From a digital marketing perspective, B2B networking is hugely important for helping businesses grow. Building long-lasting and meaningful relationships with customers or other businesses will always be beneficial. There are multiple channels and platforms that can be used to network, some specifically designed for this purpose and others that ended up transitioning to it. That being said, the most important aspect of networking will always be the people and businesses involved.
Why B2B networking is so valuable
A successful business will have spent significant time fortifying their brand. The same effort and care goes into taking that brand to the next level, by ensuring commercial and financial success. B2B networking plays a major role in the success of a business; it becomes extremely difficult to grow and develop without communicating with other businesses. Being entirely independent is risky, as you can’t learn from others and apply that experience to your business. The ability to share experience, mistakes and success helps build strong relationships and potential partnerships further down the line.
B2B networking is beneficial to both buyers and sellers. Buyers can meet with the relevant suppliers and get real insights into their supply chains. Sellers on the other hand can meet more customers and potentially increase sales. Another advantage of B2B networking as part of a growth strategy is the accruement of referrals and leads. If relationships are built within your industry, then opportunities for referrals arise as others feel you are reliable and trustworthy. Similarly, leads can be generated and result in more sales for the same reason.
There are multiple platforms that can be used to network, and the shift towards digital networking in recent years doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. Digital platforms offer accessible, real-time networking without even having to leave your own office. The first platform that comes to mind when somebody mentions B2B networking is more than likely LinkedIn, and there is good reason for this. LinkedIn is the major social networking platform for businesses, so it’s no surprise that it is incredibly useful for businesses to connect, build relationships, and grow together. Once connected, you can start conversing, sharing posts and commenting to encourage mindful discussions. Simply chatting to someone over a comment section can lead to private conversations, and potentially generate leads. It’s all about putting in what you want to get out of it; if you take a hands-off approach and sit back, chances are you won’t find yourself networking in a meaningful way. It’s about being proactive, and having genuine interest in other people and the work they’re doing. Don’t aim to build relationships with suppliers or customers by pretending to be engaged with the work they’re doing; the best results from LinkedIn are found when being genuine.
Another powerful platform for B2B networking is Twitter. Almost every business will have a Twitter account and it’s possible to strike up fast paced and direct conversations. It becomes very easy to connect with others using the hashtag function, which will instantly land you in the heart of a conversation that others are engaging in. Due to the character count, conversations are often more direct and sometimes informal, when compared to LinkedIn. Any topic or news that is relevant to your industry can be accessed instantly and as you reply to others and engage, you’ll find relationships begin to build. A major benefit of Twitter is that it gives you the ability to tweet live at any events you may be at, giving people real-time updates for followers. Using relevant hashtags can see you becoming a catalyst for conversation.
In 2022, there are plenty of independently launched platforms with the purpose of providing a way for businesses to connect and converse with each other. These can range in costs, often requiring monthly subscriptions, but the benefit of these is that they are designed specifically for B2B networking. Whilst LinkedIn is free (unless upgraded to Premium), and obviously much more popular, it can be quite daunting and it can sometimes be difficult to stand out in conversations when so many others are also networking. These paid platforms, such as Hivebrite or CONNECTS, can offer much more specific and detailed tools in order to help your business network with the most suitable people. It’s easy to think networking is most effective when there’s more people to reach, however sometimes niche can lead to better, more relevant connections.
Networking will largely depend on the business. Finding the most appropriate platform or method of networking will be determined by your business, the sector, and the type of job role. Perhaps when working in sales for example, a major aspect of the role will involve travelling to different sites and meeting with customers. This would of course indicate that the most suitable method of networking would be face-to-face conversations, rather than using digital platforms. If somebody is working in programming or digital marketing, then B2B networking for them will more than likely involve social platforms such as LinkedIn.
For any business, B2B networking should be embraced or at least explored in order to help grow and develop. Mistakes can be learned, leads can be generated, and partnerships can be formed. In fact, there are very few negatives to B2B networking. Whether face-to-face or digitally, B2B networking is an exciting and engaging way of building relationships and trust with suppliers, sellers, consumers and other businesses.
Inflowing is a B2B marketing agency. We help B2B organisations do meaningful things with marketing. Whether that’s getting more leads, more visibility, or supporting their sales teams.
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