Do you work with other business owners in your business? If so you are engaging in Business 2 Business operations often noted as B2B. As a B2B business, it is important to understand how to properly network in this arena. Business to business networking is a skill. Unlike traditional social networking, which anyone can pick up in moments, learning to be a great B2B social networker takes a bit of practice. Take time to learn how to be a better B2B networker and make more effective connections with businesses using the power of the internet.
1: Get Personal: Don’t Just Broadcast
Good networking techniques means getting personal with some of your activities. If you are only focused on broadcast styles of communication, chances are you’re going to miss out on a lot of valuable connections. Instead use social networking to develop a relationship with other businesses.
Don’t just post updates on your wall or send out tweets en masse. Make one on one connections, @reply to people individually or send people personal messages on LinkedIn. In other words, build a real connection.
2: Know Your Metrics
There’s a common misconception that social networking results can’t be quantified. This simply isn’t true. Most people just make the mistake of not picking metrics early on, which makes it very tough later to measure the success of a social networking campaign.
Choose a metric to measure your success. It might be the number of in-person meetings you can get, number of retweets, number of Facebook likes, or something else. Pick one that makes sense for your business.
3: Find Real Life Networking Opportunities
Don’t limit your B2B networking activities to just the internet. You can use online B2B networking to increase your in-person networking opportunities, to connect with people and find events. Once you find out what’s going on by using the internet, get out a meet people. Attend in-person minglers, networking events and mixers. Ask people who you meet online out to coffee or lunch.
Real life connections are infinitely more powerful than online connections. Use your online connections to get more face to face opportunities.
4: Become a Specialist in One Network
Don’t try to be an online jack-of-all-trades. It’s much better to master one social network than to be mediocre at several. In other words, let’s say you are a partner at an investment fund. You’re always on the lookout for potential investment opportunities. Instead of trying to create a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile and a Google+ page, just pick one. For instance, LinkedIn.
Get really, really good at that network. Answer questions in the Q&A section and build a reputation. Get a ton of recommendations. Become an authority. Your one fantastic feed will draw more attention from people than several mediocre ones.
4: Look for Ways to Help People
Remember that B2B social networking is a long-term proposition. You’re not necessarily going to reap the benefits from your actions immediately. But it more than pays off in the long run. The best way to cultivate your online business network is to help people. Look for ways to connect people. Share valuable content. Answer questions in your field of expertise and help people whenever you can.
Build up goodwill and eventually it will come back to you in the form of referrals, clients, deals, job opportunities and more.
Take these few tips to improve your B2B Social Networking techniques to increase your marketing effectiveness.