Ever wonder if your Channel Partners are using social media effectively? It's a fair question these days as engagement strategies on social continue to shift. Social is designed to bombard but it can also be a great tool for making business connections and believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Use it effectively and social drives demand and leads. Use it incorrectly and risk being unseen and unheard in a sea of noise.
When working with Vendors to help Channel Partners create, execute, and reap the benefits of social media strategy, we often highlight these six tips:
1. Get Partners on the social media train
Sorry if this is too obvious - but - in order for Partners to benefit from social media, they have to be on social AND using it consistently. There are plenty of stats out there that prove buyers are looking to social platforms for recommendations and validation from others before making their decisions. Customers also look for companies on social and will find your Partners IF they're using it. Facebook is fast becoming a go-to for B2B social as are the old stand-bys, Twitter and LinkedIn. If your Partners have limited time and resources, have them focus on one or two. It's better to be well represented on one platform than marginally represented on three or four.
2. Partner visibility is required
Channel Partners need to be where their customers want them, when they want them there and delivering information they want, on platforms they frequent. Are your Channel Partners utilizing SEO best practices? Do they understand the importance of social media in driving SEO? If not, you have an opportunity to explain that sharing is a signal Google looks for when assigning rank to domains. Creating and socializing highly shareable content (on social media) is an important part of SEO.
3. Personal branding is the new norm
It's practically mandatory to have an online presence nowadays. How Partners present themselves and their company online is critical. Social Media profiles especially LinkedIn, are used by prospects, recruiters, buyers, and potential business partners as a digital ‘first impression.’ Partners probably don't want to be viewed as a comedian on social, they want to be viewed as someone with a consistent, professional profile who is positioned as an authority. Help your Channel Partners create bios on social media for their leadership team and company pages that highlight their strengths and welcome connections.
4. Listen and engage
Social media has evolved. Algorithms are now requiring accounts to engage. Therefore, in order for Partners' content to be seen, they must be prepared to proactively engage; logging onto the social platforms and liking, commenting and sharing content from other accounts. In addition, Partners should actively engage with accounts they'd like to be doing business with and also socialize content from their current clients in order to create, grow, and amplify relationships.
5. Partners can help themselves
One size does not fit all. Vendors can help Channel Partners build a social media strategy unique to them. Many Vendors have portals with social media resources like social syndication, scheduling, and monitoring. These help Partners with content to post but be sure to advice them that syndication is not a replacement for their social content, it's there to augment it.
6. Sharing is caring!
Sharing relevant, industry specific thought leadership content is key. Publishing high quality content will help Channel Partners establish authority on your solutions and theirs. Educate Partners on the best practice ratio of social media content posting: 70% relevant industry and 30% Partner's own generated content (blogs, podcasts, infographics, webinars, etc).
Supporting Partners to engage with social media will help them generate more demand and leads online.