In last week’s blog post on Cross-pollination, I discussed the idea that you should think about social media beyond your platforms- social media is about the broad community and partnerships can be a simple way to grow big community quickly. It’s the most underutilized tool to grow your social media channels and your in real life channels. In today’s post, the following listicle tells you how to grow your social media following through partnerships.
- Do some preliminary research on your community and ask them what brands they have an affinity with. This can be accomplished via free easy tools like a poll on your Facebook page, a SurveyMonkey survey or via slightly costlier social media data tools like Networked Insights, or Sysmos.
- Once you’ve identified a few brands that overlap – take a look at what you have to offer that company. If you are a large company, money can be a fast and easy motivator towards partnership. If you are smaller, think about what you can provide them. It could be things as simple as a new audience, the introduction to a devoted fan base, your skills as a social marketer or a number of other skills. In short, you are determining what skills and resources you can bring to another business.
- Once you’ve established your value proposition (i.e. the good things you can bring to another brand), you will want to reach out. The best way to reach out is if you have a warm contact at that other company especially someone who is already in social and shares your philosophy. Warning: This is difficult (referring to paragraph 1) as most people still think about social media and think only about their platforms. Rather than create community, they are focused on creating more original content about themselves.
- Hold a discussion with your new internal contact about how cross-promoting on each other’s social media channels may help to bolster your community, increase the wealth of interesting content and yes, drive sales.
- There are a lot of ways to create social media partnerships and they can be as simple as cross-promoting content to as complicated as co-creation, co-advertising or the co-production of a new product. So scale up or down according to the warmth of the relationship, the interest in community development and your experience. It’s often simplest to start small out of the gate and grow your integration after you’ve had a few small wins under your belt.
- Set up early what you think a “win” would be i.e. what type of metrics would you be looking for from this relationship and how do you get there. This will help to firmly establish the relationship and to ensure that everyone is agreeing to and looking towards the same end goal. The simplest way to derail your business partnership (in social, or frankly anywhere) is to not have clear established goals that you are both working towards.
- Create. Enact. Measure.
- Repeat with other new and interesting brands.
To make sure you’ve got it, use the below checklist in the process of creating a social media partnership:
- Research your audience: what are brands they care about.
- Determine what you have to offer in a partnership deal
- Develop the warm relationship with a new brand
- Discuss ideas and concepts for development
- Set early metrics for success and ensure alignment
- Create. Enact. Measure.