Part 1: It's More Than You Think...

When your network asks, you listen.

As a result of a speaking engagement I led in August on the topic of Social Selling, I wrote an article that summarized what I covered during the quick sixty-minute session with nearly one hundred sales professionals. Upon publishing the article on LinkedIn, my connections generously shared it with their networks, and the Greenville Chamber kindly published it on their blog too. When the feedback came pouring in, one of my connections, David Myers, made the suggestion for me to write about the different “methods for raising each of the four components of the SSI” score. I loved the idea and believe that when your network asks, you should listen.

So here we are, kicking off a four-part series for your knowledge and reading pleasure on how to improve the four quadrants that make up LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index score. To prepare you for our journey, here are the LinkedIn’s four components:

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STOP. CLICK HERE. CALCULATE YOUR SSI SCORE (and all four quadrants) NOW.

Creating Your Professional Brand: 25 points

·      Completeness of your LinkedIn profile, including received endorsements

·      Long-form posts you’ve published and followers acquired as a result

While LinkedIn tells us only the above two data points go into calculating the first section, I am here to tell you that there is more behind those two bullets. Let’s dive a bit deeper.

I. Profile Facelift: 10 Updates in 10 Days

I find it hard to believe that if “81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong, professional brand,” why LinkedIn would still only require a meek four profile areas to become the faux (insert eye-roll and air quotes) All-Star, 100% profile completeness level. That’s right. LinkedIn says that you only need a profile picture, headline, summary and experience sections to have a complete profile. And here’s the thing: There is no stipulation on how built out the summary is, how complete the experience is, how updated your picture is, nor whether or not your headline is customized. Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? I think so too.

Since no one reading this is comfortable with neither average nor status quo, allow me to share with you a few ideas to rock your profile with ten updates in ten days.

*NOTE: Before you begin, open a Word document to draft the LinkedIn profile sections that require writing. There is no draft version of your profile, no spellcheck and no formatting. Oh, and please do not launch these updates via your mobile app, use the web-based LinkedIn.com on your computer—I’m sure that probably could have gone without saying though, right?

DAY 1: Update your LinkedIn profile picture and for goodness sakes, don’t Brady Bunch it (click that hyperlink if you have any questions about your picture).

DAY 2: Create a unique headline that captures your network’s attention and incorporate keywords about your expertise, position and industry.

DAY 3: Draft a thoughtful summary that answers WHY…Are you in the industry/position that you’re in? Do you do what you do? How did you get here? What do you hope people walk away knowing about you if they don’t get a chance to have a conversation with you? Write for your audience and the people you want to engage with on LinkedIn.

Matt Lueder and I worked together on building his profile; his summary is strong and intentional.

DAY 4: Build out your experience including your current position and all (yes, all) past positions. Include your title, the years worked, location, company, and description of your responsibilities and accomplishments. Do you have a resume? This is the LinkedIn section that is most like a resume, so use it if you’ve got it. It will make this section much easier to complete. Be consistent and thorough across each position.

DAY 5: Create a unique URL link for your profile. Also, connect three more websites to your profile.

DAY 6: Handpick the 50 skills that you want your first level connections to endorse you for on your profile.

DAY 7: Add rich media content to your profile to make it more visually appealing and intriguing. This content includes documents, photos, links, videos and presentations. There are some limitations to this feature, so be sure to review your content once it is added to your profile. Also, do not forget to write a brief description to give your network context about the content you added.

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DAY 8: Add current and previous volunteer experience. Not only are non-profits actively using LinkedIn to see volunteers and board members, but your network is looking to connect with you on a personal level too. Countless times I have heard this story, “When I finally incorporated my community involvement into my LinkedIn profile, it sparked more conversations than I anticipated.”

DAY 9: Don’t forget to give and request recommendations.

DAY 10: Review. Click on “View Profile As” to see how others view your profile. Do you want to add more applicable sections? Scroll just underneath your name to see what else you can add. Have you uploaded a custom background image?

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BONUS: Want even more ideas? Here are 10 Useful Tips to Personalize Your LinkedIn Experience.

II. Publish Long-Form Posts & Attract Followers

The second data point LinkedIn considers in your 25 points of the “Creating your professional brand” quadrant of your SSI Score is the publishing of long-form posts and number of followers acquired as a result of those long-form posts.

To keep this simple, I created three levels that you may fall into regarding the topic of published posts along with associated further reading to keep you informed:

NOVICE: What is a long-form published post?

INTERMEDIATE: 11 Tips for Publishing Original Content on LinkedIn

ADVANCED: 5 Ways to Get More Out of Your LinkedIn Published Posts

Commit to how often you intend to publish on LinkedIn. Are you new to the publishing platform? Set a goal to publish once each quarter. Otherwise, I encourage publishing once a month or multiple times each month. Your network wants to hear from you and learn from all of the awesome knowledge you have to share.

Next Steps & Accountability

Your profile is more than just your online resume. It is a full story of who you are and the work you have accomplished in business and in the community throughout your career. Devote the time to build it out. If you are still uncertain on how to get started and want a pro to guide you through the process, I have interviewed, written and launched hundreds professional LinkedIn profiles. I'm here to help you tackle this the right way. Your time commitment will go from 6-8 hours on your own to 2-2.5 hours working with me. Reach out to me via connect@mcmilionconsulting.com to engage.

Now, it is off to the races for you! First, capture your overall SSI score and four quadrant scores. Then, begin your 10 Profile Updates in 10 Days and commit to publishing long-form content in the increment of time that is right for you. You've got this.

Need accountability? Comment below with your SSI score and let’s track it as you make progress. Here is the link to calculate your SSI score and four quadrants.