We all know how leveraging social media marketing can help drive awareness for you, your brand, your offering and your potential solutions that help your target customers solve their problems. Still, are your social media efforts getting you where you need to be? You can blog, podcast, use twitter, linked in, facebook and others all you want, but maybe someone that you already do business with is gaining much more traction with social media marketing than you are. Maybe, they are just better at it or maybe they are a higher profile brand that has a larger following...

We all have Partners that help support and supplement our business - channel partners, marketing partners, alliance partners, technology partners, supplier partners, vendor partners, design and graphics partners...you get the picture. Ever looked at what they are doing beyond the scope of your relationship with them from a social media perspective? It's not something that comes to mind that often, yet if you dig a little deeper in to your Partner relationships; you might find that a handful of them could very well have something that you may want to leverage.

Social media is a great for boostering your 'SEO' efforts and increasing your links, results and profile in Google. Maybe a supplier partner of yours has 10,000 followers on Twitter versus you who only has 74? Maybe, they have a blog that is read a lot more than yours is? Maybe they syndicate a podcast that has over 20,000 downloads weekly while you don't have a podcast at all? Even better - maybe they are looking to put something together on a topic that you are an expert in and need your help with it? Whatever it may be - you don't know until you ask and see what's available and it's an exercise worth looking in to. By affiliating yourself further and integrating your social media marketing efforts with your partners, you could very well expose your offering to new discreet audiences that would normally cost you much more to get in front of. As long as it's done tastefully and it's relevant and timely, then it can be quite compelling. For example - If Microsoft has a blog that discusses their Office products and you are a small business that uses their Office products to build solutions for your customers, it could make for a nice story or case study, so why not share it with a larger audience that is clued in to Microsoft and their blog?

Here are some tactical steps that you can take to uncover what your Partners are doing from a social media marketing perspective and how to leverage it:

1. Put a wish list together of social media assets that exist
2. Submit the list to your partners - have them 'tick off' what they use and how they use it and find out what their reach is (syndication/distribution) and who and where their viewers, listeners, readers are...
3. Determine how you can integrate in to what they are doing
4. Submit some creative concepts to them
5. Finalize with your Partner and plan dates/time-lines

Would be great to hear from some of you on how you have been able to leverage your Partners social media marketing efforts to create more awareness for your business!