Every business has its sales pipeline, and people employed to convert prospects into buyers. In the B2B world, this is often achieved through face to face networking opportunities and relationship building. The web has brought the true sense of the word ‘networking’ to life. It provides the opportunity to network with the masses, build relationships online, and even convert sales online without the need for face to face contact. It allows you to put your brand in front of more people than ever before.
Many businesses are keen to have a social media presence, but are focussing on fast, content, or in other words, just a little something to show they are keeping up with digital marketing. But to truly harness the power of social media – a different mindset and approach is needed. One where the ‘content’ and the ‘conversation’ goes hand in hand, and networking and engaging with prospects online becomes a golden opportunity.
Perhaps the reason social media is rarely compared to traditional networking, is down to the requirement for an entirely different skillset – a varied mix of technical skills for digital management, and creative writing talents for content – as oppose to personal presence and a flair for interpersonal communication.
If you, like many, are a bit perplexed by social media and have not yet assigned a marketing budget for it, perhaps it helps to consider it as part of your ‘networking strategy’ and not just another marketing tactic? The objectives are the same, and follow the ‘know, like and trust’ theory. If you are going to be spending money and resources on your online networking – you will want to make sure your objectives are met, and your key objective is to grow a large following who would potentially spend money with your business. This following will come from engaging with your audience through posts and updates, so that they begin to feel like they know, like and trust your business and ultimately, would choose you as their supplier/for their purchase. But this won’t all happen at once, and building your social presence and gaining followers takes time and patience.