Technology vendors are beginning to increase their use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, with 45% now experimenting with social media in their partner communications, the study found. But 32% of those polled said they do not know how to effectively use these tools with their partners, Amazon Consulting said.
When it comes to solution providers, only 14% use social networks to find partners or foster partner-to-partner collaboration, the study found. However, 40% of solution providers use social media for customer acquisition and 28% use the technology to seek-out new employees, Amazon Consulting said. In total, 70% of solution providers use social media for some aspect of their business, the study determined.
Channel partners expect to expand or move into social media for marketing and partnership opportunities. In fact, 46% plan to market their solutions and services to customers; 27% plan to network with similar-minded people involved in the same markets, and 23% will look for complementary solution providers for potential partnerships, the survey found.
Neither solution providers nor IT vendors have many systems in place to measure social media's success or failure.
"More than half of solution providers (52%) don't track the revenue impact of using social media vehicles. And although many vendors are wading into the waters of social media to support specific product launches or major events, a sizeable percentage (32%) indicated they have a lack of understanding of how to use social media effectively with their partners, or they are lacking demonstrable ROI in their activities here to date," Amazon Consulting said.
Businesses across industries continue to grapple with the benefits and risks associated with social media. Regardless of vertical market or area of expertise, most small and midsize companies are using these technologies to promote their businesses, according to Daryl Willcox Publishing.