Partnerships can be a great way to grow your business.
The more I pay attention to businesses, all different types of businesses, the more I realize this to be true.
I really notice it on the local level.
For example, I play in a weekly golf league. Usually at the first hole they have the registration table and information to get things started. But they also usually have a drink of the week. It’s usually sponsored by some type of drink manufacturer promoting a drink that’s been around, but also new drinks.
To me, that’s an example of a partnership. Money doesn’t necessarily exchange hands, but both parties benefit. The golf course gets new unique drinks to keep golfers interested in coming to the course and the drink company gets exposure to a new audience.
It works in other settings as well.
For example, you’ll often see software companies partnering or agencies getting certified with certain software. Here is a recent example with Salesforce and something they’re doing with partners like Google.
The best partnerships, and the reason so many occur in the business world, is that it’s a win-win for both parties. Each party gains something from the situation like the golf and drink partnership.
Partnerships have been going on for a long time; probably as long as there have been businesses.
But today there is a unique aspect to it and that’s social media.
You might dabble in social media for your business. But one of the best ways to take things to the next level is with social media partnerships.
Here are ways you can do that:
1. Social Media Groups (Co-Create, Co-Manage)
The first way you can create social media partnerships is to create social media groups with someone else or with a group of people.
You can form a social media group around just about any common thread. And you can create them on a number of different platforms including LinkedIn and Facebook.
My favorites in the past have been ones where two people with interest in a certain industry have gotten together and brought in the experts and best people from that industry to contribute. Those contributions could be answering questions. They could be entire blog posts or articles within the group.
The founders can contribute content as well, but it also involves moderation.
You can even do this on your own social platform like two marketing experts, Rand Fishkin and Dharmesh Shah did with Inbound.org.
2. Co-Created Content Projects
Next up is co-creating content with someone else.
Neil Patel does this in the online marketing world with his guides. He partners with different experts to co-create guides on specific topics. The profile of each helps to make the content popular. Here is one example.
The status of the two people doesn’t need to be equal, but there usually needs to be some kind of equality to the project. So if one person has more status maybe it’ll be fair if the other person does more of the research and content creation.
You’re always looking for partnerships where both parties feel like they’re winning. You want each person to have incentive for the effort to be a success.
3. Hashtag Tweetups, Q&As Or Conversations
And you don’t have to get too crazy to form a partnership. It could be something simple like creating a hashtag, promoting it within your circles and partnering with someone you know and having a conversion or Q&A on Twitter at a certain time.
There is a football guy I follow called Aaron Nagler and he does this sometimes by himself where he’ll sit down at a bar with a drink and answer questions.
It doesn’t even need to have an official hashtag or something.
It’s great to do this on your own, but you can take it to the next level by partnering with someone. Get together and ask for questions and answer them.
It can get tricky if you’re still building your followers. But you could look to partner with someone that has a larger following. Have them start the conversation and you can be the partner that helps with the answers.
4. Referral Agreements
This one is simple too. It’s actually a win-win-win for you, the person you refer and the person asking for the service.
I have a blogging business and while we don’t provide social media management services we do have someone that refer. It’s not a formal partnership or anything, but when we get asked about social media management we send the referral over.
It’s always good to have people in your network that offer services that your customers ask for that you don’t provide. You can build some strong goodwill in the industry for doing this and that can lead to good referrals coming your way.
So it’s not really an “agreement”, but it’s a good practice and another form of partnerships.
And the reason social media is involved here is that you can meet people that offer various services on social media. I know I’ve met people or discovered them via Twitter and LinkedIn especially. You see people sharing articles. You see people with articles they’ve written that are shared by people you follow.
The more you use social media the more you start to discover people and it can lead to referral agreements.
This kind of fits in with a few of the others on the list, but it’s strong enough to stand on its own.
Webinars have become a popular medium for hosting educational events.
And the best ones I’ve seen are usually done as partnerships. A webinar will often have two or more hosts that put together a presentation on something and together they host the event. They do their presentation and there is usually a Q&A session where attendees get to ask questions.
Here is an example of a Salesforce webinar that had two guests.
6. Sharing Buddies
Pretty simple idea here. And it doesn’t have to be anything formal.
When you post an article it’s good to have some buddies that can help promote the article simply by sharing it with their audience. And when they publish something you can do the same.
There are different ways to do this and you can do it in any way you’re comfortable. There are no rules. You don’t have to share every article. You can share the ones you really like the best or things like that, but it’s a form of a partnership that benefits each person.
7. Guest Posting And Podcasting
Being a guest writer for a popular industry blog or being a guest on a podcast is a classic form of partnership.
As a guest, you get access to the audience the website has. And the website gets your content to share with that audience.
And hopefully the audience wins, but that’s up to your content being top notch.
So it’s really a win-win-win in this situation.
Business partnerships are nothing new, but social media offers new channels and new ways to form those partnerships. Hopefully the ideas here have given you a few ideas of your own that fit your specific situation. You don’t have to over-complicate things. And in fact, it can be good to stick with what’s simple. That usually makes it easier on you, your partner and the audience.