Social media represents substantial opportunities for companies to directly engage with prospective customers to drive new B2B or B2C sales. Most organizations, whether small or large, are starting to use social media to communicate to, and work more closely with, customers, prospects, partners, analysts, journalists, and other influencers.
In the B2B space, a key social media strategy is to provide relevant value-added content (articles, white papers, videos, etc.) to customers and prospects that inform, educate, start conversations, and ultimately generate leads and opportunities. For channel-centric companies that sell through an intermediary sales channel, utilizing a social media strategy like this to engage with prospective customers presents several challenge as 1) they usually don’t have close relationships with their end customers, 2) reaching out to them directly may raise some concern on the part of their partners who more directly ‘own’ the relationship with the end customer.
However, vendors like Adobe, Acronis, Avaya, Avnet, Cisco, Dell, SonicWALL, Norton by Symantec, and Polycom are taking a channel-centric social media approach – executing their social media strategy through their own channel partners.
Over 70% of their partners have more than one social media account and an average of 200 followers for each of these accounts. These partners are crying out for good, meaningful, and relevant content that adds value to their customers and prospects. However, typically partners do not have the time, money, or knowledge to create that content or even sift through their vendors’ social media accounts, blogs, RSS feeds, emails, etc. to find the appropriate news for their customers.
By providing partners with access to a regular flow of meaningful information that is simple for partners to find, edit, and adopt into their own social media networks, these vendors are seeing improved partner engagement, end-user content amplification, and increased post click-through rates. Partners are seeing increased lead generation and conversion rates. A true win-win for vendors and partners alike.
Michael Cotton is V.P. of Sales and Marketing for purechannelapps – a company focused on simplifying and automating social media syndication in channel-centric organizations. Mike has over 20 years experience in direct and indirect sales management within the high-technology industry.