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October 28, 2009
I was involved in a recent survey of 200 VAR’s and systems integrators — and the results showed less than stellar usage of Social Media platforms. Under 60% use LinkedIn and approximately 38% are using Twitter. Okay, not horrible…but how many of them are using it correctly?
Let’s just assume that their profiles are up-to-date, they’ve got links to their company, website and they have more that 12 connections/followers. Are they leveraging the tools in the right way? Roughly 50% of those partners are using LinkedIn Groups and 38.5% are using Twitter to communicate with Prospects. Not as many as I would have hoped.
Vendors I’ve talked to say, “Okay, Partners just aren’t using social media, so we won’t communicate with them there.”
Big mistake. While more than half of your partners haven’t embraced Social Media almost ALL of your Customers have. A post on the Marketing Pilgram highlights a study showing that 91% of IT Decision Makers consume social media such as blogs, videos, and peer reviews. There is a huge disconnect between Customers who seek information on social media platforms and Partners who aren’t equipped to create it.
So what can Vendors do? The model isn’t much different from the co-branded emails, banners, and landing pages you’ve provided in the past. I’m currently helping clients create an out-of-the-box social media solution and the one piece of advice I would give is, no one solution will work for all partner communities. It’s important to understand what their capabilities are and how you can best help them get their social media strategy off the ground. How do you do that? Ask them! Your biggest challenge as a Vendor is showing them how important this is and how much of an impact it will make.
Here are the high level steps to getting your Partners engaged with social media:
Convince of the value
Survey/Focus Group/Interview to see what they need and what they are capable of
Create easily digestible content showing them how to use different types of social media
Launch and educate, educate, educate!
Would love to hear what Vendors are already doing to help their Partners. What’s working and what’s not?
Heather K. Margolis, a self proclaimed “recovering channel professional,” founded Channel Maven in early 2009. Heather is passionate about enabling vendors and their channel partners to drive more business through their channel programs. Having led channel programs for companies like EMC, EqualLogic and Dell, Heather helps channel organizations of all sizes build smarter channel programs, manage channel relationships to find added value, and engage their communities through social and traditional media. Heather regularly speaks to manufacturer and channel partner audiences about getting the most from social and traditional media. She also speaks to a variety of audiences about entrepreneurship, building a service business, and B2B strategy.
A proud alum of Babson’s MBA program, Heather grew up in Massachusetts and now calls beautiful Boulder, Colorado, home where she and her husband (and dog Zoe) can be found hiking, foodie-ing, or attempting to tear up the slopes.
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