Everyone has goals and objectives. Some of our goals are big (like successfully combining the channel operations of our latest acquisition) and some are small (like getting 50 people to register for our product release webinar), but they are all important to someone. In those rare situations when all the goals in an organization line up, then you have a successful enterprise.
Judging from conversations with clients and resellers, one big goal everyone has right now is to improve their ROI on marketing investments. Resellers want more leads, channel marketing executives want more product exposure, and corporations want to improve their market share. Increasingly, achievement of these kinds of goals means understanding and using new technologies like marketing content syndication, video, online communities, and social media to increase communication velocity and impact.
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.
Technology providers have a long and proud history of “ready, fire, aim” programs. In fact, many channel partners eagerly skip over the “ready” step to start firing their marketing gun as soon as possible. As for “aiming,” if you don’t know where the target is hidden, no one can say you missed it. (Unless you shoot yourself in the foot and your injury is visible to your boss.)
With social media, this approach is an absolute calamity. Things happen so fast and the results are so permanent that a misplace d shot can have disastrous consequences. For channel partners, it is not possible to have an effective social effort without thinking about it first. Otherwise you just end up with a lot of random Tweets, a dead LinkedIn Group, and a Facebook page with the wrong kind of Friends. (Not to mention a lot of sarcastic posts you wish you could just delete!) Continue reading “Shooting Yourself in the Foot”
Like any other technology “revolution,” social media is attracting a horde of consultants, agencies, and service providers that are anxious to take your money or claim your market develop funds. Worse, it’s easy to waste your time with unskilled social media coaches that will neither bring you business nor improve the marketability of your products or services. So how do you know if your social media coach is capable? (or at least not a fraud!) A competence checklist is always helpful. Continue reading “Is your Social Media Coach Competent?”
A few weeks ago in the Channel Social Media Empowerment session, we were talking about Twitter and how it can be used in B2B communications. During the broadcast, one of the resellers texted me this question: “Since Twitter is still in its infancy, wouldn’t current Twitter use be considered more hobby-like than professional?” The message just sat there on the side of my screen without an answer, as I continued to talk about Twitter search capabilities.
The question annoyed me at first. It was frustrating that we had not successfully demonstrated that Twitter is already an important business tool for individuals and companies. The concept of Twittering as a hobby did not set well with me at all. It seemed to trivialized the impact of Twitter and all social media activity for that matter. What was this reseller thinking? Continue reading “Is Twittering a Hobby?”
Despite the popularity of social media at the street level, many channel organizations have been holding back. Slowed by a potent mixture of financial, organizational, cultural, and intellectual impediments, some partnering professionals have not been willing or able to present a compelling case for social media investment. Instead, they have been hunkering down and hoping that they can be successful by working harder with familiar programs and tools.
There are exceptions. Social Media for resellers is now all the rage at some companies who have been smart enough to envision the potential of thousands of channel partners Twittering away about their products. They are not hunkering down. Quite the opposite. These corporations have incorporated channel partners into their social media plans and are moving ahead with social media training and program support.