How do you get channel partners to engage with your social media posts? By posts, we’re talking about ones coming from you, your company, or your industry at large on social media. Unfortunately, the answer to engagement isn’t always one-tip-applies-to-all. You’ll need to consider each individual partner and their channel journey, then adjust accordingly.

In a 2022 webinar between Zift and Dell Technologies’ Sarah Locke, Global Marketing & OEM Partner lead for Social Media, Locke provided general best practices to follow for through- and to-partner social media engagement. She also shares what to consider when building out a social media strategy for channel partners. Today, we’re revisiting Locke’s info-rich webinar and providing an overview of partner engagement how-to’s.

How to drive channel partner engagement

Make engagement easy

Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, like ZiftONE, makes it easy to drive engagement with channel marketing functionality. Especially with Zift, channel programs can access a centralized platform for more streamlined communication. Share information quickly with partners and filter by partner type to put the right content in front of the right people – all at the right time. Targeted and timely content will be more likely to reach the right type of partner, which in turn makes them more likely to engage with what you’ve shared!

Offer training or guidance

As the saying goes, teach a partner to fish and they’re fed for a lifetime. No partner can tap into their full engagement potential without first gaining access to crucial training. Zift’s Channel Learning capabilities put the power in partners’ hands through a Learning Management System (LMS). Training can be delivered via LMS to provide educational experiences based on partner tier or organization role. Create quizzes or courses, then monitor your partners’ progress to see what information they’re really taking with them. Channel Account Managers (CAMs) and Partner Marketing Managers (PMMs) should also be trained to give partners what they need. An educated partner is one who knows what you’re talking about, and will then go on to share your messaging.

Align social posts with active campaigns

Meet your partners where they already are by identifying their active campaigns. What topics or themes are they working on for you? By aligning social posts with these topics of conversation, your content not only seems more purposeful but also will aid in partner engagement.  

Partner engagement extra credit

Do you want to get an A+ in equipping your partners and enabling engagement? Locke goes on to encourage these additional tips to set them up for success:

  • Show partners how to build a strategy and plan
  • Show them how to use popular platforms like Twitter
  • Show them what engagement means to you
  • Show them how to listen to their prospects and customers
  • Engage with your partners’ posts
  • Involve your employees in their posts and content

What to consider when building a channel social strategy

Know your audience

It’s likely that some – or all – of your partners will fit into one of three approaches to social media:

  1. They’re intimidated or confused by it
  2. They aren’t even sure what social is or how it can help them
  3. They’re busy and confident in what they’re already doing… and want to be left alone!

By understanding these three “partner types”, you can navigate mindsets and build a social strategy accordingly. Locke says that she primarily focuses on the first two audience types since they are most likely to want (and receive) guidance. 

Show partners how you do it

For channel partners who are confused by social media or don’t know what it is, simply showing them what you know can be the most helpful place to start. Locke takes 15 minutes each morning to review social media platforms for anything she may have missed from the night before. Setting up a Google Meets or Zoom call would be a great way to walk partners through the basics of social media platforms, their notifications, and other functionality.

Explain the ROI 

For partner type #2, they will want to know that social media engagement leads to ROI. It can be tough to prove this, but a good way to do so is through transparent relationships. Establish a strong relationship with partners that is built on trust and honesty. Yes, this takes time. It’s well worth it, though, when your partners trust you and hear it from you that social media engagement is worthwhile.

Reach as many partners as possible

With ZiftONE, syndicate partner content with the click of a button so that you can reach as many people as possible. This makes it easy to write content on behalf of partners, schedule the content, and share a variety of information (industry news, product information, and so forth) through their accounts. You can even place hashtags in the content, so you know your partners’ post will have the appropriate reach. Outside of content syndication, your own employees can become your social advocates – as can your corporate accounts. Tap into the power of employees and corporate accounts to talk to partners and support their efforts.

Ready for more?

For more social media strategy and tips, be sure to follow Sarah on these platforms: