At its most basic level, social selling comes down to leveraging social platforms to find the right leads and build important relationships. As social media quickly emerges as the go-to channel for sales people seeking new prospects, 90% of the top-performing companies use social media and social selling tools as part of their strategy.

Though social selling has the potential to offer a lot of value, the benefits can only be properly measured with a comprehensive strategy—one that considers how to track your program’s success and metrics to indicate better performance. Right now, Forbes suggests that only 15% of marketers know how to prove their social selling ROI in a quantitative way.

While most businesses know that data is a crucial to remain competitive in any modern sales climate, looking at the wrong metrics can be just as bad as using no metrics whatsoever. In a world that grows more socially-driven by the day, it’s paramount to understand exactly how to measure this social component and continually make iterations on your strategy. Here are 6 social selling metrics your team should constantly be monitoring.

Metric 1: The Social Selling Index: LinkedIn’s SSI

Ask the question “What is social selling?” and you’ll likely hear some reference to LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index measurement. Many consider the SSI to be one of the most important social selling tools, as it helps to track selling efforts through 4 different elements:

  • Establishing a personal brand
  • Engaging with social selling insights
  • Finding the right people
  • Building relationships with decision makers

The SSI is one of the most popular social selling metrics because it helps encourage engagement and establish goals for performance. Some studies show that sales reps with a high SSI can achieve 45% more sales opportunities. Of course, SSI isn’t everything. You’ll also need a workforce that’s committed to seeking out referrals and leads for your company as well.

Metric 2: Inbound Connections & Network Growth

Relationships are an essential element of social selling ROI. With the right strategy, you can improve your chances of building relationships with valuable prospects online. In fact, 31% of B2B professionals believe social selling cultivates stronger customer relationships.

While an SSI score will give you insight into your team’s activity, two of the most important social selling metrics are “Inbound connections” and “Network growth.” Network growth on your social platforms will indicate the strength of your social presence, while inbound connections help you identify the value of each communication. Most LinkedIn users have an average of 930 connections, so using this number as a guideline will help identify whether or not sales reps are building the right presence and connecting with the right people.

Metric 3: Content Engagement Rate

One of the most powerful things you can do for any social selling strategy is to empower sales teams to share relevant information on their channels, activate their social networks and develop themselves as industry thought leaders. In fact, 81% of consumers would prefer to engage with sellers that have a strong brand on social media, so it’s important to leverage content to help develop this reputation.

Measure how your sales reps join conversations on social by examining the amount of content they share. Once your employees have developed the right content habits, you can take it one step further and measure engagement with likes, comments and shares. If you’re having trouble encouraging engagement from employees, you may need go back to the drawing board. Look at company culture, employee satisfaction and your advocacy program in order to get this element aligned and in place.

Metric 4: Followers Who Find & Engage With Your Content

Measuring social selling ROI requires you to first understand where it all stems from. Social selling isn’t just raising brand awareness on social platforms—it’s a process for boosting engagement and conversions. Seeing as 91% of B2B buyers are active on social media, this strategy allows you to engage those buyers and direct them towards more important landing and website pages.

Your social selling KPIs involve considering not just your overall number of followers, but the value those followers offer in terms of engagement with your content. Employee advocacy and social selling platforms enable you with analytics to track this information and attribute success back to the original source.  Ideally, your social selling tools should help you to move your customers along in the buying cycle.

Metric 5: Prospect Referrals

Referrals are powerful things in the world of online and social selling. According to a report from Demand Generation “warm” referrals are 4x more likely to turn into a successful sale. Since those who interact with your social selling efforts are already in a deeper stage of the buying cycle, you have better chances of creating a conversion. In fact, 70% of B2B companies suggest that referrals can convert and close deals faster than any other lead.

Keep in mind that social selling won’t always lead to a sales conversion. This means that when you’re looking at social selling ROI, you’ll also need to look at how your efforts can set the foundation for future lead generation and prospect nurturing. Potential customers are 5x more likely to engage with sales reps who are referred to them, while 44% of social buyers find the people they want to buy from by considering shared LinkedIn connections. Ask your reps to input the source of each prospect to your CRM system and track the outcome of referrals.

Metric 6: Lead Activity

As mentioned above, not all social selling actions will directly translate into sales, but you can measure whether your activities are having the right impact by looking at lead activity. Today, 82% of all prospects for modern companies can be reached through a social media connection. Though one of the most obvious social selling metrics is reach and amplification, you’ll also need to make sure that the content you’re sharing is having the right impressions.

CTR or Link Clicks

It’s important to know that your links are encouraging visitors to go back to your blog or website. Click-through-rate has long been a valued metric for social selling KPIs, primarily because it helps make sure you’re getting attention from the right people.

Number of Conversations Started

Ultimately, the goal of social selling is to help create a more seamless path to conversions for sales reps. It’s important to track the comments and conversations that occur on social media that might lead to conversions later in in the sales cycle.

Time Spent vs Time to Connect

Quicker connections lead to more conversions and more qualified leads. Your sales team should know how to use social selling tools quickly and effectively to make the most of their platforms.

Social Selling Metrics Matter

Social selling has become a powerful tool for many industries in today’s business world. As customers become increasingly opposed to outbound selling methods, social selling helps to create the relationships that establish trust and repeat conversions. Studies found that:

  • 72.6% of salespeople using social selling outperform their sales peers
  • 54% of social sales people can track their social selling actions back to at least a single closed sale
  • 10.8% of social sellers close more than five deals thanks to their social media activity

While tracking every action can seem complex and time-consuming, metrics can help to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of any plan, so that management can fill the gaps with new tools, training and solution. This is particularly important for social selling—a concept still new enough to need constant monitoring.