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. These five tips will help you be a better B2B networker and make more connections online.
==> Tip #1: Don’t Just Broadcast, Go One on One
If you’re only focused on broadcast styles of communication, chances are you’re going to miss out on a lot of valuable connections.
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. Build a real connection.
==> Tip #2: Pick Metrics to Measure Success
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 by. It might be number of in-person meetings you can get, number of retweets, number of Facebook likes, etc. Pick one that makes sense for your business.
==> Tip #3: Use Online Networking to 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.
Use online tools to connect with people and find events. 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.
==> Tip #4: Master 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’re 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.
People will be much more drawn to your one great feed than if you had several mediocre ones.
==> Tip #5: 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. Help people whenever you can.
Build up goodwill and eventually it’ll come back to you in the form of referrals, clients, deals, job opportunities and more.