There is no denying that your channel partners see social media as extremely valuable for increasing their overall online presence. The questions we need to ask ourselves are multiple; Are your channel partners really equipped to manage it effectively? And are you, the vendor, providing enough social media support?
We interviewed a number of channel partners, namely Benjamin de Vries and Terry Knight from Professional Document Solutions, Toni Gibiino, Marketing Director at Office Solutions Ltd and Graham Compton, Director of Business Edge Technologies, to hear their views. Like to listen to their live discussion? Click here.
Social media – how critical is it?
Social media has become a fundamental activity for driving increased brand engagement, and unsurprisingly channel partners share the same view too, seeing it as a way to be easily found digitally.
Toni states: ‘It’s like having a shop front; you don’t necessarily need to have an attractive shopfront. As long as it looks attractive online they tend to validate your business based on this.’
Research by Sirius decisions backs this up perfectly, showing 67% of the buyers’ journey is spent online and on social media. So without an active social media account or online presence, buyers could look elsewhere, even to your dreaded competitors!
Benjamin and Terry have seen the benefit in using social media as a way to drive traffic to their own website, generating interest this way, and being seen as industry thought leaders. They also have another very interesting tactic, as Terry explains: ‘Anyone that lands on our website we can re-market to. Our goal is to try and get them back to our website.’
This is a fantastic method for keeping potential buyers aware of your brand offerings, hoping to sway their purchasing behaviour.
What social network(s) to focus on?
Obviously this is highly dependent on the industry you are in, and whether you are in the B2B or B2C space. But for these channel partners, who are all in the B2B space, the social network they favour is LinkedIn, although Twitter generates a lot of clicks!
‘LinkedIn is our biggest means of generating opportunity, and we focus on training our staff to interact socially with people on LinkedIn’, says Toni.
When determining the type of content to focus on, video creation is recognised to be the best method for receiving high engagement, with Terry reporting ‘Videos have been the best, with over 100,000 views.’ Toni further goes on to say ‘People do not want to read huge great articles, when they can watch a 30 second video, and get the crux of it very quickly.’ For this reason, Toni will be focussing a lot of his marketing budget on this.
As you can imagine, time, content and resources are all limited, with many channel partners not having a dedicated team or even person to manage their social media accounts. Graham can relate to this, ‘Trying to find the right person to post the right piece of media is really time consuming and difficult to achieve, that’s why we love socialondemand because it does a lot of the work for us.’
Having a platform to support your channel partners’ limitations, such as their online exposure, is a great way to not only become their preferred supplier of choice, but also to increase your own reach and revenue potential.
Ben further goes on to say, ‘Xerox produce some really great content and it’s really easy to share.’ For Ben, it minimises the challenge they face of finding and creating great content to share on social media, enabling them to maintain and build their online presence.
For me, this webinar was extremely insightful and I would highly recommend tuning in to discover just how you can better support your channel partners, to achieve the exposure you and your channel partners’ desire, via social media.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community