Odds are that you’re doing something dreadfully wrong with your Facebook presence. Hosting companies compete in an increasingly commoditized space– there’s pricing pressure on a similar product offering with undifferentiated marketing. PPC is expensive, yet many hosting companies are reliant upon Google AdWords for traffic.
Enter Facebook– not just a place for teenagers to socialize and post drunken photos, but a serious place to do business and target other businesses. Here’s our top 7 Facebook optimization tips:
- Having a Facebook fan page is not enough— if you don’t drive traffic to it via ads and tie it in with your regular website, there’s no point. Did you know that when using Facebook’s ad platform, you can target by job title and company name? Now you can fine tune your message by industry and profession– and the conversion rates are MUCH better this way.
- Treat your Facebook page like a support center— You staff up for folks to answer the phone, so make sure you’re “open” on Facebook to answer the same inquiries about how they have a question about which type of dedicated server they need, how to choose a domain name, or whatever. Thus, allow posts by not just your page, but also others to show– this is not the default option. And when you change it, you allow your fans’ comments to show up, which is absolutely key to viral growth.
- Use the Facebook Fan Box— You may have heard me speak at HostingCon about landing page optimization or other topics. Beyond just testing images, headlines, offers, button color, and such– you can go straight to the root of why people convert– because of the trust generated from their friends using your web hosting company. The Facebook Fan Box is a widget you can paste in, showing how many people are fans of your page, including how many of their friends are. Of course, you need to increase this number before putting in the fan box.
- Choose your username— Yes, you can choose a vanity url– just go to facebook.com/username. You’ll need to get at least 25 fans first, otherwise the option is grayed out for you. For example, see my Facebook profile .
- Make sure it’s a Facebook fan page, not a profile— People have profiles, while businesses have pages. By having a page, you can advertise, install applications, and promote yourself in ways that aren’t possible in other forms. Groups are outdated, too– once you go over 5,000 members in your group, you can’t message people anymore. From a SEO standpoint, Facebook has clearly said to use fan pages, as that’s where link juice is being funneled.
- Focus on people, not servers— Most hosting companies are not able to separate out what they actually do versus how they should be marketed. I like to give the example of how Nike sells “authentic athletic performance” as opposed to “the finest quality rubber, plastic, and leather sewn together by low wage workers you can buy”. Thus, on your Facebook page, focus on customer testimonials– lots of them. Don’t just say you have great service– show it by allowing people to chime in.
- Manage your reputation— Of course, if your service does suck, then Facebook is only going to magnify that. So Facebook marketing doesn’t work for companies that don’t actually provide a great service and take care of your customers. Encourage happy customers to give you a positive review or even provide an incentive for prospective customers to sign up via Facebook. For example, you can have a coupon code “FACEBOOK” that gives them 2 months of free hosting if they sign up and post it to their wall. Now your marketing is trackable and viral.
Dennis Yu is CEO of BlitzLocal, a boutique firm specializing in Facebook marketing. He is an international speaker and author, having presented at HostingCon, SMX East, SMX West, Affiliate Summit, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, and others. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.