It might seem an unlikely pairing at first glance, but Vancouver-based social media giant HootSuite Media believes there’s a tremendous opportunity for VARs to expand their services into the social media realm.
The company, which does a wildly successful social media dashboard that allows individuals and enterprises to manage their social media presences across Twitter, Facebook and other popular services, has launched the HootSuite Solution Partner Program, its first ever channel partner program, and it’s looking to build community of solution providers around its offerings.
“[Social media] is the most engaging channel that VARs’ customers have had to reach their audiences, and we think social is an enormous opportunity for VARs,” said Matt Switzer, vice president of corporate development for HootSuite. “We want to position ourselves as the biggest opportunity for VARs looking to grow in social.”
The program actually covers two distinct offerings in HootSuite’s paid offerings:
- The Pro offering starts at $6 per month and ramps up to a few hundred dollars per month and is aimed towards individuals and small teams of social media users in an organization.
- The Enterprise offering starts at about $1,000 per month and is aimed at large corporations with social media teams of up to 300 people.
And as different as the pirce points are, the company’s model for solution providers is equally different between the two groups.
- On the Pro side, the company goes for more of a referral model, offering a flat 20 per cent on a recurring basis for as long as the customer remains with HootSuite.
- On the Enterprise side, the margins start at 20 per cent, but can ramp up to 40 per cent based on revenues and volume driven.
“That’s potentially a nice steady stream of revenues,” Switzer said.
The company has previously worked with social media and marketing agencies, but this is the first time it has expanded its partner focus to include IT solution providers. Ultimately, Switzer said, there is likely to be “some degree of convergence” between those two channels, as the two are likely to start together or perhaps compete on each other’s turfs of social media strategy and solutions integration, respectively.
HootSuite is still looking to define exactly what the ideal partner looks like, but for now Switzer said the company is looking to have conversations with any VAR themselves interested in expanding into social media, or whose customers are asking for help with social media.
Likewise, he said the company is still learning the types of value-add opportunities partners will be able to use to tack their own professional services to a HootSuite sale. “We’ve seen several different roles played [by VARs] but it’s still developing,” he said.
Ultimately, HootSuite believes social media is a $6 billion (U.S.) worldwide opportunity, and while the company has users in 50 countries, Switzer said the company is very focused on building its channel connections in its home and native land.
“There’s a huge opportunity in Canada,” he said. “It’s our home turf, we understand it really well, and we’re really excited to continue to grow the market, both locally here on the west coast, and really across Canada.”