Social Media & Trust in the Channel
April 28, 2017
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Social media is great, we’re all at it! Photos, fun times, checking to see how many likes you got… and shares (if you’re lucky!). But these ‘new’ habits that consume our lives every day, can be a real pain to (try to) transfer into your working life.
Add in the complexity of the channel too and you could be forgiven for choosing ‘avoidance’ as a preferred tactic. If you haven’t got the time, resource or expertise to put together an all singing, all dancing package for you and your partners – that can just add to the frustration.
End-user decision making has changed. Your partners, customers, prospective IT decision makers and influencers are consulting ‘social’ to compare solutions and to gather peer recommendations through social media. They are doing this every day, every evening and a growing number of people are also doing it at the weekend! Yep, using their own personal time to have a little look at ‘work stuff’.
This all actually presents a fantastically exciting opportunity to share information, content, commentary and expertise with a much wider audience than ever before. And what’s more, other people have this same opportunity to refer and recommend you and your business.
And, it’s actually quite simple and straight forward to get started, or to expand your current activity.
Stop being so selfish. It’s not about you!
Chances are you are active on social, in your personal life, and there is a relatively low risk and pain-fee way to transfer that activity into your business. But there’s a difference between personal social networking and business social networking: The biggest thing you must do when making the transition between personal and business social is change the motivation for your posts. You must start thinking less about what you want to share and make your posts more about your audience – and what they want to consume and share.
Personally, you might share your photos, your memories, your videos, your thoughts, feelings and reactions to topics. That is all about you sharing your personal content with people who have basically ‘opted-in’ to, well, you and your life: your meals, days out, kids, holidays, new-born babies, cool stuff you found, cute pets etc. And to reciprocate, you will also be consuming the content they choose to share.
However, in business, you must put your audience first. What will they want to see/read from your business? You might want to be constantly pushing your great products, discounts, offers and levels of services. But where is the differentiator? How does that make you different from your competitor who also has great products, offers, discounts and great service? So, you have to take a step back, put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Make it more about them, and less about you… find out, and understand what content they want to see/read and what will be relevant to them. How can you position yourself to be the one they choose above any other?
For years, we have been told time and time again that in order to make new connections and do new business we have to employ the notion of ‘know, like and trust’. All three of these things embody confidence, credibility, engagement, empathy and understanding. And it’s exactly the same in social media. You are just behind a screen, rather than being face-to-face. BUT don’t be misguided into thinking this whole world is virtual. It is not. Who do you think posts on social media? Who writes the blog? Who creates the hashtag? Who writes the case study or creates the video being linked to? Who creates the landing page? Who reads the content you post? A PERSON! Yep, an actual human person. This is still about people. So, despite this new communication landscape, despite the generation of automation and despite the always on, auto-access to a wider audience, all this is only possible because of people. So behave yourself and remember your manners – you are still a person and your audience is still made up of people.
This is a commitment, not just a campaign.
It’s not quick and it’s not easy, establishing an online presence in social media takes time and dedication but it is worth it; once you’ve got an understanding of how to build an audience and what ticks their boxes in terms of the content they want from you, it can be very valuable to your business. This is about making a commitment, not running a campaign.
The long and short of Social Media Marketing is that it’s all about content – being committed to providing the right content, at the right time, to the right people. And this is also entirely relevant in the channel – whether you are a vendor, distributor or partner/reseller.
Accept the world is changing – and has been for a while. Social media is no longer a new thing that might not catch on. It is here, it has caught on and the chances are your competitors are already making the most of it.
Yes, we went through a stage of being scared of it. Everyone being banned from using social at work because of a fear of time wasting. But things have already moved on – rapidly! There is no need to be scared anymore. Use and embrace social for work. Empower your employees to behave correctly and use social media as a genuinely valuable marketing tool.
When it comes to social in the channel, we offer various solutions for you and your partners, either ‘off the shelf’ or tailored specifically to meet yours and their needs. These include – but are not limited to –
It’s relatively easy to get started, and if you have already started, it is relatively easy to increase and improve your activity.
For more information on how we might be able to help you make sense of it all, please contact us or take a look here.