Expanding market reach has always been one of the biggest advantages of indirect partner channels. And in the Social Media age this is no different. It is actually an advantage like no other if that force can be unleashed.
We all learned, Social Media is not just another channel to blast a message out. Social Media is primarily about Relationships. And one of the biggest challenges is to leverage the new media with existing Resources to be as approachable as possible and build customer Relationships that are valued and lead to Recommendations and at the same time extend the company’s Reach.
Managing the 4 Rs. The good news is that social media provides platforms, tools and techniques to overcome those issues and help teams to engage and create a customer experience that makes a brand stand out and well received by its customers. Teams respond to requests on Twitter, have chats with prospects on Facebook, share video clips on YouTube, share product photos or screen shots on Pinterest, provide product updates, news and much more across the various platforms and networks to people they are connected with so they can share it with their contacts, colleagues and business friends if they find it of value.
Now imagine you have a partner channel across the glob. If you can train that partner network and their teams to do the very same locally, in their niches, in their geographies and industries. Your communication power would simply explode. And all it takes are business partners who are open minded enough to give this new world a try. Within most partner networks are “Alpha Animals” who jump on new opportunities and quickly inspire others to follow.
Imagine that news get not only re-tweeted by a handful of team mates but by hundreds or even thousands of business partners reaching their local networks around the world. Comments not only come from a few engaged direct customers but from customers around the world.
Helping partners understand the opportunity not only to strengthen your brand but also strengthen the relationships to their local markets is the most important Social Media Strategy a channel focused business can have today. Partners will want to understand the impact of Social Media to their business. It isn’t so much about how to tweet or how to build a fan page but about the purpose and business objectives, about the return on investment and the possible competitive advantage. Partners need to learn to create a sound social media engagement plan that provides an opportunity to grow their business. Over the past 3 years, the Social Media Academy developed and continuously fine tuned a dedicated Channel Partner Empowerment Program that is considered to be one of the best in the world. The training is provided online through a social eLearning platform that allows thousands of partners from around the world to be trained. The program includes partner manager training so the managers know what partners learned and what to ask for.
Only best educated partners are capable to jointly collaborate on global social media initiatives. Partner empowerment is not only a “goody” for partners to become more successful but also a requirement for channel oriented vendors to create successful social media initiatives.