The added value of social media in the hosting industry

It seems that the potential of social media in the hosting industry has not been fully recognized yet. If you look at Twitter, blog sites like WebHostingTalk (and let’s not forget Facebook/Google+), you will see that some of the big players in the industry don’t even have an account. On the other hand, the few that do spend resources on it are slowly taking it to the next level.

For LeaseWeb, or actually for me, it all started about a year ago when I was asked to get more involved with the @LeaseWeb Twitter account. My natural reaction was “sure, I’ll do it.” followed by “what’s a Twitter?”
Not long after that, I was tweeting day and night, anything from updates on tickets, sharing market approaches, pricing trends, filling in vacancies, getting some (really good) ideas for new features in our Customer Portal and my all-time favorites; tweets from satisfied customers.

Twitter is probably the best example for the progress of social media in our industry; the transparency forced open the door to a world of healthy conversations between service providers and customers of all shapes and colors. It’s a short journey from there to a direct increase in customer satisfaction and an indirect, yet visible, increase in revenue.

And yet, a lot of providers feel it’s too risky to be vulnerable in an open platform where customers can share their problems and their occasional dissatisfaction while their potential customers are reading every word. I actually felt the same in the beginning, but after tweeting for a while I learned that our customers are not new to this. They already know that there is no such thing as perfect. Problems will always occur and support will always be needed.

But now there’s a new factor to consider: On a scale of 1-5, how well was your incident handled? And that’s exactly where social media changed our mindset and forced us to grasp that it’s not about presenting a perfect image, it’s about being transparent with a high level of service, even when we failed to be flawless.

I quickly understood there’s a lot of potential in this game. We provide the platform for internet, while our customers are the backbone of the World Wide Web. Therefore, there is no better place to mingle and do business than online.

Another good example of social media is WebHostingTalk. It is one of those online places where you can find everyone, from high-bandwidth-pushing -customers and huge volume resellers all the way to the end users themselves. The forum is well maintained and professionalism is kept through a few simple rules; no direct sales, trolls are not welcome, don’t be too colorful and please, go easy on the icons.
It’s easy to get lost in all the interesting discussions within the different forums, but the main advantage it brings is valuable marketing intelligence when it comes to staying updated with all the ins and outs, or even showing off LeaseWeb’s in-depth knowledge or opinion on specific topics.
At the same time it’s also very easy to set notifications for keywords – it’s a good way to keep in touch with customers that have questions directed to LeaseWeb or other LeaseWeb customers.

All in all social media has had a profound impact on how we are able to present ourselves. We now write blogs about who we are and what we’re doing, share insights from our development guru’s over at LeaseWeb Labs and continuously give you our view about where the hosting industry is going. Because of these developments, we’ve recently identified that it’s the right time to bring some structure and allow our followers to decide what information they want to read from us. Taking another leap into the social media era, we recently opened some new Twitter pages:

  • @LeaseWeb_Sales: Allows you to be the first to know about LeaseWeb’s promotions, save on discounts and get updates about new available stock
  • @LeaseWeb_News: Where does LeaseWeb plan to expand next? What are the next products we are going to release? Which events is planning to LeaseWeb attend this year? – All you need to know on our news channel
  • @LeaseWeb_Status: Get notified real time with service updates wherever you are.
  • And of course, our Twitter HQ – @LeaseWeb – where we can tweet about whatever you’d like.

What do you think about the future of social media in the hosting industry? Tweet ^KR @LeaseWeb and let me know.

Kind regards,

Keren

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