the new currency for the modern sales professional,” says Jill Rowley, a social selling evangelist. According to Sirius Decisions, up to 70 percent content at a company goes unused. Social selling can help your company better understand what content your sales team is sharing online. As marketing understands what content the sales team is using with clients/customers, they can create more content that helps sales. With buyers consuming more content before they buy and with consumers digest more than 10 pieces of online information before making a purchase decision, it is important that your company provides content that informs, educates, persuades and retains your customers or clients. As Marcus Sheridan, a digital marketing expert, says: “Great content is the greatest sales tool in the world … period.”


As Theodore Levitt, author and professor at Harvard Business School, says: “Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.” One of the ways is to demonstrate your company’s strong unique selling proposition online with your ideal group of customers. As Seth Godin says: “Instead of working hard to prove skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers… they are going to spread the word for you.” By demonstrating you and your company’s insights via social media, you can have a competitive differentiation about your topic(s). Companies that provide value and insights are winning their customers or clients over. According to Corporate Visions, 74 percent of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to bring value and insight and according to Forrester, 82 percent of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the winning vendor.


Luckily for marketers, social selling is only an evolution of their successful social media and content marketing strategy. Social media and content marketing have become critical to successful sales in today’s modern world. In essence, social selling is a hybrid of social media and content marketing. Social selling is not just a tool for marketing as shown by high-performing companies such as IBM, SAP, and reaping the benefits of marketing empowering sales with training and tools.

Follow Up

To make your social selling program successful, it needs to stick. Reinforcement and follow-up are critical to keeping the program on track. According to Aberdeen Group research, companies that reinforce post-training activities achieve better business results. Ongoing education and reinforcement are vital to the health of your program.


It is critical to have milestones and timelines in place. This could be included in your charter or strategy on a page we discussed earlier. They help with ongoing goal tracking and reinforcement so your program doesn’t lose its momentum.


Social selling helps salespeople do their homework on their clients and buyers. According to CSO Insights, 39 percent say the primary benefit of social selling is to reduce account and contact research time. Social selling is a great way to prove to clients and prospects that the sales and/or pre-sales teams have done their homework.


Too many companies keep their marketing and sales separated into two teams. They don’t connect with each other nor do they have access to each other’s data. This silo mentality results in a huge lost opportunity for these businesses — upwards of 10 percent or more revenue annually, according to IDC as compiled by HubSpot. With the growth of digital marketing and marketing taking on more of the sales or buying journey, the term SMarketing— the process of integrating the sales and marketing processes of a business—is rising in importance. Companies with tight sales and marketing alignment achieve faster revenue and profit growth. B2B companies with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams see 24 percent faster revenue growth and 27 percent faster profit growth over a three-year period, according to a study by SiriusDecisions. To make sure your social selling program is successful, it is important to partner with others internally, especially leadership from departments such as sales, sales enablement, solution/product/services, human resources, and training.


Social selling will help salespeople keep their jobs. According to some predictions, B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce by 2020.


Buyers are changing the landscape for sales and marketing. Buyers want advisors, not ready-made solutions. With the rise of the Internet and social media, buyers are including more people in decision-making process. Therefore, most buying cycles or sales cycles are getting longer.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

According to LinkedIn, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is designed and built for sales professionals to do social selling right. It helps sales focus on the right prospects to build relationships. You can purchase LinkedIn Sales Navigator on the enterprise level or on the individual level.


Marketing can provide their digital marketing expertise to the sales team who needs help in this area. Marketing is looking for more insight from sales on what works and what doesn’t. And the sales team is looking for help with social media and their online presence. According to the Sales Management Association, two in three companies don’t have a social media strategy for sales, but 80 percent of sales teams would be more productive with a greater social media presence.


Social selling is a great way to keep up-to-date with the news of your ecosystem. This would include your partners, your competitors, analysts of your industry, and clients/prospects. By following companies on LinkedIn, your ecosystem is now your LinkedIn home page.


Buyers have more power in today’s world and their habits have changed because they can do more research online before interacting with someone. They can also ask more people about the products and services they are going to buy before interacting with sales. According to LinkedIn, 5.4 people are now involved in the average B2B buying decision; 75 percent of B2B buyers now use social media to be more informed on vendors, and 90 percent of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach.


For example, to get C-suite buy-in and build the business case for social selling, it is critical that your initiative starts small with a pilot. The pilot should be long enough to collect information but short enough so that it doesn’t take up too many resources.


Research has shown the sales person who uses social selling performs better than the sales person who doesn’t. According to LinkedIn, social sellers create 45 percent more opportunities; social sellers are 51 percent more likely to achieve quota and 78 percent of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.


Social selling is a revolution for sales. The old sales model used to be about cold calls, qualifying leads and sales demos. The new sales model is about education, social networks, and engagement. According to the Corporate Executive Board and OgilyOne, 60 percent of B2B customer research is conducted before contacting sales and 71 percent of salespeople believe their role will be radically different in five years.


LinkedIn has a social selling index (SSI) is a formula to show how well your team has embraced social selling on a scale from 1 to 100. To improve your score, LinkedIn suggest you do four key things: 1) establish your professional brand or complete your LinkedIn profile, 2) find the right people to connect with and then connect with them, 3) engage with insights or share content and like/comment on other people’s posts, and 4) build relationships with your network, especially senior leaders and decision makers. Learn more about how to increase your SSI score. In the LinkedIn Sales Navigator version, the SSI is on the home dashboard.


To help with reinforcement, explore some social selling tools like LinkedIn Sales NavigatorPeopleLinx, and TrapIt to name a few. Learn more about other social selling tools.

Use cases

It is important to see how other companies are taking advantage of social selling. LinkedIn and Sales for Life have good case studies for social selling.


Not everyone learns well through written text. Here is a social selling video on traditional selling vs. social selling.


Look at the growth of “social selling” in Google Trends. It is a hot topic marketers, salespeople, and teams that support sales should be addressing at their organizations.


Xenagogy is a guidebook. If you are looking for a massive guidebook on social selling, I would read HubSpot’s sales professional’s go-to guide to social selling. Also, you should read LinkedIn’s how-to guide to social selling [pdf].


This is an old English dialect word for someone who goes fishing and comes home empty-handed. In today’s modern world, social selling is ensuring that your sales team doesn’t fish and come up with nothing.


Marketers should be approaching social selling with zeal or great energy in pursuit of an objective. With more of the buying process happening online first, marketers should embrace social selling with enthusiasm because social selling will help them become better digital marketers and help the sales team become better at their jobs.

What Would You Add?

What words did you like or not like in this A to Z guide? What would you add or replace? What other popular social selling terms would you add to this list?

Social selling: why value and insights win [infographic]

Social selling is one of the most powerful ways to enhance your sales and marketing efforts. It is revolutionizing sales like digital marketing changed marketing.

Social selling is paramount to boosting your social media and content marketing tactics. Companies that provide value and insights through social selling are winning their customers or clients over.

In this infographic below, find out what social selling is and why you should care. There are 40+ helpful insights and compelling reasons why your company should start a social selling program right now.

social selling infographic - knowledgeenthusiast


This infographic was made with the graphic design software Venngage.

47 digital marketing tools to help you be more productive

One of the biggest challenges digital marketers face is finding the right set of digital marketing tools. I rounded up some of the best digital marketing tools out there to maximize your efforts when it comes to Twitter; day-to-day work tasks; search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword research; and your personal brand and online reputation.

12 Twitter tools to help you maximize your tweets

Some of the top questions when it comes to Twitter: How do your tweets noticed? How do you get them retweeted and liked? And how do you grow your followers? The key is to optimize your tweets. These tools can help you ensure you maximize every tweet.

15 helpful tools to increase your productivity in the workplace

Time-saving tools are critical I today’s world where it seems like we always have pressing deadlines. These tools can help you be more productive at work, ranging from converting PDFs to PowerPoint slides, discovering how much time you spend time working on certain things to creating cool graphics for your social media and blog posts.

10 free keyword research tools for writing compelling headlines

What keywords does your audience type into search to find your company or your competitors? Keyword research is the foundation of a good SEO strategy and a key component of your content marketing strategy. To write more compelling and better headlines for your articles, blog posts, landing pages, news releases, and overall website, these tools can help you increase your website traffic, improve visibility in search engines such as Google and Bing, improve your odds of others your sharing your content via their social network, and genetate ideas for future creation and curation of content.

10 free tools to manage your personal brand and online reputation

Do you Google yourself and find someone else with your same name? Want attract recruiters and future employers to contact you? Want to land that perfect job? If your answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you should take a more proactive approach to managing your personal brand and online reputation. It is not an easy task but these free tools can help you.

What tools do you find helpful as a digital marketer?