It wasn’t too long ago that the red-headed step child of most marketing programs, channel marketing, was lucky to get a few emails here and there to help with partner recruitment and channel revenue. But all that is changing. As internal sales teams have shrunk, channel marketing has become more important for many companies. This newfound importance is also spurring on some use of new tools by channel marketers, namely social media.
Social media has been a game-changing tool for B2B and B2C marketers in general, but channel marketers have been slower to adapt and use these tools to drive recruitment and channel sales. Part of the reason is not knowing how to leverage social media in the channel.
For many channel marketers, repurposing data sheets and training materials is all they can handle in terms of marketing collateral. But this content does little in the awareness stage of the buying cycle. What social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn help you do is to engage and educate both end users and resellers much earlier in the sales process. This can drive more channel revenue for you over time and help you create top-of-mind referral sales from distributors and resellers that recommend your products or services.
Below are some tips for getting started.
- Get your educational content ready to share
- Get your channel blog up and running
- Join/participate in applicable LinkedIn groups
- Research and go after targets via Twitter (industry distributors, resellers, media, analysts)
- Listen and jump into the conversation, talking about what’s important to them
- Start by pointing to others content first
- Point to your own content sparingly
- Position yourself by who you talk to and how you talk to them
- Tap into community to increase reach and have them become part of your message
- Search for keywords via social media that indicate people are further along in the sales cycle
- Throw your hat in the ring or offer advice
- Take the conversation offline as soon as possible
This is just a start. TreeHouse has a webinar on “Channel Marketing and the Role of Social Media” if you want to find out more.