Rather, done right, social media is “about understanding the opportunity for you locally to create expertise and value-added content that will be consumed by your core customer base.”
While solution providers can’t ignore social (Canada has one of the largest social media footprints in the world), Norrie cautioned VARs not to wade into any of the 560-odd social media services currently available unless there’s a good reason to do so.
The best first steps for companies like VARs, he argues, is to “provoke a conversation amongst your clients about you,” by providing content and encouraging them to share that content – amongst themselves and with others.
For VARs not sure how to start that conversation, the company introduced the first generation of its “social media in a box” strategy for IT solution providers at ChannelNext.
The company’s first social media offering for the channel, placed under the mySocialByte brand, is a monthly e-newsletter service that offers up content to VAR’s lists of customers and prospects. Norrie described it as a way to “secure a beachhead with your current customers… to put them in contact with you in a social mode that is safe and supportive,” a first step towards the additional programs that will debut later this year.
Keegan Tremblay of Agile Dudes added that e-newsletter represented a strong starting point, both because of its familiarity to business people who may be otherwise unsure of how to build their presence in the social space, and it’s historically strong return.
In social, said Norrie, that return should be looked at not so much as return on investment, but rather return on engagement – the value gained from engaging one customer at a time, reaching them out and bringing them closer.
“Everything we do for you is measured,” Norrie said. “All the analytics are there for you to digest.”
The mySocialByte e-newsletter service costs $49.999 to set up, with a $79.99 recurring fee. The service will be followed up by “Elite” and “Pro” social media packages for solution providers later this year, with price points to be announced.