There’s no denying that social media has penetrated the marketing mix. According to Nielsen Online, social networking—including blogs—has become the fourth most popular online activity. Huffington Post recently reported that social media is, in fact, the number one online activity. 95% of business decision makers around the world are using social media. And a Universal McCann research study showed that 34% of bloggers post online reviews. How many of those reviews are about your products?
So, we know that social media is not a fad. We also know that savvy businesses are leveraging this power to their benefit. Now we need to incorporate it into the marketing support for channel partners. Rather than rely on the traditional marketing tools, like advertising—which is woefully declining because people are getting their news from, you guessed it, the Web—we need to move co-op and MDFs to the present. Offer your partners assistance with establishing and maintaining their social media strategy and presence, assuming you have already ventured onto this platform yourself. If not, take a quantum leap there and then guide your partners to follow.
I recently worked with several resellers who understood the value of such sites as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn for connecting with prospects, but they were clueless as to how to jump on board. By giving them step-by-step instructions, offering them suggestions for maximizing their networking time, and even giving them blogs to post, I was able to deliver the support they needed to broaden their marketing horizons.
This is what the vendors should be doing. Recognize the need for education in the social networking realm. Help partners cross the threshold into the blogosphere. In the end, the success of the partner equates to the success of the vendor. I challenge more vendors to take up the cause and more partners to ask for the support!