How to Use Social Networking to Create Bankable B2B Connections
All social networking is not created equal.
There’s B2B (Business to Business) social networking and then there’s “regular” social networking. If you use Facebook and Twitter for personal connections, it can sometimes be confusing where to draw the line for your professional connections. Effective business to business social networking is more than just using social media platforms to promote your offers and events; it requires planning and strategy.
So what Is B2B Social Networking?
B2B social networking is using social media platforms for the express purpose of creating new business relationships and generating more leads through social networking tools. You’re not just there to post pictures, make cute comments or to get lots of likes. Your goal is to connect with key influencers in your industry or niche, and spark relationships with people who can help you grow your business.
The differences between B2B Social Networking and what most solopreneurs are doing on social media
1. B2B Social Networking is goal-centered.
If you are connecting with vendors, clients, suppliers, executives, sales people or other business people, they are not on social networks to waste time. They sign on, network, then sign off and get on with their daily business. They expect you to do the same. The intent is to create meaningful and relevant connections online as quickly as possible, then get back to business.
This realization completely changed how I invest time online.
2. Reciprocity rules in B2B Social Networking
In “regular” social networking nobody expects you to like their content back if they come over and like yours. In the business world, however, reciprocity is a form of currency. If someone helps you land a new client, you owe them a “favor”.
It’s not always a one to one trade and nobody is keeping an exact score. But the next time you need a retweet, a referral, or an introduction, they’re more likely to say yes. After all, they know it is a matter of time before they will need a favor from you.
3. B2B Social Networking is about building relationships
Regular social networking is random. It’s about posting whatever comes to mind, liking whatever catches your eye, and spontaneous responses to the people and posts you happen to catch in your stream.
B2B networking is more strategic. The focus is on building long-term value. Just like savvy professionals nurture relationships with potential employers long before they need a new job, bankable solopreneurs build relationships with their ideal clients long before they try to make a sale.
Are you building profitable Business to Business connections?
Business to business social networking is very different than what I see many solopreneurs doing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Without specific goals there is lots of time wasted on the wrong results. And because they don’t understand or value reciprocity, they fail to make long-term relationships that increase their impact and influence.
My Tips for Building Bankable B2B Connections
- Be strategic about content: Make it brilliant and be intentional about where and how you share it.
- Make “who” you focus on a top priority: Find the places where your ideal clients or target businesses are online and invest time being visible and accessible.
- Have a plan for moving your B2B relationships forward: Be prepared your online connections you make offline. Pick up the phone, send an email, arrange to meet face to face. Ambassador Bruny has a great video series about turning Hashtags into Handshakes.
What tips do you have for using social networking for business?
If you are looking for a way to step up your Social Networking to attract more business clients, join me for the next 15/15 Challenge. It’s all about Social Networking.