How to Use Social Media to Strengthen Partnerships
So, your business is growing and thriving. As you grow, you want to make sure your partnerships with other business are growing and thriving too. Your blog managers are likely already conversing with others via email. You are exchanging blog posts and valuable content for each other’s readers, but that’s about it. How can you strengthen these partnerships between companies as a whole, in an efficient and effective way? You could spend more time emailing each other, or you could jump on the phone every once in a while. However, this doesn’t deepen the bond between your companies so much as it does between the individuals who are exchanging those emails and calls.
Enter social media. Social media allows you to build and strengthen real relationships by engaging in public conversations with the partners you love. So just how can you strengthen partnerships using social media? And how can you build new partnerships using the same model? Below, I’ll explain how to do so, using Twitter as an example.
Engage with current partners, not just customers
You’re likely already using Twitter to build relationships with current and potential customers, engaging in conversations with them, responding to their tweets, following new leads. Many of these practices can be applied to strengthening partnerships as well, so you should also be engaging with your partners via Twitter on a regular basis. To do so, you can retweet useful content that your partners post (that will be valuable to your followers as well!), reply to your partners’ tweets and acknowledge that you value their work. You can also give shout-outs to them to let them know you’re happy to be partners with them, that you believe in their mission, etc. And of course, since–hopefully–you actually do believe in all of these things, none of it is contrived, and in the process, you can deepen your relationships with your partners by reminding them about who you are.
Now, what about finding new partners? We can build upon the steps above, add a few more, and voila! You’ve got new, meaningful, business relationships.
Do your research and find new partners
Of course, the first step is to do your Twitter research and find potential companies to partner with. Followerwonk is a great tool for doing this, as it allows you to search Twitter bios for relevant keywords.
Once you’ve found a quality list (the key word here being ‘quality’ — no sense in reaching out to companies that you don’t think are a good fit), you should build up your relationship in the same way you would with your existing partners: retweet useful content of theirs and reply to their tweets, both things which will put you on their map. To take it to the next level, include this potential new partner in a weekly link roundup. This will let them know that you admire their work, and think that they could provide value to your community. You can also tweet directly at the companies you’ve included in the post to let them know you’ve featured them in your roundup.
Now that you’ve caught the attention of other business and built a bit of a relationship with your potential new partners, emailing them to ask them for guest posts for your blog (and vice versa!) is not totally out of the question. No cold-emailing involved. 🙂
Rachel is the Community Manager at Magoosh, running its popular newsletters and social media accounts, and using her community-building skills to keep the Magoosh user base happy, healthy, and growing. In her time at Magoosh, she built the student community from practically non-existent to nearly 10,000 Facebook likes and 3500 Twitter followers. You can find her on Twitter here.
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