I’ve worked in the channel a long time (20-plus years) and, specifically, in channel marketing. The changes that I’ve seen in the last few years with social media are bar-none the most impactful changes I’ve seen on the industry when it comes to marketing. This goes for vendors and solution providers alike.
A 2014 Hubspot survey revealed that 92 percent of marketers agreed that social media is important for their business, and 80 percent said social media has increased traffic to their sites. Yet I know there are still a lot of VAR partners out there who have yet to make a firm commitment to social media.
A quick, non-scientific check of Twitter accounts of several solution providers reveals that while the proverbial toe is in the water, many are not fully taking advantage of social media platforms. As an example, most that I checked hadn’t posted a Tweet in more than a month—not even a Happy New Year message—and some don’t include links to social media pages from their own websites.
If your organization isn’t quite there on social platforms, let me give you a few tips based on what I’ve learned since getting more social.
Integrate, Engage and Update
Today, the @SAPPartnerEdge Twitter handle has close to 12,000 followers. We’ve leveraged Twitter in the traditional sense to keep our followers up to date, but we’ve also used this tool to reach beyond our followers. Recently we invested in paid social media campaigns to raise awareness on specific topics and solutions—all with great success.
Here are a few practices you can implement, immediately and with minimal investment:
1. Integrate. It’s important to integrate social media content in concert with your overall marketing plan. Social media can be a valuable tool to get information out quickly—make sure that the person (or team) responsible for social media is in sync with current and future campaigns and programs. The more you keep everyone in the loop, the more effective your overall sales and marketing become.
2. Engage. Understand that social media is a two-way street. You can derive as much value, if not more, from listening to your followers and what others are saying as you can posting content yourself. Use social media as a platform to answer questions, pass along leads, and solve issues that customers and prospects may have.
3. Update. To be truly effective, social media can’t be a sometimes or an I’ll-get-to-it-when-I-get-to-it strategy. Your account should be updated on a consistent and regular basis. It doesn’t always have to be about you, either; you can offer industry or third-party perspectives, links to relevant news about your company, and even links to relevant industry news or content if your social stride hits a lull.
Following these simple tips will enhance your company’s reputation as a thought leader in your respective market or industry. Once you develop a rhythm, your customers, prospects and business partners will have your company at the top of mind the next time a need arises.
And what’s better than that?
SAP offers partners a complete portfolio of end-to-end business solutions that include applications such as ERP as well as analytics and databases. All of these solutions can be powered by SAP HANA, the powerful real-time computing platform; are mobile-ready; and can be delivered via on-premise, cloud or through a hybrid model.
Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://www.sap.com/partners/.
Ira Simon is vice president, Partner Marketing & Communications, at SAP. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship.