After presenting this topic at Disney Interactive, I wanted to share some insight to maximizing your efforts with social media and the business partners you work with.
One of the most neglected areas of digital development is partner outreach and support. In many cases your company has undergone extensive conversations with key businesses supporting your organization.
The unfortunate mistake is that no one knew how to detail online partner opportunities and this results in simple inaction (i.e. a wasted asset.)
Some example social media partners to think about:
- primary clients
- industry journalists
- industry executives
- other departments
- marketing peers
- co-op business partners
- industry PR firms
- employee unions
- associations / guilds
While these business partners may seem like ‘been there, done that’ conversations, you should REALLY take the time to print out the following sheet and perform the exercise of examining your partners strengths and weaknesses online. These elements will highlight low hanging fruit that can be utilized to form a strong social media partner strategy.
Social Media Partner Strategy Sheet
Why paper is critical, different perspectives
By collecting this base information on paper, you can collect casual notes. An important part of building your social media partner strategy is to inquire with other business professionals for insite and wisdom.
Once you have a few forms filled out with basic research information and notes, sit down with a co-worker or professional peer and ask for sixty seconds of brainstorming. In many cases they will confirm ideas or assumptions, or brutally detail something that should have been completely obvious from a different perspective.
You can take any box on the above form and ask a question to them:
- What business channels does company ABC have?
- How much money does company ABC spend doing X?
- What is company ABC doing right?
- What is company ABC doing wrong?
- Who is the ‘whiz kid’ person at company ABC?
- How can we help company ABC?
- How can company ABC help us?
Such simple questions help draw an accurate picture of potential social media partners. In many cases your professional peers can add simple bullet points that fill in the gaps on your own map, which ultimately help you focus on specific areas of opportunity between organizations.
Don’t do it alone
When you are first thinking about this exercise, invite two or three people to a working lunch and do it together. Even if everyone is outside of your business, they may gain insight to how business partners across organizations can help support each other.
TIP – Don’t pay for it alone
The cost for developing a functioning social media model doesn’t need to be paid by any single department or partner organization. In many cases 101 and 201 level items can be addressed in a group format, resulting in a cost savings by distributing the burden across multiple stakeholders. Cost could be attached to education, consultants, tool subscriptions, or technical development.
Keep in mind that if a partner organization knows more about digital partnerships, ask them to share that knowledge so you can help them as a partner. There is a high probability that if you are considering a new tool or platform, someone in your professional partner network has already suffered the educational trials surrounding it.
Simply said: If you have access to more knowledge, share your experience with them to strengthen your relationship (and cooperative business ventures.)