Fitting Social Media into Channel Communications Frameworks

August 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm 2 comments

Sandra Glaser Cheek

Sandra Glaser Cheek

By Sandra Glaser Cheek, Director, Consulting & Client services

Social media is forcing businesses to be better. With customers and competitors having more access to what companies are doing and saying in real time, it raises the ante for more transparency, better services and better products.

The next generation of partner marketing strategies will be more responsive, collaborative, and focused on the needs of the partner and customer, not just on the fastest way to close business. Time to market with these social technologies and tools will determine who the winners in vendor community will be. The keys to success will be flexibility, executive support, and the willingness to make mistakes along the way.

As we develop Communications Frameworks for our clients, it’s interesting to see where social media and web 2.0 technologies fit within an organization.

Most major vendors do have some sort of social media plan/strategy and most have begun using some next generation communications tools. This is interesting, because it is unclear that anyone really knows how to formulate and articulate a clear social networking strategy or social media plan for channel partner integration — or provide clear metrics for measurement.

Despite this, it’s clear that it’s time for channel marketers to embrace and prioritize social media technology, as it will be an integral part of the next generation channel program. The impact that sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have had on the way that users interact and use the Internet for communication, purchasing, and collaboration is clear. Some of this technology, like blogs, podcasts, and RSS are being utilized by vendors — but this is just scratching the surface. To meet the changing customer needs for immediacy, personalization, and participation (sometimes simultaneously), channel programs and the supporting marketing will need to be built with Web 2.0 leading the charge and encompassing social networking, virtual communities, video on demand, wikis, podcasts, and web based collaboration.

I regularly hear from partners that their e-mail inboxes are inundated with vendor communication — making it hard for them to sift through the truly relevant information. Some vendors we work with are starting to understand the potential of channel-specific communities that you can find on sites like LinkedIn, Google and Facebook. Those who have taken steps to include these types of communities are becoming more of a “part” of the sales conversation rather than the sole “presenter” of information — allowing for reduction of e-mail and more meaningful conversations with compatible partners.

It’s clear that vendors are still grappling with the right “mix” of social media as part of a holistic channel communications plan. If you are just starting to think about a social media plan as part of your overall communications plan, check out these free social media resources collected by mashable.

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Entry filed under: Industry Perspective. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike Dubrall  |  August 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Good discussion of social media and channels. There is a lot of interest in this subject and every channel manager should be thinking about it. You might find the discussions on LinkedIn to be informative. Try the Channels of the Future group there.

    Reply
  • 2. Bill Bartmann  |  September 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Cool site, love the info.

    Reply

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