A friend of mine approached me and asked how he could use social media to promote his web hosting business. He recognized its potential but wasn’t sure how to incorporate this into his marketing strategies or how it would fit into promoting his company to new customers.
This made me think a little and think more about the industry and how social media could work in building his business.
One of the most competitive niches on the internet today involves web hosting. It is saturated with competition, both local and international. Every company or individual looking to build a website needs website hosting but the nature of the internet means you can choose any company in the world for your this service.
How do you deal with countless numbers of competitors, each looking to one-up their competition to gain market share? How would you distinguish your business from the competition? How would you actively promote your products and your services when you have companies offering discounted windows web hosting instead of Linux hosting or offering unlimited bandwidth and storage?
Than answer is social media!
With millions of people, organizations and businesses occupying social real estate, web hosting companies wanting to succeed in their market must embrace social media. Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus are filled with potential customers. Successful promotion of your hosting company must embrace this new social movement
To better understand how social media can be of benefit think about the business/consumer relationship in my friend’s business.
Customers seek out reliable hosting solutions. Reliable service means happier customers. Happy customers talk to those in their social circle and tell them their happy with the service you’re providing.
In this niche, customers are more technical. They like to share their experiences on blogs, forums and major social networks. Positive experiences translate into testimonials. Testimonials improve a company’s reputation. A good reputation means more business. A good reputation translates into what we call social authority which in turn increases social influence.
This word of mouth is what is known as social advertising, which is basically free advertising for the hosting company.
The reverse is also true. Negative experiences cause a loss of reputation. When a web site owner has troubles with their web host they make it known. In a market that relies largely upon reputation this can be disastrous by lowering reputation.
By embracing social media, web hosting companies have a conduit to address issues and concerns of customers. Using a proactive approach on the social playing field will distinguish a poor web hosting company from a great one.
Now that you understand the implications of social media in the hosting world, how can it be used to promote a hosting business?
First and foremost, you must exist on the social playing field. You must not only monitor your reputation but actively promote your products and services.
Reaching out via Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus is obvious. However, blogs and forums allow you to directly engage the webhosting community. You can hear what customers are saying and address concerns and deal with complaints in a timely manner. More importantly, you can acknowledge positive feedback from customers.
Forums are more conversational. They allow you to show your expertise in the industry and speak from experience as well as provide suggestions to help others. You can establish yourself as an expert in the field and be seen as being trustworthy and credible in the hosting industry.
You can utilize blog comments to build relationships with industry leaders and build relationships with those you may influence market decisions.
By monitoring the Twitter stream you can learn what people and business are saying about you and your competition or discover opportunities to offer new promotions. It also allows you deliver your message directly to customers through their mobile devices.
Establishing a Facebook page puts you in touch with over 700 million users. How cool is that?
How does all these things play together?
Social media is no substitute for providing great service. That has to be the heart and soul of any hosting business. That has to be at the very foundation.
What this does provide however, is a way build relationships with potential customers and enhance those with existing ones. It shows a willingness to listen and address concerns openly and transparently. It shows a willingness to reach out and engage customers on their playing field. It shows you care about your business and your customers.
The trust and credibility gained through your social interactions is priceless.
How do you use social media to promote your web hosting business?