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Getting Social with Your Channel Partners

Social media is another place where you can capture your current and prospective channel partners’ attention.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Getting Social with Your Channel Partners

By Karren Gurnhill

You are sending emails to your channel partners regularly, and putting up information on your partner portal. Social media is another place where you can capture your current and prospective channel partners’ attention. Don’t miss this vital opportunity to connect with and engage your partners. They are there now, making connections with customers and vendors, so don’t be left behind.

Deliver Value in Social Channels

Now, let’s talk about what’s brings your partners value in social media – information on what’s coming up in your solution is helpful, yes. But also collaborative discussions to problem solve and get ideas.

With social networks, such as LinkedIn, you can create a group the and invite your partners and others to join. Forming and managing these groups you can stimulate discussions between members of your partner ecosystem while maintaining control of membership and content.

One downside is that these conversations are now taking place in the social network and not your partner portal environment. At times, this limits your opportunities for self-promotion. Additionally, this means that they’re open to hijacking by individuals more intent on promoting themselves and their services.

Partnering Automation solutions like Relayware allow the creation of social groups that allow for more restrictions on the audience. This makes for tighter, more cohesive groups and discussions on a narrower set of topics while allowing more depth in those discussions. The groups can be more numerous, specialized and better tailored to your ecosystem members.

A Flow of Fresh Information

A key benefit of social media is the ability to deliver targeted, timely information. Too many partner portals have a lot of static content (some of it pretty dated). By bringing in a news feed that is synced up to social media conversations, you are immediately creating a fresh stream of information that keep partners’ attention. When combined with a mobile app and mobile push-data technology, notifications provide the recipient with a compelling reason to read your latest messages.

Build Your Audience

So hopefully, I have you excited about the value of social media, but your partners are only going to take so many steps in your direction. You have to meet them more than half way. To make it as easy as possible for you to be in front of them, enable single sign-on to your partner portal that also immediately brings in their social IDs. When a partner professional is first signing up with your company and they are filling out their contact information, ask for their social IDs so it’s not another ask later in time.

With single sign-on that brings together your partner portal and their social networks, you are saving your partner time. They don’t have yet another login and password to memorize. And on your side of things, as the vendor, you will see an increase in registrations, reduced abandonment rate and even better profile data accuracy and completeness.

Make sure to get both the partner organization’s social media ID as well as the partner professionals who are representing you in the marketplace.

Here some other key steps to maximizing partner involvement in your social media:

  • 1. Help your partners find you on Twitter, LinkedIn and wherever else you may be by putting links to your social media presence on your home page, your partner portal and mobile app. Also, include the links in you emails.
  • 2. Specifically ask your partners to follow you as well as “share” and “like” the information you are putting out there. This prompt has a ripple effect across your ecosystem.
  • 3. As your social media efforts take off, you may consider paid advertising on social networks to promote your company to channel partners or channel page. With social media advertising, you can fairly precisely target the right audience.

I hope this helps give you ideas about bringing social media into the fold and gets you excited about another important way to communicate with you channel partners!