Business-to-business networking is when companies relate to each other in social, business and community situations. This type of networking can be done on a local level as well as nationally and internationally. It also can be done electronically in a myriad of ways. The best methods for business-to-business networking include participating in local commerce and civic organizations, sending representatives to trade shows and conventions, sending out newsletters and networking through social media websites.
On a local level, business-to-business networking takes the form of meeting other businesspeople in organizations established specifically for that purpose. These organizations might include a local chamber of commerce or local chapters of civic clubs. Local business networking is also done through volunteering for local charities and community projects.
Some local organizations have state and national umbrella clubs from which the local chapters have formed. These umbrella organizations often host state and national events and annual conventions. At these gatherings, a broader cross-section of business-to-business networking can take place.
Within many industries, there are often trade shows that target businesses in that specific industry. This gives businesses an opportunity to meet some of their competitors. Trade shows also provide a place where businesses meet vendors that they need for running their company. Business owners and managers also network with similar businesses and might even form cooperatives to achieve common goals.
Business-to-business networking has been done for years through trade magazines and newsletters. Some of these are published by not-for-profit organizations. Others are published by large corporate vendors who use these publications to generate a wide following of potential customers.
Many trade organizations and vendors send email newsletters and publish blogs. The businesses they target are often following their lead and targeting their own clients, vendors and other business associates with email newsletters and blogs. These methods have created more opportunities for business-to-business networking.
Businesses often network with both their clients and other businesspeople through social media websites. In fact, keeping abreast of social media and its trends is so important that many public relations and marketing firms advocate that businesses should hire a social media manager. If that's not possible, businesses are advised to contract with a freelance social media expert instead.