How You and Your Channel Partners Can Leverage Social Media (So Everybody Wins)
One of the most common pieces of advice businesses get when developing a social media strategy is: “Don’t ignore the word social.” Social networking sites are inherently about exchanging and sharing not only our own ideas, but those of individuals and groups around us, as well. Despite this well-established truth, many companies fail to take full advantage of the resources provided by Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any of the other sites they have ventured onto.
Businesses share their own content, with the goal that members of their audience redistribute it as well. After they press, “send,” many simply wash their hands and move on to the next post, hoping their audience will do the rest. This one-way flow of communication is not only missing the point of why your business is on social media sites to begin with, but also it is probably costing you exposure and sales. Companies need to be sharing content from external sources.
A few weeks ago, I discussed the role of social proof in the B2B buying process. In particular, how content such as testimonials and case studies can influence purchasers and distinguish your business. A great way to accomplish these two goals, while also furthering your message’s reach, is to make a concentrated effort to get truly “social” with your channel partners.
On the more “share-friendly” websites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) channel partners can mutually act as trusted sources of recommendations, offering their audience relevant pieces of content from various partners. Perhaps, you or one of your partners will develop content marketing materials with significant overlap for the other party’s online efforts. Having an independent, legitimate source redistribute these materials will, ideally, motivate other businesses outside of your channel network to share and exchange your materials as well.
This same principle can prove quite valuable within LinkedIn discussions and targeted online communities. As this SocialMediaB2B article explains, “There is no group better to foster these learning discussions than a company’s channel partners…Channel partners know the niche and know the clients. They also have an independence that provides both authority and authenticity.” When individuals from various channel partners engage in meaningful, relevant message threads, everyone wins. Discussions are not only truly useful, but the content is organic and lacks the “salesy” nature that turns potential readers and leads away.
Your channel partners have decided to go into business with you, you share key interests, why not make the most of the relationship? With a little time commitment, you can vastly improve the effectiveness of the social marketing efforts of all involved.