Social Media Tips & Blog

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index

LinkedIn is my favorite social media platform for engaging with people and growing my influence with my community. I find I can connect and engage more deeply with people on LinkedIn.

I try to reach out to at least four or five people each week to make new connections and then follow up with at least one phone conversation each week. This has helped me build a community, not just of people who might do business with me, but also of other people in the industry I work in who may be good referral partners (my friendly competitors). I keep track of the people I talk with in a spreadsheet so I can refer back to it when referring to others. It also helps me monitor the effectiveness of my efforts.

One number on LinkedIn that I monitor is the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI). The social selling index has been around for some time. It used to be available only to those who paid for the Premium account but now anyone can access their SSI. This is an algorithm that LinkedIn came up with after analyzing a group of top performing sales leaders and the results they achieved. The result is a score between 0 and 100. It was created by LinkedIn as a way for people using LinkedIn for sales to see how they rated. Of course most of my clients aren’t using LinkedIn for sales; but the rating can still indicate how well they are utilizing LinkedIn to establish their brand and build relationships. It’s something I track monthly for my clients. LinkedIn Social Selling Index screenshot

A couple of months ago I decided to take a more proactive approach to see if I could improve my SSI score. After just a few weeks I was able to increase that score from 64 to 71. That score alone doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s important to note also where you are in your industry and network.

The formula for the LinkedIn SSI score is based on the 4 components of social selling, as defined by LinkedIn:

  1. Establish your professional brand
  2. Find the right people
  3. Engage with insights
  4. Build relationships

Let’s discuss each of those in a bit more detail and what you can do to increase your SSI score.

Establish your professional brand.

Be sure your profile is 100% complete with a profile photo (headshot), headline, and complete information that includes your keywords. When filling in your information, be sure to keep your customer in mind so they will want to contact you based on what you’ve provided. Include examples of your work in the Featured section – videos, SlideShare presentations, PDFs. You can boost your SSI score even more by publishing articles on LinkedIn and endorsing others. Also give and ask for Recommendations. All of this will help you become a thought-leader in your industry.

Find the right people.

I search for people in groups and through mutual connections. You can ask a first-degree connection for an introduction to a second or third-degree connection. Of course using LinkedIn’s paid Sales Navigator will increase the chances of this score being higher. If you use Sales Navigator you can unlock more of those who have viewed your profile and then potentially connect with them and their network. If you don’t pay for Sales Navigator, you are limited in what you see when you click on Who viewed your profile. For most of my clients who are not directly in sales, I don’t believe there’s a need to pay for Sales Navigator.

Engage with insights.

Do this by sharing conversation-worthy updates. Post content relevant to prospects and become a trusted source of insight. Participate in groups with thoughtful comments, questions, and content. Comment on other people’s articles and posts.

Build relationships.

Strengthen your network by finding and establishing trust with decision makers. When you do invite people to connect, be sure to send a personalized note explaining briefly why you’d like to connect. Even a simple note such as, “We’re both in the ‘XYZ’ group here on LinkedIn and I’d like to connect to add you to my professional network.” Once you’ve connected, develop the relationship. Provide information they can use. Invite them to chat by phone or Zoom, assuring them it’s not a sales call. Here’s how I do that.

I have an interesting story to tell about using LinkedIn. Someone named Joe connected with me on LinkedIn and booked a complimentary phone consultation so I could answer some questions he had about using social media. Later he messaged me on LinkedIn because he needed someone in my area to do some handyman work on a property he owns in the area (he lives out of state). I was glad to send him the name and number of someone I know to help him out. For me this was the perfect example of using LinkedIn to engage and build community. Now Joe hasn’t paid me any money. He hasn’t become a client. But he was in need of a connection that I was able to provide. If he ever does need my services, or know someone who does, who do you think he’ll call? He did provide a wonderful review on my Facebook page as a result of the initial complimentary phone consultation we had.

Some people say consistently spend 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn and you’ll see the SSI score improve. Those same people say, “remember, it’s just a number.” I do check mine usually once a month and watch for the number to remain stable and rise. If it goes down, I don’t worry about it. But I do see why that may be the case so I can see were to focus my efforts to bring the score back up.

And, as one of my clients said, “if you think it’s just a tool to stimulate people to buy Sales Navigator, then fuggedaboudit!” (That’s how they tawk in the Bronx.) Can you tell she’s from New York?

Authors and Book Publishing Industry Experts: Two New Interview Series in 2021

2021 Interview SeriesAuthors and book publishing industry experts, as well as everyone else, would no doubt agree that 2020 has been a challenging year. Yet, as one of my colleagues noted, since everyone has suffered in some way during the pandemic. It’s put things in perspective for us, helping us focus more on helping others.

In 2021 I want to focus on helping you, my readers and clients. One way I’m doing that is by introducing two new concurrent interview series in 2021. In 2020 I interviewed business podcasters so you could see if their podcast might be a good fit for you to be a guest on. You can read those interviews here. In 2021 the two interview series will be one with nonfiction authors and another with book publishing industry experts.

The Two New Interview Series

One series will start with authors I have worked with at some point over the past 15 years. In addition to providing exposure for those authors and their books, those authors will share how they weathered through 2020 during the pandemic and their favorite book marketing tip.

The other series is with experts in the book publishing industry will include editors, ghostwriters, publishing consultants, book coaches, and authors assistants. You will learn more about them and their business and find out if they are a good fit for you if you’re in need of their type of expertise. They will also share their favorite tip for using social media.

It is my hope that by highlighting the work of these authors and experts they might gain new readers and clients. And you will benefit by learning tips they share on book marketing, social media, and weathering through a pandemic.

Here are some of the people whose interviews you’ll be reading: Chrissy Das, Cristen Iris, Faith Wilcox, Jeanne Rodriguez, Anne Janzer, Laurie Buchanan.

If you know of anyone in the book publishing industry who would be a good fit for this series or a nonfiction author who launched a new book during 2020 amid the pandemic, please have them contact me.

Watch for our first 2021 interview here on the blog on January 5, 2021.

Time to Update Your Author Bio

The end of each year is a good time to update your author bio. Your author bio helps potential readers learn more about you and why they should read your book(s). If you’ve written a new book this past year or received a book award, update your author bio with that information.author bio

Here are some things you might include in an author bio:

  • Titles of your books
  • Book awards received
  • Work experience relevant to your book’s topic. (As an example, a client writing a book about coping with grief would include in her bio that she is a psychotherapist with 30+ years of experience in grief counseling.)
  • Something personal so your reader can get to know you better – perhaps where you live, that you’re a mother of three beautiful daughters, hobbies, or the inspiration for why you wrote your book.
  • Links to your website and/or social media platforms

It is a good idea to write a list of all the places you need to update your bio so you don’t forget. They might include your:

  • Website
  • Media kit
  • Amazon author profile
  • Goodreads profile
  • Facebook author page
  • LinkedIn bio
  • Instagram bio
  • Twitter bio
  • Pinterest
  • BookBub profile
  • Anywhere you submit articles such as Medium
  • Any other places online you may have your bio

iDigress Podcast with Host Troy Sandidge

1. Tell us about your podcastTroy Sandidge photo

iDigress Podcast is a fast-paced, energetic, value-packed podcast covering Marketing, Business, Strategy, and Social Media infused with culture. The podcast is very digestible, with all episodes under 20 minutes with key takeaways. This would be a beneficial podcast for SMBs (Small-Medium Businesses), Entrepreneurs, Start-ups, Sidehustlers, and even National Brands. I provide successful digital marketing tips, strategies, systems, solutions, and frameworks during each episode. A new episode is released every Wednesday.

2. Why did you start this podcast?

I didn’t see too many podcasts in my field that articulated things and connected culture from a BIPOC perspective. Not only that, I wanted to provide an audio experience that is different from the norm. I wanted the podcast to educate, engage, entertain as well as spark curiosity and provide insight that could be utilized immediately.

3. How long have you been podcasting?

I’ve been appearing as a guest (and even sometimes co-hosts) for the past 4 years on podcasts on Marketing, Social Media, Faith, Motivation, Business, Technology, etc. With everything going on in 2020, I thought it was time I created my own to connect and grow with my community in new ways.

4. What do you look for in a guest?

A guest would be one who can provide unique experiences no matter what industry they are in or phase of their career, as long as their story and insight can connect back to either Marketing, Business, Social Media, Strategy, or Culture. You’ll notice I currently don’t have guests on the show, as the podcast isn’t an interview-themed style show. But there is a list where guests can be added and will be part of the show at pivotal podcast episode milestones.

5. How can listeners find you?

Podcast – search “iDigress” (all one word) on your favorite place you like to listen to podcasts
Troy’s Social – social media is @FindTroy on all social platforms

6. Is there anything else you’d like to share?  

I’d like to leave my Marketing Philosophy for thought:
“Imagination is the Engine.
Content is the Fuel.
Social Media is the Roadmap.
Marketing is the Roadmap.
Sales is the Destination.
Culture is the GPS.”

Troy Sandidge Bio:

Troy Sandidge is a renowned marketing strategist who empowers brands to increase social engagement, elevate brand authority, and maximize revenue through his D.A.R.T. Marketing Methodology™ and C.L.O.V.E.R. Business Framework.™

As a former Vice President of a Chicago create agency and currently the Chief Strategy Officer of a national brand agency, Troy has over 10 years of experience navigating brands through the “digital universe.” He is also an international speaker known for his dynamic energy and frequent use of acronyms. 

Brands partner with Troy to build personalized solutions to their marketing problems and dilemmas. He leverages the power of social media, relationship marketing, community building  to achieve the results brands want. Troy is a Leading Source of Successful Social Media Marketing Solutions by the New York Weekly and a Los Angeles Wire’s 30 Under 30.

The marketing strategies, systems, and solutions Troy develops for SMBs to Fortune 500 companies have cumulatively generated millions in revenue and counting.

Marketing on Social Media . . . by Not Marketing

Guest post by Jenn Gott, indie authorwhat are you baking today

I follow a lot of authors on social media.

This should come as no surprise. Anyone with an interest in reading or writing, especially if you hope to build a career in “the biz,” has undoubtedly followed their fair share of wordsmiths. And sure, some of it is for networking purposes, and some of it is because they post a lot of marketing and publishing content that I find useful.

But by far, the largest group of authors I follow is made up of those that I simply like following.

Maybe they have a cute cat they’re always posting photos of. Maybe they offer relatable, encouraging insights into their writing process. Maybe they support the same political causes I do and I like how they articulate their convictions. Maybe they’re just funny, or have a unique way of expressing the feelings we all experience while trying to get through the day.

But here’s the crucial thing: of all the authors I’ve started following just for fun, I’ve gone on to purchase books from nearly every single one of them.

It’s a weird balance when you start using social media as a writer. You have work you want to promote, but you know that you can’t just post a stream of constant “Buy my book!” tweets. You want to be authentic and connect with readers. Yet at the same time, no one is interested in what you had for breakfast, right?

Like everything in writing, there’s a delicate balance to using social media. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that people are interested in the tiny details of your life — so long as you make it interesting.

Don’t just post a photo of what you’re up to; make a little joke in the caption, or ask a question to get people to interact in the comments. Also remember to mix it up! Living through a pandemic doesn’t always make for the most exciting social content, but whenever you find yourself doing something different or a little adventurous (going for a hike in a new location, or trying out a cool recipe), make an effort to record it.

Of course, “being interesting” doesn’t mean that you can’t do any kind of promo or marketing for your book. Obviously you’ll need to let your audience know when you’ve got a new book, when you’re running a sale or a giveaway, or even just when you reach an important milestone and want to celebrate it with friends and fans!

The important thing is that if you’ve built up an authentic audience, these bursts of news are going to be read by people who want to know about them. Especially if they’ve seen your progress as you’ve been prepping your book for release, the enthusiasm and support that follows will be a lot stronger and more effective than if you’d simply shouted into a disinterested void. I can’t even tell you how many authors I started following before they’d ever published, and eagerly pre-ordered their debut — so don’t dismiss the idea of building up your audience early.

What’s even better, the sort of audience you cultivate with genuine engagement is much more likely than a disengaged audience to tell other people about your books — and we all know that word of mouth is the best marketing of all!

So truly, if you’re ever feeling short on content to post to social media, just ask yourself: what would you talk about with a friend today? Because, in the end, that’s what you want each of your followers to feel like: a good friend.

Jenn Gott is an indie author and writer with Reedsy, so she basically spends all her time either writing books or helping people learn how to write books. She firmly believes there is no writing skill you cannot learn with practice and the right guidance. You’ll find her on her website and over on the Reedsy blog, where she covers topics ranging from writing craft to how to launch a book for the first time.