Partner empowerment – with MDF to Social Media

We are conducting a project to empower partners to participate in social media. The funding is done through MDF. The details are here below.

I am interested in your response. The project is under way but not yet launched:

Purpose:
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Social media is a place where customers hang out and converse over products, best practices, service tips and more. The purpose to get partners involved in those conversations is a) to intensify or win back customer relationships and b) connect with new potential customers who are discussing and dealing with the same topics.

Benefit:
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The benefit to the dealers and reseller to engage is an obvious business benefit in increasing sales and gaining back market share.

Challenges:
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Channel partners have neither a good plan, nor the resources nor the education to launch such a social media engagement. It is not so much an investment in tools or equipment but in knowledge and time. More so channel partners don’t have the content they want like attractive video clips, white papers, ongoing new blog posts and more.

Solution:
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Vendors “sponsor” the partners social media engagement including three components:
a) The base education for the partners
b) Some vendor side resource allocation to feed content to the partners
c) An online community system that allows the partner to build their own social community, which in turn is connected to the vendors who feed content straight into all the connected partner communities (in our case 3,500 connected partner communities)

Funding:
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The whole project is funded through MDF – and it cost less than the typical but less effective local marketing events. The initial funds allocation is $800 per partner for training, a few dollars for the online community and more but only if successful for community engagement (see below)

Reporting and justification
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The MDF funds per partner grow with the activities and engagement in the communities. In other words if a partner does not engage with their market – no more money. If the partner engages and their community grows – additional money. If a partner is REALLY active constantly grows the ecosystem and develops a vibrant community – even more MDF cash. The reporting system provides activity level that in turn controls the MDF flow.

So at the end of the day – social media and its transparency provides an even deeper insight into the effectiveness of the partner activities. Probably a bid hard to explain in words but once you see it you will get the idea.

It is a multi million dollar project but simply because the channel is a global channel. It is less than 0.5% of the revenue through the channel.

However the concept is scalable and will work with channels as small as 100 partners for around $25,000 to start with.

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Social Media Education For Managers

Why is this important?

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You probably heard so much about social media and maybe still confused.
Fact is that close to 400 Million people are part of this phenomenon in some way.
Fact is that winning the attention of your customers and prospects is easier, less costly and more effective through social media than doing mail shots, cold calls, or advertising. If you want to grow your business, you need to catch your customers in the social web, not with a boring promotion.

But you need to KNOW what to do there, what to expect and you need to KNOW the limitations. You also need to KNOW the places and tools that are out there.

You can figure this out yourself. It may take a few month and some try and error. Or you may take a professional class and actually explore the space from a professional point of view together with others.

What do you actually learn?
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You probably already have an account on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. You probably have a some connections and check it out once in a while. Now lets get down to business.

1) You learn to understand that probably none of your customers is using social media yet – most of your customers are “in it” since years. So what do you make out of this?
Understand how customers – in particular economic buyers, decision makers and buying consumers use the social web. Learn how strategic you may want to get and leverage the media for you AND your customers.

2) You learn to look beyond your own profile but how to get active with your customers through group engagements and how to build your own groups to get closer with your market. How to deal with groups to not only use it for customers but as a lead generating
tools where you catch two birds with one stone get new contacts and be so helpful that they actually find you new members.

3) Learn to look at the “professional networks” versus “personal networks” not from your point of view but from a business point of view. There is much to learn from professional networker and how Facebook may become your most important source of information.
Learn to create a buzz around your groups and fan pages that will create more contacts than a spam filer can filter your mail shots.

4) Learn to understand Twitter from a business perspective. If you think Twitter is stupid and you have no time to follow conversations about somebodies lunch or walking the dog – it only indicates that you follow the wrong conversations. Learn how some leading companies like Comcast, IBM or Ford use Twitter for all kinds of customer interaction.

What our Social Media Certificate includes
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You learned to:
– create a holistic point of view when it comes to social media for business
– take social media as a cross functional solution for a better customer experience
– understand the key aspects of a social media strategy
– create a consistent profile across social media platforms as a person as well as a company
– leverage groups in LinkedIn to use it for business conversation
– how to create successful business conversations in LiunkedIn groups
– how to create your own group and make it successful
– how to bridge to confusion between busines and personal networks
– how to leverage facebook to learn more about your customers
– leverage facebook groups and fan pages for business interactions
– how to establish your own groups and fan pages and making them attractive
– when and why to use twitter for your business conversations
– how to select the right people and conversations
– what leverage twitter has to offer beyond just tweeting around
– how to use reporting tools report progress and success

Check it out at Social Media Academy

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Professional Social Media Training

Social Media Certificate
There has been quite some debate about certification, who can certify and what is actually certified. The Social Media Academy is publishing the content of the certificate on the website. The certificate is granted only to those who pass the tests and actively engaged in the respective exercises.
The leadership class provides a rather comprehensive education and so is the certification process.
The certificate shall help employers to see what a potential new employee learned about social media. Likewise a business manager can see what a potential social media consultant went through when he or she became a certified social media consultant.
http://www.socialmedia-academy.com/html/certification.cfm

@AxelS

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Social Media Academy News Letter

– New Class “Social Competition” and entry for business managers
– Next leadership class will start September 3
– A few tips to improve your social network profiles
– Corporate Social Media Report – State of the union
– Our social media communities
– International expansion – Europe and Australia

New Class: Social Competition
Beyond your LinkedIn Profile

Learn all about competing for customer mind share in the social web. In this 4 day class you get your arms around social media purely from a business perspective.

Learn about the professional side of leveraging LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter beyond having a LinkedIn profile!

July 20: Social Competition – a hands on experience
4 days, 1 1/2 hour each day, Tuesday through Friday with exercises:
– Learn to leverage LinkedIn beyond your profile and the top 10 tips you hear every day
– Get a different perspective on Facebook for business
– Learn about the business side of Twitter
http://www.socialmedia-academy.com/html/us-socialcompetition.cfm
Limited to 50 attendees

Twitter Tweet This Event
Facebook Share on Facebook

Next Leadership Class September 3
The social media Leadership Class is a great success. September 3
will be our fourth class. In order to ensure best results we require
an entrance exam, which can be performed online. The Leadership
Class is limited to 25 attendees to create the best possible learning
experience.

http://www.socialmedia-academy.com/html/us-leadershipclass.cfm
A complementary Introductory Webinar will be held
July 10

A few tips to improve your social profiles
Social media profiles are a delicate thing. You may prefer to be rather low key, but you also want to be open and approachable. So consider those few tips:
1) Have a consistent photo across all profiles – it’s your “personal logo”
2) Don’t make your photo be “special” – you are unique 100% guaranteed
3) Cross reference other profiles i.e. from Twitter you may point to your LinkedIn profile
4) Always state your real name – nick names are like avatars – so 1990
5) Write your bio as a combination of your business profile and personal focus
6) If you can provide links to your other social networks and blogs
7) Consider all activities on a site as part of your profile, your identity
8) Provide it in a way that it works for both your best friends and your customers
9) Even so you may separate business from personal life – the viewer may not
10) Point to your profiles whenever you have the opportunity

We will provide more tips in future news letters.

Social Networks & Communities
To get in touch with others, join the various social network groups and online communities
LinkedIn Group http://xeeurl.com/A0548
Facebook Group http://xeeurl.com/A0525
Facebook Fan Page http://xeeurl.com/A0805
Online Community = http://xeeurl.com/A01152
And a series of other places
Please help us and spread the word:
Twitter tweet about it


Corporate Social Media Report
This 220 page social media business report was analyzing over 1 Million customers of 6 global enterprises including Dow Chemical, John Deere, NetApp, New York Life, Toyota, and Vodafone. The report was conducted without any support from those companies demonstrating the vulnerability of companies through the wide open social web. The consultant team of six conducted the report using sentiment analysis tools and a variety of methods to identify strength and weaknesses of the researched companies. The Mindshare Report is available as paperback or PDF

from the Academy website.


International Expansion

The Social Media Academy expands internationally. Even though all classes are online, we decided to be more local, adjust classes to local and cultural differences as well as better accommodate regional time zones.

We started the Social Media Academy Australia and already start our first Leadership Class this week Wednesday.
http://www.socialmedia-academy.com.au

The Social Media Academy UK will be next. The first UK class will be our new class: “Social Competition”. The first Leadership Class for UK will start September 3.
http://www.socialmedia-academy.co.uk

Please help us and spread the word: Twitter tweet about us
Keep in mind only YOUR follower will read the tweets

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Boost visibility of your blog

Blogs get even more connected. Through tools like Tweetmeme readers can quickly tweet about the post if they like it.

If you like to give your readers a chance to very quickly tweet about the content, just embed the little script in your blog or your site.

For Blogger Users:
You can find the quick guide to implementation here:
http://help.tweetmeme.com/2009/04/07/integrating-the-tweetmeme-button-into-blogger/
Entering the script is a bid messy on Blogger – but still OK as you can see.

If you have WordPress:
http://help.tweetmeme.com/2009/04/06/integrating-the-button-into-a-wordpress-template/

For your website or other applications:
http://help.tweetmeme.com/2009/04/06/tweetmeme-button/

Have fun!
@AxelS

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