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The age-old marketing and promotion tactics are not sufficient when it comes to B2B businesses. Purchasing decisions made by businesses are different than the ones made by consumers, making it difficult to find B2B leads. Social media provides a considerable opportunity to gain visibility but a B2B scenario calls for building relationships rather than just promoting. The focus is, of course, on networking. Even if there are businesses, who aren’t ready to avail your services and are happy with their current providers, they should be on your list. Building trust and relationships goes a long way when it comes to increasing performance. LinkedIn is a great platform to establish your business, make contacts and connect with potential leads. A study in 2017 showed that only 47 percent of Small and Medium Enterprises in Australia were using social channels to connect with customers. Of these channels, Facebook holds the largest share holding a 90 percent of the social media content. Although LinkedIn is the more appropriate platform for B2B marketing and network building, it has a lower uptake in Australia. Approximately only one-third of workers and 35 percent of the business decision makers have a profile on LinkedIn. Twitter is also a very helpful platform as nothing is filtered out, as on Facebook and it can be smartly used to drive traffic on your website.
New channels for networking are coming up. Business referral groups, like BNI are flourishing and are helping other businesses grow with them. Another latest channel, helping businesses network are online barter systems like Bartercard. Bartercard is an online marketplace which allows businesses to connect with other businesses in Melbourne and Sydney. Here, businesses can interact and barter services in a cashless manner. Networking is pivotal in increasing innovations for a business. Relationships with multiple, diverse businesses can help in boosting a firm’s innovation. Networking for innovation does not mean befriending strangers. It means connecting with individuals and engaging with them to gain different perspectives and implementing these within your own business. The key is to keep learning and implementing new tactics to your business. Social media channels are only instruments in this machinery. They can be used to increase your business’s online presence and signal potential customers in your direction. The real emphasis has to be on engaging this online traffic and building reliable networks. Say, your business creates content for companies. Whenever the word ‘content’ is mentioned within your networks, yours should be the first name that comes up, irrespective of the fact that the one who recommends is your customer or not. To sum up, the efficient and consistent management of networks is important. Businesses need to learn to leverage their networks and establish long-term stable relationships with other businesses. Firms which have stronger relationships with other businesses, for example, suppliers and distributors, tend to acquire more leads and thus, improving their business’s performance. Networking is the key to improve businesses as 98% of businesses rely on referrals to gain new business.
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