Social Media Empowerment for Channel Partners – Not for Manufacturers


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Hard to believe that it has been two years since our “Channels Go Social Media” webcast signaled the beginning of a new era in online communications between suppliers and their reseller partners. Since then, virtually every large corporation has funded a significant social media effort to communicate with their customers. Likewise, top-down channel social media programs are increasingly common.

Social Media Guru Axel Schultze

While Social Media creates huge opportunities for better communication, it also forces channel managers to revisit the age-old debate about “Who owns the customer, the product manufacturer and their brand or the reseller and their value-added relationship.” This issue was raised repeatedly at this year’s Xchange for Tech Innovators in Las Vegas, especially during a keynote by channel sage turned social media guru Axel Schultze. He reiterated that the role of manufacturers must be to move from conducting their own social media campaigns to coaching their resellers on how to use these new tools themselves. Otherwise, Channel Partners are at risk of being “disintermediated” from much of the online sales conversation.

Marketing Programs in a Box are as old as the channel

For the average channel executive, this means the development of a basic “social media in a box” program in the coming months. These generic programs will be backed by just enough education and coaching to enable reseller implementation – but not enough to achieve real results. The very best channel programs, however, will make social media easier and more effective by also providing specific posts, tweets, blogs, videos, and embeds for resellers to use at the appropriate times.

Channel Empowerment in 2011 will be discussed on December 17 by the same Axel Schultze, who will present some of the ideas from his controversial session in Las Vegas. This webcast is free and channel managers can register at The session is not about social media per se, it is about how vendors can create a strategy for developing social media skills in their channels.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Dubrall
Channels of the Future Community Director, Speaker, Blogger, Trainer, and Consultant. Expert on Channel Social Media Enablement and next generation partnering strategies.


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