How do You Know If Social Media Makes Sense for Your VAR Marketing?

Begin by asking yourself these key questions.

  1. Are your Value Added Resellers or Partners active in Social Media?
  2. Are the customers of your Partners active in Social Media?
  3. Are your colleagues active in Social Media?

It shouldn’t take long to confirm that your audience – throughout the channel – uses social media.

Linkedin

If the target audience estimate from LinkedIn isn’t enough, you can look to either free or paid tools such as Netvibes or Sysomos to find where your audience is active online.

Now, just because social media is becoming ubiquitous in technology marketing doesn’t mean everyone ‘gets it’.

In fact, many B2B marketers still do not get social media, and that is a good thing for you!

That means there is tremendous opportunity for you as a channel marketing manager to differentiate your brand and deliver better partner experiences by adding social media to your channel marketing plan in one or more of the following ways.

Where Social Media Fits Channel Marketing

1.  Social Media for Internal (Vendor) Communications

Chances are you are part of a large group of affiliate or product marketing managers. Just keeping your team up-to-date on product information, sales and technical resources, events and promotions can be a daunting task.

Using social and community tools including internal blogs, discussion groups and alerts messaging systems can effectively manage and deliver key information within your own team.

2.  Social Media for Vendor to Partner Communications

Social_Media_for-Channel-Marketing-How-to-Move-From-Like-to-LoveYou likely are already using social tools such as blogs and podcasts for talking to your partner base. Perhaps you’ve even got a mature VAR community for your resellers that include enablement programs, online training, and certifications.

Well done. After all, the better your partners are at reselling your products, the healthier your channel and revenue.

Now, how can you extend the social value? Consider using some of the below:

  • Facilitate discussion and best practice sharing amongst your partners with community tools;
  • Showcase partners’ business acumen via social channels;
  • Use gamification to increase partner engagement; and/or
  • Offer 1:1 social marketing consulting to partners through Marketing Development Funds (MDF).

3.  Social Media for Vendor through Partner to Customer Communications

You know all-to-well how resource constrained your partners are. Time is their most precious commodity. Here is another opportunity for you as the channel marketing manager to add value to their business.

Do more than simply syndicate content. Extend your social marketing offerings to make marketing and lead and demand generation more successful.

  • Provide social marketing delivery (and listening) mechanisms within your partner community;
  • Deliver news and content in an RSS feed partners can display on their site;
  • Contribute guest blog posts of subject matter expertise on your partners’ blog; and/or
  • Offer social lead generation campaigns as incentives for partners

4. Social Media Listening for All Channel Marketing Participants

For channel marketing to evolve as a social business practice requires listening as foundational requirement. Listening matters throughout the channel – for the vendor, reseller and partner.

At the very least, you should be listening for:

  • As vendors: How does social feedback impact product development?
  • As resellers: What are your partners – and vendors – saying about your value add to their businesses?
  • As partners: How do your prospects voice their pain and need for your services?

Thankfully, relationships still matt­er in Channel Marketing in the social sphere. And by elevating your social approach to channel marketing you can move your vendors, resellers, partners and end-users from like to love of your technology solution.