Data, data, everywhere. LinkedIn, like most types of digital marketing, provides us with a large quantity of data. We can track connections, followers, likes, comments, shares, and so much more.
But which metrics really matter? And which are vanity metrics – nice to track because they keep going up, but not tied to results?
Let’s start with the ways LinkedIn can actually move the needle for you, as an executive.
What results should you look for?
The first thing we always encourage people to do on LinkedIn is strengthen their profile. Because when your profile tells your story in a compelling way, you gain three benefits:
First, you become more findable. Most people are findable on their name. But you want to also be findable by someone who is looking for someone like you. A keyword-rich profile brings more people to your profile.
A profile that is aligned with your goals will attract the people you care most about to your profile. That might be leads if you run your own business or are in a sales or business development role. If you are actively hiring, that might mean quality job candidates. It could also be investors, speaking engagements, or board roles.
Second, with a rich story, more of the right people agree to have a conversation.
And third, the people you talk to come to their meeting with you better prepared. They know more about you, about how you think, and what matters to you and are better able to relate to you and build rapport.
Being active on LinkedIn gives you the ability to stay in touch over time. You can educate people about what you are working on and the progress you have made, and you maintain mindshare. This also contributes to you receiving more opportunities.
So, the first thing you want to track is whether LinkedIn is bringing you more conversations with the right people about opportunities that are relevant and interesting to you.
At the end of the day, you are going to care about results. Did you get more deals, did you get offers to speak, did you get interviewed, were you able to make the hires you wanted, did you get the board role, did you close your round?
But you also want to track progress towards those goals.
What are the numbers you should track?
Here are the metrics we like to track to measure your progress towards your goals
- Profile Views: This is the most basic measure of awareness, and it’s usually the first number that increases when you improve your profile and start being more active.
- Followers: Connections is the number of people who are connected to you via LinkedIn. Followers include all of your connections (except those who have “unfollowed” you) plus everyone who hit the follow button because they want to hear from you. Connections is a number you can control by accepting more or fewer invitations. But you may want to only connect with people you know well. Followers is a better metric to track because it is more closely tied to thought leadership.
- Post Views: This metric measures how many people are viewing your posts. A view by itself doesn’t necessarily mean much, and you can artificially increase the number by boosting the post, but nothing happens unless people view your post.
- Post Engagement: The next step up from post views, this shows you how many people are liking, commenting on, or sharing your post. This is a useful metric, but your target audience may not be the type that likes and comments. And it’s not a good metric for beginners because it takes time and effort to build an engaged following.
- Conversations: Going back to what we said earlier, at the end of the day, this is an important metric to measure success. Are you getting into conversations you weren’t having before? The caveat here is that you’ll have to measure this metric yourself, so figure out a spreadsheet system or plug new conversations into your customer relationship management (CRM) platform for accurate tracking.
What metrics don’t matter?
LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) is one that isn’t tied to results. This is a fun data point to track – and allowing your team to compete to see who can improve their SSI most is a good way to get overall usage of LinkedIn to increase.
But there are quite a few things SSI measures that only serve to exercise different parts of LinkedIn and have little value outside of increasing your SSI, which means the time you spend on those activities is largely wasted.
What tools are available?
One of the real challenges with LinkedIn is making data collection easy. While there is lots of data available on any given day, LinkedIn doesn’t offer a good way to track your progress over time.
We like the Shield app, from @Shield Intelligence, which gives us the ability to analyze posts over a given time period as well as compare this month, quarter, or year with the previous one. Shield is affordable and easy to use. (We took a closer look at Shield in my LinkedIn Live with their Head of Growth on December 15 – it was packed with tips and insights!)
But you don’t have to use an app. Most of these numbers can be tracked using a simple spreadsheet. Just choose a couple key metrics you want to track – start with profile views, followers, and conversations. Then make it a point to check your numbers on the first of the month and enter them into the spreadsheet.
You should also take screenshots of your best posts and put them into a separate tab on your spreadsheet. Include the comments, especially if someone famous comments, or if you had a very good discussion.
And put deals closed, hires, speaking engagements, investors, or other wins on a third tab.
Every quarter you can go back over the three tabs, look for patterns, and see what you can improve for the next quarter!
Need help getting started?
At ProResource, we help executives use social media effectively. If you want to use LinkedIn to get your ideas out to your industry and build your audience, we would love to work with you. We will design a personal social media strategy to achieve your goals. We will write blog posts for you, based on an interview with you. We can also set up ad campaigns to boost your blog posts to your desired audience.
Let’s talk about what you want to accomplish and see how we can help. Book a discovery call today!