Lots of channel partners are already figuring out how to use social media tools to better connect with their customers. Consequently these active resellers are becoming visible in the various spaces like LinkedIn and Facebook: posting comments, starting Discussions, and (most important) finding prospects. So we asked them to help their laggard colleagues by answering the question, “What tips or suggestions would you give a reseller that was just starting out with Social Media?” Here is a collection of their answers from the various forums. Most have been edited for space and clarity.
1. I would tell a reseller that they should not allow themselves to get overwhelmed. Perhaps take one site at a time…Start with Facebook, or LinkedIn, and get comfortable with that. Then move on to Twitter, YouTube, etc. This way you are able to feel progressive as you go from dipping in a toe to jumping in with both feet, and you have positive experience.
2. Spend time on your personal profile. Always use your real name. Have a consistent photo across all profiles – it’s your new “personal branding.” Provide links to your other social networks and blogs. Make it easy for customers to find you.
3. The most important thing to consider, in my opinion, is that you must remember that whatever you put out there WILL BE SEEN. So be certain that you put your best effort forward, especially with your photo! I have seen some pretty awful photos. Remember that this is a really good way to make a great (or less than great) first impression. So be professional and make whatever social media avenue you choose to pursue your best effort.
4. Move faster. This is a critical time to get into the social media scene for partners. Not only does it show you are on the cutting edge of technology, which customers will appreciate, but you are getting ahead of the curve, and partners who get in on this now will have an advantage when it becomes common practice down the road.
5. Find and bookmark any blogs written by your customers and then leave comments. They will love you for it.
6. When using LinkedIn, customize the URL for your profile. Changing the default URL from http://www.linkedin.com/pub/7/234/xxx to http://www.linkedIn/in/yourname will yield an address that is easy to remember. Plus it provides additional search benefits and branding of your name.
7. Use the tools available, not just the sites themselves. With the management tools such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, you can customize feeds and keyword searches to specifically target new prospects for your market.
8. You can easily prospect through social media sites. Try it. I did a search just the other day on Data T1 which pulled up feeds from the last few days of anyone that typed the words Data T1 into their Tweet. This gave me a list of people considering T1 lines. A reseller of T1 services instantly has the ability to direct message these people or provide pricing for a circuit in their area.
9. You have to try and learn how to use these new tools. Social Media is changing the face of selling as we know it. It only makes since for business partners to leverage IT & get ahead of the game.
10. Claim your Name on Social Media sites before someone else does! Don’t wait. Claim your Name on every social media and web tool service you can think of. This topic comes up constantly. Your name has already been taken on a site. Even if you do not anticipate using the specific tools, claim your name anyway.
This list is a good start. What advice would you give a company that is just starting to use social media for sales and marketing?