You’ve been in business long enough to know that no man or woman is an island. The most successful entrepreneurs understand that to achieve goals, you must build your network. Building a Linkedin B2B network helps you:
- Do more with less
- Gain valuable insight in the industry
- Obtain powerful referrals from non-competitors
- Generate leads, 80% of which B2B now obtains from Linkedin
- Strengthen your relationship with existing customers
But in order to do this, you need to understand how to build a B2B network. Let’s explore that now.
1) Decide Who You Need in Your Circle
Your B2B network is composed of more than simply potential customers. It’s composed of 4 primary circles:
- Professional mentors — Smallest circle, non-industry professionals you trust for advice like a CPA, Attorney, broker or real estate agent
- Industry mentors — Industry leaders who provide solutions you want to know about and apply, preferably not direct competitors who would have access to your connections
- People who may be interested in strategic partnerships and collaborations
- People whose businesses may be in need of your services, your largest circle on Linkedin
Determine who these individuals are and then begin building your network.
2) Build Your Network
Now that you’ve determined who you need in your network, it’s time to begin networking.
Start by connecting with the people you know in the “real world”. If you already have a CPA that you trust, connect with her. If you have existing customers or businesses with whom you partner, send an invitation.
Look for gaps in your network and begin filling those gaps by:
- Entering your criteria into Linkedin search to find groups and people you should connect with
- Sending a professional and non-salesy invite requesting acceptance
- Joining groups where you can meet people that you may want to add to your circles
- Starting your own group to attract the right people to you
3) Listen to Your Network First
This is where you put your finger on the pulse of your industry. Whether you’re looking at posts from a group or watching your professional network feed, always listen first. Make note of:
- What topics people are talking about
- What pain points people are discussing
- What solutions seem to be lacking
- How people are interacting
- Changes in your industry and the solutions of others
Learn from your network before engaging them.
4) Consider What You Have to Offer
If you see a collaboration opportunity with someone in your industry, reach out. Collaborations and strategic partnerships are a very effective way to combine forces to reach more people.
Be on the look out for ways that you can help industry non-competitors in a mutually beneficial way to build trust and earn their referrals. The Harvard Business Review says to “think broadly” about what you have to offer to those you network with. Don’t miss an opportunity by thinking too narrow.
Share articles and other content that demonstrate your authority in your industry. Comment on the posts of others in meaningful ways. Perhaps once a week, share content that you or your company has created. Respond to comments that others make on it to further engage your network.
Remember that networking is not about self-promotion. It’s about adding value to others first in order to be top of mind when they need what you have to offer or know someone who does.
5) Be Consistent
Linkedin isn’t something that you do for a couple hours on a Saturday. Effective networking requires doing a little something every day (20-30 minutes), whether it’s sharing, commenting or connecting. Don’t spread yourself too thin or you may find yourself struggling to keep up. Instead set reasonable expectations for yourself and follow through.
Developing a B2B Networking Strategy on Linkedin
Developing your strategy requires considering who you need to network with, finding those people with whom to network, listening to your network and then contributing value to their lives. For help in creating your LinkedIn Strategy, please Contact Us today for a free assessment.
Link360: Link360 is an Inbound Marketing Agency Located in Greenville, SC. We specialize in generating leads for our clients through attracting visitors to their website, converting them into leads and closing them as customers. If you have any questions, or would like your own free Inbound Marketing Analysis, please contact us now.