Building your B2B network takes commitment and persistence, but success comes from the quality of your network over the quantity of contacts.
In the B2B world, niche targeting is a differentiator which helps you build a reputation as a subject matter expert, and with this comes a community of like-minded connections who can bridge the gap between you and viable prospects. There are several ways to do this which we'll cover in this post, but above all, maintain a consistent and positive approach, experiment with different channels and of course, practice patience.
Linkedin and social media
LinkedIn is without a doubt, the most popular platform for those looking to grow their B2B network. It's where communities gather and share knowledge and information, and build valuable relationships and can be extremely effective at expanding your network. But it's those who offer more than self-promoting and engage with communities by volunteering information and relevant insights, putting forward suggestions of offering advice to those with questions become trusted bodies within these groups.
“It's been estimated that of all the B2B leads generated across social media in general, 80% of them originate on LinkedIn.”
Of course don’t forget Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and other platforms which can be incredibly valuable at building your B2B brand and expanding your network. Hashtags and tools such as Tweetdeck enable you to conduct strategic outreach activity and identify opportunities, interactions and conversations - all of which increase exposure. Twitter can be excellent for reaching out to renowned influencers in your space, and all it takes is a retweet to get your brand in front of thousands of like-minded followers.
Attend and participate in events
67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing to be their most effective strategy.
Try to attend industry-specific events, workshops and seminars, but always have a post-event follow up plan. Think about how you will you follow up with the people you meet and keep that momentum going - maybe an online connection, an email or a call. It’s more difficult to expand your network if you’re not getting out there and connecting with others face-to-face.
If networking on a whole scares you, we've written up some tips on how to make it less awkward, and ensure you extract the most value.
Alternatively, speaking and offering to give presentations and sponsor events will help you build the reputation of your company and gain exposure. Remember, ‘experts speak’ - this is becoming even more important than ever in a saturated marketing space. If you want to stand out, you need to push outside your comfort zone and do something different. Your online presence might be well and truly optimal, but what about your physical presence? Is your reputation that of a knowledgeable and authoritative leader?
Share and collaborate
Sharing valuable content and leveraging the ‘storytelling’ method is an effective way of attracting viable leads and partners, and therefore broadening your network. Consider sharing case studies that detail the success of other customers and partners rather than ‘bragging’ about who you work with. How have they benefited from your product or service?
Similarly, collaborating with partner brands of a similar objective - those with shared objectives and similar networks is a great way of getting your name out there. This could be as simple as sponsoring an event, collaborating on a project or running a workshop together.
Take advantage of referral marketing strategies, for example, 81.5% of providers have received a referral from someone who wasn’t a client. By sharing and collaborating with others, you’re making it a lot easier for others to recommend and send prospects in your direction. And by sharing evidence of success in the form of client case studies and stories, you can sell without actually having to ‘sell’ at all!
Building a quality B2B network is the result of a culmination of efforts over time. It's not something that happens overnight, but once you start to build an authoritative reputation within your space, your network will begin to grow itself, and prospects will come.
If you'd like to get started with networking or add some events to your diary, check out our events page or get in touch.