Social media can be a real challenge at times, especially when your organisation sells through a complex network of channel partners. Relying on partners to promote your products and services to end-users can be a headache. Not only do they have you on their backs but they also have your competitors.

purechannelapps™ spoke with Microsoft (Alex Beere, Social Media Manager) and Microsoft’s channel partner (Anna Nicholls, Axon-IT) to reveal how they have overcome this.

Microsoft blog

The issue
Recent studies show that IT buyers are spending up to two-thirds of their buying decision online or on social media. Essentially by the time they speak to a supplier or one of their partners, their decision has already been made! So if your channel partners are not posting your content, and influencing their customers or prospects, you have little chance in becoming recognised as a thought leader and being considered as a viable option.

60% of Microsoft’s partners admit they lack content to share and a further 80% confirm they do not have the time to get involved with social media; this highlights the full scale of the issue.

Microsoft partner lack

Microsoft’s secret
Microsoft use a social media amplification platform called socialondemand® to reach a much wider audience. It includes the followers and friends of their own employees and partners as well as other brand advocates.

Microsoft share their content onto the platform, and users are then able to edit, schedule and ultimately publish this content onto their own social networks in just a couple of clicks. Easy! As Alex Beere confirmed socialondemand has two major advantages: it enables Microsoft to amplify its brand messages to new audiences and it also enables partners to be socially active, and closely engaged with Microsoft.

Recent results from using the platform
1,094 posts have been created to date by Microsoft. Partners have published these 71,840 times and these reposts have generated 299,600 clicks and 5,873 retweets/ likes. This would never have been possible before so partners see this platform as a major advantage for both them and Microsoft.

In fact, 87% of partners feel that this has added real value to their business.

Microsoft’s social media strategy for socialondemand:
•Provide thought leadership content to partners
•Post content at least 8 times a day
•Post content at the weekend as this shows great returns (# of clicks)
•Expire posts sent to partners that are older than two weeks to keep content up to date
•Encourage their partners to use the lead generation feature on socialondemand to track engagement levels and make follow ups.

Anna Nicholls from Axon-IT, a Microsoft partner, confirmed that finding the time to source and produce then post content was a huge issue they previously faced. With only a small team, one post a day was hard enough. Their social media presence was very limited, with minimal reposts. But by using MicrosoftSocialOnDemand, this has dramatically changed. With Microsoft’s recognised brand on their posts, their online presence has dramatically increased. And with leads being generated on Twitter and LinkedIn, it has been a win, win situation.

The trick here is to make it incredibly easy for channel partners to repost your content. socialondemand is the answer. The professionals are using it, so why don’t you?

Click here to watch the full webinar.