HootSuite, a social media dashboard service, is set to launch its first partner program for solution providers.
The HootSuite Solution Partner Program was designed to help VARs help their customers' social media strategies while earning margins from 20 percent to 40 percent, said Matt Switzer, vice president of partnerships and corporate development.
The program is divided into offerings around HootSuite's two fee-based solutions, HootSuite Pro and HootSuite Enterprise. Pro is available from as little as $5 per month up to several hundred dollars a month and geared toward individuals and very small teams. Enterprise starts at $1,000 per month and is geared toward large corporations that could have large teams of social media-trained employees of up to 300 people.
HootSuite is hoping to attract VARs to sell both solutions but especially Enterprise to their midmarket and large clients, Switzer said. The company just surpassed the three million-user mark and wants to hit six million by the end of the year.
"It's all about HootSuite working better with partners. This drove our new program which speaks specifically to VARs and their needs," Switzer said.
With HootSuite Enterprise, VARs can help end users develop and analyze social media activity about the company, Switzer said.
The platform compiles all Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn messages and more about the company and provides tools to sift through the information to identify influential and important mentions that should be passed along or replied to, Switzer said.
It includes full workflow capabilities that allow proper messaging to be constructed and approved within a short period of time, he added.
"There's also analytics. How successful was the engagement? Who did it reach based upon the demographics and language? It's pretty robust stuff," Switzer said.
Forrester expects social software to become a $6.4 billion market by 2016, according to HootSuite, and as more companies increase budgets to include social media, VARS can play an important role, Switzer said.
VARs can earn between 20 percent and 40 percent margin, depending on volume, for each customer on a monthly recurring revenue stream, Switzer said. HootSuite provides training and other incentives to both VARs and end users as part of the partner program, Switzer said.
"We think there's a pretty compelling value proposition for bringing on an Enterprise customer," he said. "We have deeper training and there's more opportunities for VARs to add other services around it."
VARs need to apply online to become an Enterprise certified partner. HootSuite staff examines the applications and sets up phone calls for VARs to find out what they are trying to achieve around social media solutions, Switzer said.
"For our partners, there's a compelling value proposition for bringing on an Enterprise customer," he said. "We provide deep training as a building block for opportunities for VARs to add other services on top of our dashboard. On the Pro solution side, for example, we will provide a certification program based on HootSuite University." he said.
The partner program includes online quoting capabilities for VARs and HootSuite is developing its partner training program to include product positioning with in the social media landscape, sales training and other tools for VARs too, Switzer said.
"We look to be supportive. We realize it's a new space," he said. "We see social media growing up. There is a huge opportunity in social and we're best positioned to help VARs take advantage of it."