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Dynamics ISV Builds Community Engagement Through Social

In the Microsoft Dynamics community, Jon Rivers has built his position as an industry influencer through a consistent presence in social media.

As the channel partner manager for Data Masons, a Dynamics-certified ISV, Rivers believes the key to using social media effectively is to focus on the interests of the community that your business serves. 

"The key is to elevate the community that supports your industry," Rivers said. "I focus on the Dynamics ERP products because that is the ecosystem we serve. Yes, the end game is to build awareness for Data Masons, but the community needs have to come first."

Multiple Channels Build Virtual Community
Getting started with social media through LinkedIn, Rivers has built his network to 9,500 contacts -- all somehow associated with the Dynamics ecosystem. He stays active both posting and moderating groups and keeps his profile up to date. As a result, LinkedIn consistently lands in the top five sources of traffic to the Data Masons Web site.

Expanding his activities to Twitter a couple of years ago, Rivers maintains a consistent presence in the Microsoft partner community. Working in concert with Microsoft social media teams, Rivers helps drive the volume of Tweets that trend during events like Convergence and Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). Calling attention to relevant blog posts, publicizing community events and promoting resources, Rivers continuously contributes to the Dynamics Twitter conversation.

Rivers sees the crossover from virtual to in-person networking as vitally important to the success of his efforts. "It's very important to back up what I do in social media with the personal approach," Rivers said. "I attend as many events in person as possible to continue to build that trust."

Active in the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) and the Dynamics User Group communities, Rivers' social presence fosters "warm" introductions for the in-person events.  

Making Social Work
For most people, Rivers' level of commitment to social networking seems daunting. He spends about 20 minutes early in the day reviewing RSS blog feeds to find content that he believes will benefit the community. Throughout the day he monitors pertinent Twitter hashtags and keywords with TweetDeck

"It becomes second nature," Rivers said.

Rivers cautions those partners who think that they need to hire a fresh-out-of-college employee to manage their social media program. "It's not the social media that is the issue, it's the content. Anyone can learn to do social media," Rivers noted. "Work on your content and then get trained on using social."    

After years of being asked the inevitable question about measuring the ROI of social media, Rivers now responds with, "What is the ROI of not being involved? What are you losing by not participating in social media?" For Data Masons, the end game is to generate business by building awareness and trust in the organization.

As Rivers demonstrates, one person can make a significant impact on a community through social media. You're unlikely to meet anyone in the Microsoft Dynamics community who doesn't recognize the names of Jon Rivers and Data Masons. His influence and commitment to the ecosystem is recognized by Microsoft, partners and users. That's social done right. 

How are you using social media to build your business? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 02, 2014