13 December – Facebook for Work: Can this social network be utilized as a productivity and internal communication tool for channel partners?

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Not so long ago Facebook announced it was making a move for a slice of the productivity market pie with their ‘Facebook for Work’ platform, appropriately named ‘Workplace’, which aims to improve communication within organizations as well as connecting different organizations together. This enables users to stay connected wherever they are. But can this be used to connect with your channel partners to replace other traditional communication methods?

 

‘Workplace’ embodies all the traditional Facebook features such as a news feed, the creation of sharing in groups, Facebook live, reactions, search, trending posts, as well as being able to communicate with colleagues in real time. Users however won’t be allowed to use their personal account, meaning they will need to set up separate Workplace account. Is this a bold move too far or have they hit on something that’s quite genius?

 

Does it fit?

 

Traditionally, channel marketers mainly focus on Twitter and LinkedIn to promote their brands message to partners, with Facebook appearing less appropriate for B2B interactions and more for pleasure. And for communication purposes many companies will have either created a LinkedIn group for communicating with their colleagues/channel partners or alternatively and more likely will have access to a portal, forum or intranet to house all their communication needs. This I am sure you agree sounds the more secure, easier option. So with this in mind where is this tool expected to fit and can it improve communications to channel partners?

 

Integration potential

 

Is there an opportunity for organizations to replace existing internal messaging systems and integrate this platform into their communication stream? The need for portals to house tools, and other pivotal resources is steadily becoming more and more important. So, can ‘Workplace’ be integrated into existing portals to replace company forums or Intranets?

 

6 questions you should ask yourself

 

  1. Is it cost effective? – It’s no big secret that getting entire teams to sign-up to the latest productivity tool is no easy task. However, due to the familiarity of Facebook, the adoption rate could potentially be a lot higher, being very effective, when compared with Intranets or Portals.

 

  1. Are your channel partners of the social media generation? The interesting thing about channel marketers is that in my experience, their social media knowledge and footprint tends to be rather limited. For this reason, will this audience find workplace easier to use, over familiar intranets, forums or professional networking tools? In my opinion no.

 

  1. Will I need to invest in other products? – Workplace, other than forums will not really replace your current tool investments. Its single sign on ability means that it can be integrated within your portal, but you will still have to invest in a portal, intranet and any other communication methods you currently use. For this reason you probably won’t save any money from using this tool.

 

  1. Is it scalable? – The platform is hugely scalable; it can develop and grow as fast or as slow as your business. However, will it really be for global brands who sell indirectly to customers and have a multitude of partner tiers?

 

  1. Can users be synchronized with other data platforms? The main challenge I come across day after day is data! Tell me now, do you have the same number of partners signed up to your portals, forums, email newsletters and social media amplification tools? I bet the answer is no! So, unless data can be transferred straight into workplace how can you begin to know who to enable to use this tool? And how can you ensure they all sign up to use it? If they don’t, it will mean you’re not communicating with all your channel partners, requiring you to communicate your message elsewhere as well.  This is where it becomes a challenge to manage!

 

  1. Is communication functional? – One of Workplaces major benefits is the ability to communicate between organizations, so the potential for vendors to communicate to their channel partners is certainly a possibility. But once again with brands often having hundreds of partners globally, each with their own languages, they will all require their own silos/Facebook group. Imagine having to reply and send a message to every silo separately and knowing that because not every partner has signed up to workplace, a proportion will not even see your content. With this in mind, how can communication ever become consistent? And let’s not forget all your partners will have access to your new feed meaning it is highly likely half of the content won’t even be relevant to them.

 

So, does Workplace ‘work’ for you and your sales partners?

 

We can’t ignore what separates Facebook from the crowd is a familiarity that can’t be rivalled and the the user experience is tried and tested.

 

So yes, the basic technological and theoretical foundations of this social network can be used as internal communication purposes, but at what scale? I can’t deny it doesn’t have some strong features which I’m sure are hugely beneficial for smaller scale, less complex brands with simple data systems. But in my opinion taking advantage of other more targeted tools specifically designed for improving and providing targeted communication for each partner is what should be invested in. After all, who wants to mix business with pleasure?

07 December – How to expand your audience on Social Media

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Social media, there’s no denying, can be (when done correctly) a very effective method for reaching a wider audience. But how can you ensure you’re taking full advantage and are using the right platforms and methods to drive the best results?

 

I was recently joined with Ian Moyse,  a well-known Sales Leader who has a huge social media presence, being rated 2016 and 15’s #1 social influencer on cloud, and #1 on ITSM ,  featured in many social selling leaders reports and has even advised many businesses on how to play the social media game. Here, Ian shared his tips on how to expand your social media presence.

 

  1. What to consider

 

  • Influencing buyers – With 75% of b2b buyers using social media to research a vendor (IDC) and 57% of the buyers journey being done before a sales rep is contacted (CAB), the power of social really has evolved. Ian even points out that incremental decisions are being made, based on content shared through social media. ‘That wouldn’t have happened even 10 years ago,’.

 

  • Transparency – The buyer and influencer dynamic has evolved. Anyone now has the ability to find out everything about, you, your brand, your products, what others think of you, and from this make a decision. It’s therefore more important than ever to portray yourself in the best way possible, across any mediums where they may find you, to sway their buying decision.

 

  • What are your goals? – It’s not enough to just want to be a part of social media because you’ve heard at an event it’s ‘good’, you need to think about what it is you want to accomplish and where you want to go. As Ian says ‘If you don’t know where you want to go, I can’t tell you which route to take.’ Possible goals could be; to generate leads, to appear more established than you are, to gain a wider regional reach or to be seen as a thought leader.

 

  1. Who are your audience?

After you’ve identified your goal, you then need to consider who is your audience. Examples include:

 

  • Customers- End customers
  • Channel partners- Spread your message onwards to their customer base.
  • Analysts- To become recognized in your field
  • Journalists- To create an online buzz and get your brand out there
  • Influencers- To improve the reputation of your business

 

  1. How do you engage with your audience?

Social media is open 24 hours a day so posting once a day will not be enough to grab your audience’s attention.

 

What a lot of thought leaders do is they repeat their content. To do this though you need to have a wide content library. As Ian says ‘What are the chances your audience are going to see it 50 times’?  Social Media is a transient form, no one is sat watching you all the time. Like a TV advert the same ad runs on different channels at different time again and again!  You need to engage the same on social.  Have a mix of good content you can re-use and perhaps post a blog, twice a day, each day at different times across 2 week’s! You want to have as many people as possible to; see it, engage with it and share it on to their audiences! Using a social automation tools will allows you to schedule these in advance to go out at varying times.

 

Social media has the word ‘social’ in the title for a reason. It’s all about communicating with your audience and starting up conversations. By this Ian does not mean, sending them something one off. The relationship needs to be constantly nurtured to keep them interested, whilst encouraging engagement.

 

More than that though, it’s about sharing content that will be of interest to them.

 

  1. How do you grow your audience?

 

  • Focus- Do not be fooled into thinking you need to be on all social networks. If your business does not lend itself to visual display, why have an ‘Instagram’ account? Yes, it’s a huge player in the market, but perhaps not for your industry. Instead focus your efforts on a few social networks suited to your industry. Why not assess your competitors’ efforts and which ones they use?

 

  • Take advantage- Hashtags, keywords, Twitter lists, LinkedIn Groups, are all great ways of attracting your audience’s attention. Spend some time researching these and see how you can take advantage of them. I would highly recommend conducting social listening to see how others are using these effectively. If you can identify a relevant niche not yet served then consider creating a LinkedIn or Facebook group and adding connections/ thought leaders in that space to it. This is a method Ian has found particularly beneficial for starting conversations, engaging his audience and sharing content (Ian’s group now has over 33k members and is continuing to grow consistently!)

 

  • Social Selling- As Ian says ‘people talk to people. They don’t like to feel they’re talking to a bot. To do this you need to take advantage of your sales people and give them training on how to use their social media accounts effectively, for building and engaging with prospects. With 57% of the buyers’ journey occurring before a sales rep is contacted, building your employees online presence is a great way of influencing buying decisions.

 

  • Thought leaders- Do you have influencers, senior level employees or experts in your field that you could be leveraging on social media? This is also another great way of increasing your social media presence, building trust and adding a humanized element to your messaging as well.

 

  • Useful tools- Here are some great tools which Ian Moyse recommends using for improving your social media performance and efficiency:

-Fiverr- Creative marketplace for finding digital services such as creating great profile imagery and social animations cheaply

-Ezgif- Converts videos to GIF’s to make content and is a bit more social media friendly.

-Social media automation tools- To schedule relevant posts to your audience all at once.

-Commun.it- A tool to analyze engagement on Twitter & Facebook and to help you re-engage

 

The main trick is to constantly look for small gains and try to keep up to date with the advancements. ‘I am constantly looking for ways to make social media that bit easier for myself or ways to make me look a bit more professional. Its’ all about those 1% gains, they all add up.’

 

Ian shared some extremely useful tips in here, too many in fact for me to mention within this blog post, so here’s the full version of our ‘Expanding your Social Audience’ webinar. Please do follow us @purechannelapps and @imoyse on Twitter and feel free to ask us some questions.

02 December – Free social partner/employee profile analysis

 

 

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Do you know how active your channel partners, employees and other influencers social media profiles are? What training do they need to become successful social sellers? Have you considered enabling them to share your brand content out through their networks?

 

purechannelapps is offering 10 lucky businesses a free of charge analysis.

 

The package includes:
Social media profile analysis of 100 users. You will find out:
• Social networks they use
• How many posts they create a week
• Number of retweets/ shares a week
• How many followers
• Amount of competitor content they’re sharing
• Social media accounts on their website (if relevant)

 

From these results, we can then suggest useful social training, tools, tips, tricks to help your brand advocates amplify your brand message in a consistent way on a global basis to achieve results that will put other marketing initiatives to shame, that’s for sure.

 

Offer ends 23rd December.

 

Register Today