For the longest time, channel partner recruitment put vendors in the driver’s seat. However, with the rise of digital channels and the inbound perspective on marketing, partners are able to be more picky about whom they work with. Understanding how to view partnerships from the partners’ point of view can be a powerful way to recruit, and social media is the perfect place to start.
Many partners work with as many as 50 vendors at a time, so they have to be strategic about picking the right vendor to partner with. To make your channel partner program recruitment efforts successful, use these tips:
Create a Recruitment Plan
Before you dive into social media and start posting, you need to have a solid recruitment plan in mind. This starts with knowing who and what you are looking for in a channel partner. You might already have ideal channel partner personas—fictional representations of your ideal partners based on real data and research—and it can be useful to base these personas on your current, most successful channel partners. However, if you’re just getting started or want to diversify your partners, here are some questions to ask about potential partners:
- What is the size and reach of the business?
- Whom does the business sell to? Why?
- What is the company’s revenue model?
- How long has the organization been in business?
- What is the company’s value proposition?
- With whom does the business currently work?
- Does the company focus on a specific industry?
- What are the organization’s struggles? Goals?
Then, ask yourself some important logistics questions about your own business:
- Are there any industries or markets you want to break into?
- What social channels are your ideal partners on?
- Who will be managing your social media recruitment program?
Once you’ve figured out who your ideal channel partners are and know who will be running your recruitment efforts, be sure to set up a landing page on your website or an online form to collect information about your recruits. You don’t want to automatically accept everyone who reaches out, so a form can be a powerful place for collecting information to properly segment contacts (e.g., ideal partners, potential partners, bad matches, and so on) according to the partner journey.
Stand Out from the Rest
Grabbing the attention of potential channel partners can be difficult. Chances are, they’re being pulled in multiple directions—by current partners and other vendors also trying to recruit them. One of the most powerful ways you can use social media to promote your channel partner program and recruit the right partners is by sharing product updates, company announcements, new content offers, and more to pique the interest of your followers. By leveraging these educational opportunities, engaging potential channel partners, and providing partners with the information they need and want in order to make a decision, you’ll differentiate your program from other channel partner programs vying for recruits.
Also, if you’re using a partner relationship management (PRM) solution, social channels are a great place for vendors to highlight the benefits of a PRM for partners. Ultimately, partners want to work with vendors who have their best interests in mind, and a PRM platform offers countless benefits that can be incredibly enticing to partners.
Build Brand Awareness
Another way you can ensure that your channel partner program stands out from others on social media is by becoming a thought leader. Build awareness around your brand by creating powerful, industry-focused content—e-books, white papers, case studies, info sheets, and more—that can be shared on various social media channels. Not only will potential partners begin to see your company as a thought leader and industry standout, but they’ll also share your content with their networks, which can boost your brand awareness beyond your recruitment efforts.
Social Media Pro Tips
There are many ways to do social media right—and plenty of ways to do social media wrong. Here are a few best practices and pieces of advice for making the most of your social media channel partner recruitment program:
- Cater your content: Make sure you cater your content to the social channel you’re posting to. For example, although hashtags are relevant and useful on Instagram and Twitter, they aren’t widely used and don’t serve a major purpose on Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Be image savvy: Make sure the types and dimensions of images you use on the various social channels follow the best practices of each channel.
- Embrace the GIF: One quick way to explain and deliver complex topics that might seem new or difficult for potential partners is through animated GIFs. Although animated GIFs are often used as a quirky way to share how you’re feeling or respond to a trending topic, you can also use them to deliver quick “how to” experiences about your product or service for your followers.
Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to recruit by promoting the bells and whistles that come along with partnering with your organization. Highlighting your PRM and any special incentives you offer to channel partners can be huge when trying to break through the noise of vendor recruitment on social media. Download our 2018 Partner Relationship Management Guide to learn more about how a PRM can help you recruit channel partners and manage your pipeline effortlessly and seamlessly.