We know we should use social media to promote our content and engage with our customers, but what about strategic partnerships?
In this episode of the award-winning Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Mark Traphagen explains why building strategic partnerships that can boost our brand and energize our content may be one of the best investments of our time on social media.
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Eric: Mark, you’ve been heavily involved in social media for many years now, but the field has recently been changing a lot. What are you doing differently these days because of that?
Mark: It’s certainly true there’s been a whole bunch of disruption in the past year. The field’s always like that, but more than I’ve ever seen before.
- Organic reach is at an all-time low. It’s been going down for years, but it’s almost nonexistent for some brands now.
- More restrictions on automation, especially Twitter, but all the networks are pulling back on how much we can do to automate.
- And privacy concerns, reducing targeting options, making it harder to do certain things that you used to always be able to do before.
I think it’s still important to keep the time-tested fundamentals going, things like promote your content—obviously– engage with your audience, the stuff you always hear. But you know, Eric, there’s another powerful use for social media that many overlook.
Eric: What’s that?
Mark: Using social media to build strategic partnerships to help spread your brand message.
Eric: What exactly do you mean by that?
Mark: A couple of things, Eric.
First of all, the strategic partnerships that we’re talking about here are noncompetitive resources with whom you can work cooperatively. So, these could be influencers, as we always say, but they don’t have to be.
It’s anyone with whom you can co-create things that are better than the sum of the parts, or it could be anyone who could provide you an opportunity to be seen by their audience.
Eric: Got you. Why is social media such a great place to find or foster these kinds of partnerships and how do you do it?
Mark: Don’t forget that social media is “social” media. We always think about that in terms of engaging with our customers or prospects. But the more personally active you are in social media, like, the more opportunities you have to discover potential partners.
It’s also a great place to nurture those real-world acquaintances that you’ve met at conferences, meetups, and other places, into relationships that can become partnerships. So, there are many ad hoc opportunities to be helpful or just social, in order to get on their radar screen.
Let me give you a personal example. You know Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo.
Mark: I spent years developing a relationship with him online through social media, and that led to me being able to get the opportunity to break the news of BuzzSumo’s groundbreaking study of the decline of social sharing over the last several years. That was such a great opportunity, and my article for Search Engine Journal went viral and actually helped them promote their study. So, it was a mutual, cooperative thing.
Eric: That’s awesome.
What are your key takeaways to help us build partnerships like that through social media?
Mark: I’d advise that in this year you switch more of your social media time and strategy to intentional partnership building. Keep doing those fundamentals but do more partnership building.
Keep an updated list of the strategic relationships that are most important to you and make sure they get regular attention, and remember you’ve got to give to get.