Channel Maven Consulting
Channel Maven Consulting

Who is Channel Maven Consulting?

Call us crazy. We’ll admit, we’re a little off our rocker with passion for making channel marketing teams succeed. That’s just what happens when you get a team of strategic channel experts working to understand individual client’s channel marketing and communications goals. What we really want is for you to see what happens when we help drive more effective relationships “to” and “through” your partners. LEARN MORE »

From Our Blog

Never Fall Down The Content Rabbit Hole Again

by channelmaven on September 25, 2014

Imagine you’re on the web minding your own business innocently researching a topic — when another equally interesting topic hijacks your attention. You know you shouldn’t click that link because you have deadlines to meet. But, just like “Alice in Wonderland,” curiosity gets the better of you. Suddenly, you fall feet first into the content rabbit hole. It’s filled with fantastic videos, tantalizing ideas for future blogs and wondrous new social programs that you’d love to delve into. Sound familiar?

Internet induced “Alice in Wonderland” experiences like this happen to the best of us. 

Luckily, there are several free, cloud-based apps that can help. Our favorites are Pocket and PearlTrees. These simple to use apps allow you to save and retrieve bookmarked articles/blogs from any device – leaving your rabbit holes for later consumption. Plus, it will give you something to look forward to the next time you’re bored in line.

Alice in Wonderland

At Channel Maven Consulting, our mission is to help vendors and partners drive more business through the channel. We do so in a bunch of different ways, but one of the most important things we do daily is stay informed of channel and general marketing best practices. How do we accomplish that? One way is by sifting through heaps of content looking for the best share-worthy articles from a wide variety of sources. Imagine the sheer volume of rabbit holes we encounter daily (Yes, we’re never bored in line!) 

Want to see Pocket in action?

Here’s a sneak peek at the content gold in our Pocket. You can also check out our Twitter for more posts on channel marketing best practices. Enjoy!

Conversion Traffic

This article is chock-full of so many easily executable ideas for increasing conversion. It’s going to be in our Pocket for however long it takes to go back, break off small pieces, and digest the wisdom in snack-size bites! Plus, make sure to check out the squeeze page. It might become your new BFF.

Ikea #BookBook

Ikea, you’re funny! This came by way of a channel vendor who wanted to share a chuckle. We posted it on social #BookBook, and it landed in our Pocket for safe keeping as a subtle reminder of how and why good tongue-in-cheek humor works.

Tools save our sanity. This is a great article about harnessing the power of social tools to make feeding the content machine easier! It’s a recipe for how to intertwine tools to make them work together more efficiently. There were too many good tidbits to digest in one sitting, so in the Pocket it went… and the socks are a nice touch.

Click image to read article

This is an interesting and informative compilation of noteworthy resources to consider when building your business. From forums, applications, Q&A sites to you name it, the strategies are listed here. Scan it for the ideas that work for you. We promise you’ll find something worth reading.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 2.35.33 PM

Yes, blood donation. We realize it might seem odd that these articles found their way into our Pocket, but there’s rhyme to our reason. Trust us.

The first article lays out the latest marketing trends: the buyer’s journey and persona based marketing all-in-one package. Learning how the American Red Cross brought their marketing into the new millennium by understanding the donor (buyer) perspective is the equivalent of marketing-candy!

The second article, a link from the first, is a deeper dive into the mechanics behind the donor experience (buyer journey) from the logistical and tactile perspective of the design company. It’s equally interesting from the design point of view and informs us of the steps they took to execute the Red Cross’ vision. This whole concept is blog worthy, and that’s why we saved it.

Thanks for sharing our Pocket. We hope you found some useful take-a-ways!

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8 Simple Steps for Success with Social Media

by channelmaven on September 25, 2014

Your Company has decided to adopt a social media plan and they put you in charge. Don’t panic. When executed properly social media can be exciting and extremely useful for interacting and engaging with your online community. In 8 simple steps we’ll help you figure which platforms are best to use for your goals, how to add value, and give you tips to expand your social reach.

Social-Media-Marketing-Plan

  1. Adopt: Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn?? Before you take the leap consider why social media is critical for business.
    • 79%of companies surveyed use or plan to use social media.
    • Social media helps brand awareness. Harvard Business Review
    • It’s another avenue for authentic engagement with your audience.
    • Social media gives you feedback and customer insights.
    • You can use it to drive traffic (potential customers) to your website.
  2. Audience: Before creating content  or posting updates, it’s critical to think about your audience. Are you selling to the partner? Partners, are you trying to attract potential vendors? Audience is KEY. Establish who your ideal customer is in addition to your target market.
    • Different social channels have different audiences:
      • Twitter use by the 25-34 age group has more than doubled, rising from 9% to 19%.  95% of Twitter users own a mobile phone. PewResearch
      • Women are five times more likely to use Pinterest. MediaBistro
      • 39% of LinkedIn users are 35-54. Business Insider
    • It’s more important to fully engage in a few social channels than be on every possible platform.
    • Understand the type of information your audience wants.
  3. Pulling Content:
    • Remember the 70/30% rule. Promote your company but don’t just sell. Be a trusted advisor and a source of information.  Make 70% of content relevant industry information and 30% about your company.
    • Search for interesting articles you can link to on trusted platforms. Example: Forbes, Business Insider, The VARGuy, Inc. etc.
    • Suggestion: Feedly is a great content aggregator.With it you can subscribe to the RSS feeds of industry blogs and news sites to find content around topics that interest your customers.
    • Wondering if you should post a particular article? Check on a few things first:
      • The article date, making sure it’s not time sensitive.
      • Is the article trying to sell a product? If so, follow the 70/30 rule.
      • Is the information useful for your audience?
  4. Writing Content: Now that you found your articles, let’s write social posts to accompany them.
    • Set up a system that to track revisions and approvals such as a spreadsheet if multiple members on your team are working on it.
    • Write different posts for each channel, keeping the audience of each platform in mind.
    • Twitter has a maximum of 140 characters, we suggest maxing at 120 so it’s easier to share. (Try writing the post in twitter to make sure it fits).
    • Share as much visual content as possible.
    • Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement.  HubSpot
    • Get involved with what’s trending or give credit to the companies you’re writing about by using the @mention to acknowledge them.
    • Change words that are industry relevant into #’s for more visibility on your content. #contentmarketing #socialmedia
    • Use bit.ly to shorten article URLs (so they take up less room in in the post) and gives the ability to track analytics.
  5. Posting: Decide if you will post in real time or use a scheduling platform.
    • Posting in real time is the best option, but who has time!?
    • These days social scheduling is common practice.
    • Hootsuite and Buffer are two scheduling platforms that allows you to manage multiple social platforms from one interface.
  6. Engagement: Engaging with your social media community can be even more important than pushing out content.
    • Check daily.
    • Respond to comments, thank for Retweets, favorite for favorite, etc. Bottom line- you must engage!
  7. Analytics: After you’ve created, posted and engaged it’s important to track engagement proving to your company why it’s a good idea for them to utilize Social Media. What should you track?
    • Comments
    • Likes
    • Favorites
    • New followers/connections
    • Retweets
    • Mentions
    • Pinned
    • Clicks
  8. Repeat!

 

Congrats! You have successfully become apart of the social media community!

excited dog

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Social Media + Engagement = Lead Generation

by channelmaven on September 25, 2014

We know you’ve heard it before: engaging, relevant content delivered through social media, generates leads. It’s not rocket science but it requires a solid social presence. The challenge of course for you, and literally every channel partner we know (and trust us, we know a lot!), comes down to execution. One of the biggest constraints you face is lack of resource. Time, people, expertise. There’s just never enough.

overwhelmed-woman-cartoon-small

Good news! As part of Channel Maven Consulting’s One-2-One Partner Support program we can help you develop your social marketing plan and execute on sales and marketing tactics to help reach your goals and drive leads.

In a recent One-2-One 90-Day Partner Engagement we helped an IT Channel Partner build their online presence and achieve the following growth:

    • 25% Increase in LinkedIn Follower
    • 63% Increase in Twitter Followers
    • 40% Increase in company website visits
    • 26% Increase in page views

Through short (30 minute) sales training sessions, covering: Improving Online Presence, Driving Demand, and Nurturing Leads with Social, as well as building a bank of weekly social posts across platforms, custom executive profile revisions, and the implementation of a blog plan, this partner experienced unprecedented growth.

Are you ready to take your social marketing to the next level? As your channel enablement and marketing partner we are here to help.

Business Graph, 3d rendered conceptual arrow chart.

 

“Prior to working with Channel Maven we had no formal social media structure or strategy.  After less than one quarter of working with them, we have a formalized blog schedule built around best practice recommendations by Channel Maven and have kept to our schedule with weekly posts that have been edited and formatted by them.  We now make regular posts and updates to both LinkedIn and Twitter and all of our employees have been trained on how to best build out their profiles, gain followers and use them to help create demand.  Social Media activity by our team members who have gone through Channel Maven’s training has all gone up and we have increased our number of followers on both our company Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.  The team at Channel Maven has been an extreme pleasure to work with. They are responsive, fun and bring a level of knowledge about social media that has taken our marketing efforts to the next level.” – Stephanie Torres, Sovereign Systems

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Twitter Newbie? – 10 Great Places to Find Your Followers

by channelmaven on September 18, 2014

Many feel the jury is still out on Twitter.  It can be an interesting social platform and when used correctly it can be an amazing tool for driving leads, engaging your audience, improving your website’s SEO and making connections. The key of course is: used correctly.

Twitter is a fire hose of information that never shuts off and is less personal than other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s a great place to get exposure for your content and distribute other people’s content to a wide range of audiences (aka followers). Some of these followers will be channel partners and vendors and some will become your follower simply because they find you interesting.

The-Growth-Of-Twitter-@raychno21-@designbysoap-Web-version2

Help! I’m being followed!

Those who follow you, do so for a number of reasons:

    • They want to do business with you
    • They want to work for you
    • They are interested in the topics you post about
    • You posted an article they thought was great and want to see what else you have to say
    • And more

Finding followers:

Follow people you have things in common with – there’s a common practice on Twitter: when you follow, they follow back. Like a hand shake at a networking event.

    1. Companies in your industry
    2. Companies that you support (other big tech companies or MSPs/VARs etc)
    3. Companies that support you (vendors you work with)
    4. Companies that support the channel (TheVarGuy, CompTIA, Channel Marketer Report)
    5. Places you like to get content from (Forbes, INC, CMO, HBR, ITWire)
    6. Places that hold your interests (hobbies)
    7. Charity initiatives you support
    8. Channel Chiefs and other movers and shakers in the channel
    9. “the” analysts – Gartner, SiriusDecisions, Forrester
    10. Your employees (they will help push out your content by retweeting)

Screenshot 2014-09-18 12.44.57

Followers you want most:

When you’re just starting out it can be a bit daunting to figure out how to find the folks you want to be connected to. Here are two types of followers you want to attract:

  • Those connected to The channel (relevant to your business)
  • Those who have a lot of followers (able to help spread your content farther netting more followers for you)

To get your Twitter engine humming, it will take some work, especially in the beginning. We suggest devoting at least 15-20 minutes each day to following other people and businesses, tweeting interesting articles and retweeting when something catches your eye.

Tip: While working on Twitter, notice the tweets that make you want to click them. Why? Because soon you’ll be writing your own tweets and knowing the secrets for how to write a good tweet will give you more traction faster.

Next time you’re at a channel event like CompTIA or Oracle Open World look for us at the Social Media Rally Station™. We’ll be the ones helping vendors and channel partners amp up the volume on social. Stop by and we’ll take your picture and analyze your social platforms for free!

Photo source: designbysoap

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Testimonials

“Our partners are more engaged and doing measurable demand generation…the marketing guidance that the Channel Maven team has provided our partners is priceless.” Read more>>
Tracy Staniland, Asigra

“Channel Maven recently developed and executed a flawless series of workshops for our Solution Providers…their expertise and experience in channels and social media are a great resource for both channel programs (vendors) and Solution Providers.” Read more>>
Barbara McFadden, AT&T

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Be The Vendor Your Partners Want To Work With
Be The Vendor Your Partners Want To Work With

In this short eBook, we share important points learned through advising and collaborating with some of the top vendors and manufacturers in the channel.

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Building Successful Channel Programs
Building Successful Channel Programs

In this short eBook, we talk about building a competitive channel program in today’s crowded environment.

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Are Your Solution Providers Engaging?
Are Your Solution Providers Engaging?

This complimentary eBook shows you how to better engage and enable your channel.

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Speaking Appearances

Microsoft World Partner Conference July 8th

Barron’s Top Advisory Teams Summit July 17th-19th

IPED Social Media in the Channel Workshop September 10th-11th

Oracle Open World – Social Media Rally Station September 22nd-25th