There’s often a lot of confusion between B2B social networking and “regular” social networking, especially amongst professionals who actively use social networks for both. B2B social networking is more than just using social networks for business. It represents a completely different mindset and approach to social networks.
==> What Is B2B Social Networking?
B2B social networking is social networking for the express purpose of making new business contacts and furthering business development using social networking tools.
In other words, you’re not there to “hang out,” to post pictures, to make random comments or to garner as many likes as possible. Instead, you’re looking to connect with influential people who can help you improve your life and business in some meaningful way.
==> It’s Goal Oriented on Both Sides
One key difference between “regular” and B2B social networking is that there’s a goal on both sides. You’re dealing with vendors, clients, suppliers, investors, executives, employees, sales people and other business people who all have a goal.
Nobody is on these social networks to waste time. This completely changes the “vibe” of the whole experience.
Instead of posting the latest interesting thing, people are much more to the point. People sign on, network, then sign off and get on with their daily business. They expect you to do the same. The idea is to create win/win relationships and situations online as quickly as possible, then get back to business.
==> The Favor Bank Is Important
In the standard world of social networking, the favor bank doesn’t really exist. Nobody expects you to like their content back if they come over and like yours.
In the business world, however, the favor bank is a very important thing to keep in mind. If you help introduce a start-up company to a seed investor, both the start-up and the investor owe you a favor.
It’s not a one to one trade. Nobody keeps exact score. But you’ll generate a lot of goodwill. Next time you need a referral, a retweet or a LinkedIn recommendation, they’re most likely going to say yes. After all, they want you to owe them in their favor bank as well.
==> The Long-Term Value of B2B Social Networking
Standard social networking is mostly about the “right now.” It’s about posting what comes to mind, liking what you see and spontaneous interactions.
B2B social networking on the other hand can have a much more long-term outlook. You cultivate relationships with potential employers long before you’re on the job market. You build a relationship with big clients long before you try to make a sale.
B2B social networking can help introduce you to new people, but it can also help you cultivate and build relationships with people you already know.
As you can tell, the world of business to business social networking is very different than the layman’s social network. There’s a goal orientation. Time is more scarce. People are out to help each other and long-term relationships matter.