Rethinking Social Marketing for the Channel

Social Marketing for the ChannelOne of the biggest mistakes channel marketers make with social marketing? is developing scripted campaigns for partners to simply parrot to their own social networks. These kinds of programs are sold by plenty of vendors, positioned as turn-key social campaigns to get your partners selling through social media. Typically they include canned content, with scripted Tweets or posts supposedly optimized to generate likes and follows.

The problem with this approach is that it simply turns your partners into a broadcasting channel for your own message with the volume set to 11. But this isn’t how social media works. Your partners have to build their own rapport with the customer community they’re committed to serving, with their own message and their own value proposition. Anything else is an obvious sales pitch to anyone who sees it. You’re better off just buying ads on LinkedIn or Twitter, which is a lot cheaper and easier to measure than enabling a partner network.

The key to enabling your partners for social marketing is to provide a stream of relevant content that makes it easy for partners to select, personalize and share in a way that helps them authentically build their own voice and brand. You choose the topics, making sure they’re consistent and aligned with your own offering, and then enable your partners to select what to share and how to frame it for their own audience. The result is consistency in the core message, with variability to accommodate each partner’s own voice.

This kind of approach requires the initial due diligence of carefully defining your topics, and a range of included and excluded sub-topics. You need to choose topics that are targeted enough to help position your offering, but broad enough to generate a daily stream of relevant content your partners want to share. As a general rule of thumb, we try to curate a volume of daily quality posts equal to 10% of the number of partners in your network. Once you have your topics and sub-topics outlined, you can begin leveraging a content curation and syndication tool like? SocialRep? to make the content available for partners.

While it will take some training to help partners develop their social marketing skills, a solid stream of quality content is an essential foundation. Some of your partners will need no encouragement to leverage your content right away, and these early adopters will help lead the way as your social marketing program evolves.

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