How to Grow Your B2B Network via Social Media

on August 25, 2015

How to Grow Your B2B Network via Social Media

Most marketers – especially B2B marketers – realize that likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter do not necessarily translate to quality leads that result in real conversions. While some marketers may consider their network to be every person that has ever engaged with their brand on social media, most know that your true network are the qualified, valuable and relevant connections you have built a real relationship with.

B2B marketing is all about relationships. The work your marketing team does to build your social media audience and create good, engaging content is only half of the battle. From there, your sales reps and executives must work to build relationships out of that audience. Despite this, only 20% of CMOs leverage social networks to engage with customers.

To help make the most of your social media audience, here are a few ways you can find, connect and engage with people in your industry to grow your B2B network organically:

Join (and Start) Groups

Both LinkedIn groups and Google+ Communities are terrific opportunities to connect with like-minded business people in your industry. Unfortunately, many marketers make the mistake of only taking the first step – creating or joining the group and expecting things to just happen. These two groups provide the framework, but must be nurtured to thrive. The following are best practices to follow for getting maximum benefit from these professional groups.

While LinkedIn members are allowed to join up to 50 groups, this isn’t going to be the ideal number to focus your networking on. Choose 3 – 6 that you can devote real energy to. On Google+, there are over 150,000 Communities to choose from to help you find your specific niche to focus on.

Once you choose groups that fit your business, your work is just beginning:

Participate In (and Host) Events

One of the ways to create deeper engagement and reach a new audience is through events such as Twitter Chats and Google Hangouts. While the hosts of these events use them as a more direct lead generation tactic, they also offer you a way to network with other participants in the context of a specific topic that you both share interest in. This potential is why 67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing to be their most effective strategy.

The tips for participating in an online group also apply to events – be a helpful authority and look to create a deeper level of engagement with other participants. However, there are also some ways to make the most of events specifically:

Once you have grown your B2B network through social media, make sure you keep that engagement going. While it may be tempting to collect these new leads and load them into the same automated email campaign as all your other prospects, you can see more value by continuing the relationship on social media. Check out my recent post on How to Nurture Leads via Social Media for more information on that.

What other social media strategies do you use to build your B2B network? What LinkedIn Groups or Google+ Communities are you part of? Let us know in the comments!

 

Cover image: flick @hanspoldoja

Marketing Strategy Social Media Management