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Strengthening your Channel with Social Media

October 28, 2010

Internet Retailers and Publishers typically use Feeds and Social Media to communicate directly with customers. However, many Brands and B-B companies sell through distribution channel partners. Their end-user customers increasingly use social media, but channel partners often lack the time or expertise for social media marketing. Yet failure to communicate effectively with customers, results in lost market share. So what is a company to do?

A session at SocialTech this week discussed Cisco’s efforts to get its 13,000 channel partners to begin using social media. Like all global organizations, Cisco found varying degrees of enthusiasm for, and understanding of, Social Media amongst its partners. Luanne Tierney of Cisco discussed her plan.


  1. Present data to partners demonstrating that Social Media is not just for kids (66% of social media users are between 25 and 55).
  2. Demonstrate how Social Media can works for Cisco (CTO has 1.4 million Twitter followers).
  3. Create “Cisco Partners Velocity” a program of content and conferences which trains channel partners on the foundations, execution and maintenance of social media programs.
  4. Participate – Cisco set up its own blog and social sites to continue the education.


SimpleFeed is great at automating the publishing of company approved and highly relevant content to the Twitter and Facebook presences of channel partners. However, we have seen many companies struggle to get their channel to embrace social beyond this baseline content. While the above sounds simple and straight forward, I find it a very valuable approach to a difficult problem. For many enterprises, this is where social media rubber meets the road.

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