Social media is quickly emerging as the go-to channel for salespeople seeking new prospects. According to LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media.

At its most basic level, social selling comes down to leveraging social platforms to find the right leads and build important relationships. By building your own social selling strategy your sales team can be a step ahead of the competition. But don’t let all that strategizing go to waste. You need to know which social metrics to pay attention to when you’re measuring the success of selling on social media.

In this article, we’ll walk you through 8 social selling metrics to pay attention to.

1. LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI)

You can’t talk about social selling without mentioning LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI). The index provides a score on a scale of 0-100 based on what LinkedIn determines as the four most important “pillars”:

  1. Create a professional brand
  2. Focus on the right prospects
  3. Engage with insights
  4. Build trusted relationships

By focusing on these four areas, the company found that a high SSI correlated with 45% more sales opportunities and 51% are more likely to hit quota.

2. Inbound connections and network growth

By 2025, Gartner expects “80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers to occur in digital channels.” Social selling is all about building relationships. If you build up your professional brand with thought leadership in mind, you’ll find that people will actively seek to have a connection with you.

But, you can’t establish thought leadership without a network. Network growth by itself is a vanity metric, meaning you could have hundreds of followers across your social media platforms but only a small percentage have the potential of being the right prospect.

If you look at both inbound connections and network growth together, you’ll understand how wide your network is and how influential it may be.

To find the right connections, you need to be right where the buyers are. On social media, this may involve joining professional groups and interacting with industry leaders. By regularly posting and engaging with potential leads, they’ll begin to positively associate your name with the brand. This will help you build a valuable network.

3. Content engagement rate

One of the ways to establish thought leadership is by sharing content that’s relevant to your audience. To know if your content is resonating with them, look at your engagement rate performance.

If you use software to execute your employee advocacy program, this metric should already be available. Drill down to team or individual performance depending on how granular you want this metric to be. Sprout’s Employee Advocacy software offers reports like this and much more.

To get the most out of your content, look at what other B2B buyers are using for distribution. One study on B2B buyer content preferences found that 71% of survey respondents used LinkedIn to share business-related content. After email, two more social networks are used by 43% of respondents.

b2b networks

4. Follower engagement rate

While content engagement rate looks at what you post, follower engagement rate tells you how interested your audience is.

The easiest way to calculate this is to divide the number of total engagements you have by your total follower count. However, this is a rough calculation because the engagement count includes both followers and non-followers. For example, if your post went viral, you’d receive comments and shares from people who don’t follow you.

Using employee advocacy and social selling tools, you can look at how engaged your current followers are.

5. Prospect referrals

Referrals are gold for any business.

More than 75% of B2B buyers prefer to use recommendations from their professional network. Exploring your network’s 2nd-degree connections on LinkedIn is one way to seek out potential leads. If you can, ask your connection to refer you or mention the connection in your first message. Even mentioning the mutual connection increases the likelihood of an appointment by 70%.

To track this metric, use your social selling tools or ask your salespeople to input their lead sources into your CRM.

6. Click-through rate

The click-through rate (CTR) or link clicks metric is measured for content that you post.

When you’re sharing content like informative articles, link clicks are part of the content engagement metric. Looking at link clicks specifically tells you how engaging a piece of content is. They could’ve only read the headline and hit the like button. But if they clicked through? That engagement is worth even more.

To track this, you have a few options. You can use a URL shortener to create unique links, telling you exactly how many times each link was clicked on. To determine CTR, you’ll need to divide it by the number of views or reach the link received.

A more straightforward solution is to look at your social selling analytics. One of the benefits of Sprout’s Employee Advocacy platform is being able to curate content for your employees to share. Once they do so, metrics like CTR are automatically tracked at both the content and individual post levels.

7. Number of conversations started

We already mentioned inbound messages, but what about the ones you send?

Not every social media post is going to generate leads. But with time, you build trust. And trust is a big component of social selling. The conversations you start on social media may lead to conversions later in the sales cycle.

Using a tool like Sprout, you can quickly calculate the number of outbound messages that you send. But even better, you can view your conversation history to fully personalize each interaction.

One way to start conversations is to use social media monitoring. Use relevant keywords to surface people to follow and keep track of conversations to watch.

8. Message response rate

This one is simple: the faster you respond, the more connections and qualified leads you make. With proper training, your salespeople should be able to navigate the social selling software easily.

The message response rate metric is calculated in Sprout automatically. The analytics will tell you how quickly someone is responding, broken down by the hour and day of the week.

Social selling vs. social media marketing

While both take place on social media, social selling and social media marketing are not the same thing. Social media marketing usually comes from the brand, while social selling is from the salesperson.

The goals can also differ. Social media marketing goals involve growing brand awareness and engagement at the brand level, while social selling is very focused on the sales cycle. Each post you make and each connection you reach out to is intentionally done to build a relationship that leads to sales.

Track your social selling metrics

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

Additionally, B2B marketing and sales don’t need to be overwhelming. If you’re already using social media for B2B marketing, then it’s time to turn your social data into a revenue driver.