Business to business networking is a skill. Unlike traditional social networking, which can be figured out in moments, learning to be a great B2B social networker takes a bit of practice. These seven tips will help you be a better B2B networker and make more successful connections online.
Tip #1: Know Your “Wow” Each of us is an expert in something. Identify what I call your “Wow” talent and focus in on that in your social media posts. By sharing your observations, recommendations and help to others that have interest in your Wow area of expertise, you will be able to quickly establish your credibility and worthiness to follow. Don’t be afraid of being too narrow in your focus. The world is a big place and you should find millions of others that share your interest in a topic or industry.
Tip #2: Learn The Etiquette For Each Platform You Use I have found a helpful technique to learn these is to search and follow respected leaders in your industry that are doing well on Social Media. Search Google for things like “Top 50 Sales Blogs to Follow” or “Top Sales Influencers” as an example for those in sales. If you are a teacher try searching for “Top teachers on Twitter. Follow them and watch how what they post and how they interact with those that follow them.
Tip #3: 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 #4: 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 #5: 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 #6: 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 #7: 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. What suggestions have you learned to help others improve their B2B social networking skills?