Social Media Marketing for Channel Partners: Is it Right For You?
When we talk to Channel Partners, they understand that social media marketing needs to become part of their overall marketing strategy, but they are unsure where to start, or they have tried and failed.
For many people, it's confusing, and they are unsure of what really "social media marketing" means and how it can benefit their business. That's really OK, and the key is you have come to the right people to help you. After you have read this article, you are going to have a better understanding of how your business can utilize social media to meet your goals.
If it were easy, you wouldn't need experts like us. We won't lie social media marketing out of the gate can be confusing and complicated to get started and may not show results straight out of the gate. But it doesn't have to be like that, and we are going to show you can how you can do this to help grow your business, engage more people, and meet your business goals.
Are you ready to start on the journey to growing your business with social media marketing?
But before we do that, we know there are still people who still don't believe social media is worth it…
Do I really need to use social media marketing for my business?
The resounding answer is YES. If you want your business to prosper, grow, and be a viable option, social media marketing needs to be part of your overall online strategy. For some business, this might not be 100% true, but nearly every business can benefit from having a social media presence. The key will be which social media platform best fits your company's needs.
Social media brings you the benefits of helping to build greater awareness of your company you're your products/services, it helps increase customer engagements and helps you close sales that you would have never known about otherwise.
The top reason why you should be using social media marketing
Your future customers are using social media. If you're going to meet them, then you're going to have to spend the time and energy where they hang out. A staggering 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support their purchase decisions.
From an online marketing strategy, social media plays just a piece of the puzzle. Let's take a peek into where it all fits in your business goals.
The role of social media in a Channel Partners marketing strategy
Social media is a big part of your online marketing experience.
There are four components that we need to accomplish with the audience with online marketing, and they are:
Connect – Drive people to your website
Experience – Prove to the customer that you're able to solve their needs and gain positive experiences
Entice – Drive people to engage and follow you on your social media channels and/or join your mailing list.
Engage – Now you have people opted to connect you now have to deliver content that keeps you top-of-mind
Social media is not all about engaging new customers. It allows you to engage with your existing customers by allowing you to get them to subscribe to email lists and gives you the opportunity to deliver a positive online customer experience.
Now on to the basics of social media marketing.
Social Media Marketing in 4 Simple Steps
From experience, social media marketing requires experimenting as there isn't one social media strategy that works for every type of business. But there are standard practices that can follow that we help in getting you started with social media to help you build your social media presence.
We are going to keep to simple with these social media marketing four simple steps:
Create and hold accounts on all the major B2B social media channels
Don't stress out – you're not necessarily going to post on every social media channel, but making sure that you own the rights to your business name is essential.
But as social media needs you to be willing to experiment, you may not start with Instagram out of the gate, but you may find that your prospective customers are actively using that social media channel.
We would recommend that you create accounts for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as your starting point.
Choose one or two social media channel(s)
Starting with one or two social media channels allows you to be more focused and gives you more time to focus on that particular channel before you learn others as they all have slight differences.
For most channel partners we work with and train, we suggest that they start off with LinkedIn and possibly add Twitter as their secondary social media channel.
Set your business goals for social media
Like all marketing, you need to set business goals even around social media marketing on what you expect to gain from your effort. But out of the gate, we would recommend that you limit the number of goals as you start to get used to and understand how it works or not as your experiment.
Here are a few examples of social media goals you could use:
Increase the awareness of your product(s) or services
Share people of upcoming events, webinars, and opportunities you have to offer
Drive people to sign up to your email or newsletter list
Drive more visitors to your website
Drive more sales with special promotions
On your marks… get ready… now start your social media strategy
After you have defined your goals, you are now prepared to get started with your social media strategy.
What we mean is it's time to put a plan in place that you are going to use to achieve those goals. That plan could include the following:
Who is your audience, and how are you going to engage with them?
Where is your audience hang out? This is, of course, is choosing the social media platform where they are hanging out.
What content do you have to share, and do you need to develop more before you start? From experience, we find more content is required, and then you have to keep producing fresh content.
When are you going to post and how often. How often you post will vary on the platform you use, but you want to post frequently, and you will have to experiment to find the best times your audience engages.
How will you handle posting? Each social media platform will allow you to post directly, but we recommend that you invest in a social media management tool that will enable you to schedule posts so that your not spending all your time posting. Also, a lot of these tools will give you some additional analytics as well would is useful.
Next: Measure, experiment and revise your strategy
We mentioned that isn't one social media strategy that works for every business, so you're going to want to make sure your measuring your results and continuing to experiment so you can keep improving your social media strategy. Don't be put off when you don't see the results that meet the goals you set happening. You may have to shift your strategy, or it can be time to build traction or a bit of both.
We have given you the basics, so what's holding you back?
And yes, we know you still have questions…
Like anything you are learning for the first time, you're always going to have lots of questions. The easiest solution is to give it a try, but in the meantime, let us help answers some additional questions we know typically come up at the beginning.
What content should I share?
Think about your audience and what they want. Look at what is already engaging them on social media and look to replicate similar content that gives them value.
What do I measure to know I am successful?
What you measure on will depend on what your goals are and the social media platform you are using, but here are some performance measurements you can use:
Conversations – Based on the number of times someone saw your content and completed a desired action
Engagement – The numbers times your content was either liked, commented on or engaged with
Impressions – The number of times your content was displayed
Reach – Total number of people who see your content
When is the best time and day to post on social media?
There isn't a definitive answer to this even that you will find many articles on the subject with recommendations. The best time is going to be driven by your audience and the platform you're using.
So experiment different times and days and record your reach, engagements, and impressions so you can home in on the best time to post for your audience.
Should I be using hashtags?
In social media, hashtags are essential as they allow people to be able to easily find content that is related to what they are interested in. Let's say I am looking for content related to the Modern Workplace, then I would use in my search the hashtag #modernworkplace, and it would bring back results of content that has that hashtag attached to it.
Here is a couple of useful article on hashtags worth reading:
It always good to make sure as part of your social media strategy, you include research into finding the right hashtags that your audience is searching and engaging with as you want to make sure you're using them within your posts.