Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vendors get their Social Media Score Card

There's this new trend called social media out there...maybe you've heard of it? Blogs, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn...what's that? Oh! It's been around for a while? You're kidding! To look at IT vendor's partner program involvement in it you'd think it didn't exist until last week.

Don't get me wrong, some vendors have been very involved in social media. Dell has had the Dell Channel Blog since May of 2008 and DellChannel on Twitter has over 500 followers.

While others are well behind. Cisco, a few short years ago was the partner program other vendors were trying to emulate yet they just launched their channel blog this week. Mazel Tov! It's a boy. Cisco does have a CiscoChannels account on Twitter with one, you heard me, one update. That's the equivalent of a "ding-dong-ditch" you get the person's attention, leave them with nothing, and make them annoyed they gave you the satisfaction of opening the door in the first place.**PLEASE SEE UPDATE BELOW

Don't even get me started on Symantec! No LinkedIn groups, their only Facebook groups are run by customers (one is called 'Symantec Sucks'), their blog is up, it hasn't been updated since October of 2008 which in Social Media time is like a decade. Better to have nothing, than to say "I'm putting this blog thing up because you wanted it but I think it's stupid so I'm not paying attention to it".

Others haven't yet jumped into the game. EMC Channel has no blog, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, nothing. Like I said, it's better to have nothing than to have something and not maintain it but maybe it's time to get their feet wet.

Microsoft gets a B+. Yes they're a massive ship that takes awhile to turn but at least they are making an effort. They have MSUSPartner on Twitter where they could do more meaningful updates but at least they're listening, they have a great fan page on Facebook with 914 fans, and their blog was updated in the past 2 weeks. Not frequently enough for my taste, but they've lapped Symantec many times over in this respect.

Why is any of this important? If your partners and customers are using social media how can you not? Companies need to at least be monitoring what's being said about them or they could be missing an opportunity to engage partners and customers. Here's an example of Motrin really pissing off some customers and recovering well. Think it's not for you because you're in B2B...you're wrong. Your customers/partners/end-users have even bigger mouths and bigger wallets to get the word out. If you're not involved in social media or at least monitoring it you're missing a huge opportunity and, dare I say, damaging the brand you've spent years and millions of dollars to build up.

Update: I stand corrected and what a perfect example of a company monitoring social media! Here is what Lang Tibbils, Public Relations and Communications Manager at Cisco had to say about their involvement in social media. As you can see Cisco has been highly involved in social media including early involvement in The Var Guy, internal social media, virtual partner conferences, and numerous executives on Twitter. An apology to Cisco. Perhaps it's worth another blog post - how can partners and press find these resourcse more easily as social media proliferates so quickly?


  1. Hi Heather - I am from a corporate telecoms vendor background and now working on my own. I have found social networking quite time consuming and it is absolutely a long-game. My previous experience and awareness on social media was to say the least limited...and I think this speaks volumes for the way major global vendors have been somewhat slow (on the whole) to adopt. I still see these same vendors taking very little interest, and in fact some have only recently taken to blogging. I'd be interested to hear if your experience concurs. Regards

  2. Hi Graham,

    Agreed that social media is very time consuming for those of us that don't have a fleet of people working for us but from a corporation's perspective this is a must do. I agree that some vendors are very slow to adopt but see my new post after hearing back from Symantec and Cisco.