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  1. Shaun McLane
    May 13, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    Say Wha????

    Darren, I tend to agree with most of the content you provide here, but this? Not a bit….and here’s why.

    A Page isn’t something you need to “Go back to.” By design, the Page now comes to YOU in your news feed. Once I get someone to “Like” our Page, it doesn’t matter if they ever visit the physical page again, because most of the content I provide on my page will filter out to their wall, and they’ll see it on their own terms. Lest anyone be confused, here’s a screenshot of a Page post hanging out in my news feed:
    https://skitch.com/ekday/r9gfr/facebook-1

    Now, if I “Like” or comment on the post in the picture, my 1082 friends stand a strong chance of seeing it also, and if any of them decide to comment, all of their friends get a chance to see it….and so on.

    I 100% agree that focus should NOT be taken away from creating strong, original, and interesting content for our own sites, but I couldn’t disagree more that we should sacrifice time from building our Facebook Pages to do that. The reach on Facebook is far too large to ignore.

    • Darren
      May 13, 2011 @ 8:32 am

      Hi Shaun,

      Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about ignoring Facebook, I am simply saying we are spending too much energy (me included) driving visitors to their site instead of our own. Here is my point, in your comment above, no where do you talk about the most important metric…new customers. It is great to have friends and to have things appear on people’s walls, but if they don’t convert, what’s value does it provide? Goodwill? Sure, branding, absolutely, but you are not paying your people with Facebook likes, they want cash, and the only way to get the cash register to ring is by convincing people that YOU are the best at what you in your area. Now, call me old-school, but that is something that I think you can only do on your own site where you control the message. Because I want to use sites like facebook and twitter to get people to come to my digital showroom, not have those sites be the destination, and I think that is what is bothering me the most.

      At the end of the day, if you focus on building your brand away from your site, you become what Brian Clark at Copyblogger calls a “digital sharecropper” by creating content for the man while you get crumbs. Maybe it is because I see so much of it everyday that I am becoming jaded, but having someone else control my business online is a slippery slope. In other words, what if I spend so much time and energy producing content strictly for Facebook and Facebook goes the way of MySpace of Friendster? Now you have all that content tied up in a platform that is dying instead of on your site where it continues to grow.

      I am sure I am rambling at this point, so I will shut up now! Thanks for commenting Shaun!

      • Shaun McLane
        May 13, 2011 @ 9:44 am

        “I want to use sites like facebook and twitter to get people to come to my digital showroom, not have those sites be the destination”

        Now it’s clear to me. I did not get that in the post.

        Skittles made quite the blunder by turning their entire website into a background image with their Twitter feed iframed in. Got tons of publicity, but everyone agreed it was a hugely-stupid idea.

        Here’s my take…My primary focus has always been on content for my site, and largely for the google juice. I market hyper-locally, so my site receives about 50-100 unique visitors per day. Compare that with my 800+ fans on my page, plus my 1000+ friends who see it when I post it on my wall, plus their thousands of friends, ad infinitum. Because of the reach, I’m finding I need to spend EQUAL time building my site and building my Facebook fan base. If you do nothing more than automate your RSS feed onto Twitter and Facebook, no one will be interested, and you’ll gain zero conversions. However, sharing quality, *unique* content on Facebook gets you noticed…and that’s all you need. I can say with 100% certainty that the majority of my friends on Facebook know what I do for a living, and that if they ever need pool service, I’ll be the first one they think of. That’s conversions.

        Now I’m rambling, and I think we’re almost saying the same thing. I try to make my facebook page a party. It’s very easy content (pics, vids, etc)… The real content is on my site. But whether or not someone visits my actual site, they know what I do through my efforts in SM, and the business is mine.

        • Darren
          May 13, 2011 @ 10:07 am

          “I market hyper-locally, so my site receives about 50-100 unique visitors per day”

          That is a solid number for a very localized business, and you are obviously pretty savvy when it comes to promoting your business online, so you are doing it right, but if you gave me the keys to your business, I would do two things:

          1. Focus on how to convert more of those 50-100 into customers
          2. How to grow that 50-100 into 100-200…then 300-500

          Now, Twitter on the other hand I think is great because I get to direct where I want people to go. Maybe it is a post of mine, maybe I found something on inc.com, maybe I read something on Tess’ site that I liked and thought it may help you. Twitter is the opposite of Facebook in the push/pull marketing equation.

  2. Tess Wittler
    May 13, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    I think there is a balance that needs to be achieved. Sure, you want your business to be on Facebook, but how many times does your business actually register with a consumer on Facebook versus how many times it is glossed over. I agree that too many contractors are putting too much emphasis/energy on Facebook and not on their website – which should be the “hub” of their entire social media strategy.

    Good conversation Darren and Shaun!

    • Darren
      May 13, 2011 @ 10:08 am

      Tess you nailed it…your site should be the hub or center of your online universe. Too many companies are allowing their brand to be watered down by focusing on Facebook first.

  3. Shaun McLane
    May 13, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    Tess – Nice site…amazing “product.” I imagine you stay busy these days.

    Darren and Tess – We all agree that our own website is the “Hub.” But looking through our websites, I notice most of our posts have almost no comments….read: no conversation.

    Now take a guy like Christian Spoerl with Magic Pool Services who has some time to devote to his Facebook page, and you’ll see TONS of comments…read: great conversation.

    I run about 30 pages on Facebook. My largest page is the work I do for the Howard Stern show. We have over 16k fans, and anytime I post something, it gets close to 100 comments within minutes. Why? Because once a few people “Like” or comment, Facebook deems it interesting, and everyone else starts seeing it. That’s what you should strive for on every facebook page.

    Again, I don’t think Facebook should be the focus of any marketing campaign, but I also don’t think it should be down-played…especially for people in the industry who haven’t found this site, and don’t know how to start a website. 😉

    The pools are calling my name. Have a great day!

    • Darren
      May 13, 2011 @ 10:30 am

      You too Shaun, we’ll pick this up later! I think when push comes to shove, my bias might be because I like using Twitter better than FB.

  4. Shaun McLane
    May 13, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    Haha! Can’t fault you there. I enjoy Twitter over Facebook as well, but Facebook is driving me almost a quarter of my business. Can’t let that go.

    I use Twitter completely different than most in our industry. I have about 40 searches set up looking for anyone needing new pool equipment. If I see, “Crap, I need a new pool filter,” or, “My cleaner stopped working today. WTF?” I’m all over them. Can’t tell you how incredibly successful we’ve been using that method.

    I could keep talking about this stuff all day. I really do need to hit the road. lol

    • Darren
      May 13, 2011 @ 10:46 am

      And that is exactly how Twitter should be used, so good job. Now go get’em!

  5. Darren
    May 13, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    In a touch of irony, there are no FB “likes” of this post….(rubbing chin)

  6. Chris Spoerl
    May 13, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    When I first took the dive ( pun intended , I work on swimming pools for a living ) into social media, Shaun told me that I was doing it the wrong way.

    He explained on very simple terms on what I needed to do to improve, so I went back to the drawing board and got better.

    Darren told me my emphasis should not be on Facebook, but driving visitors and traffic to our website.

    Darren coached me on some simple improvements, and we went back to the drawing board and worked on our site.

    Here is my take.

    The ” Don’t make me think” generation is about to come to fruition.

    People are going to “find” stuff on Facebook, and may purchase goods or services they would have never found through traditional advertising.

    People are going to search on Google ” pool cleaners Lake Nona ” and Shaun will show up.

    This is why having a foothold on Facebook and Google is important.
    You are essentially owning ” Park Place” and “Boardwalk” in virtual real estate game for the next generation.

    I think having a strong social media presence, and website will help brand your company to produce phone calls which translates into new business.

    Rambling, but good points everyone.

    • Darren
      May 13, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

      It really does come down to “Don’t make me think” when trying to convert visitors into clients or customers.

    • Chris
      May 15, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

      Christian, great analogy!
      Darren, great post, the comments/conversation that followed even more thought provoking.

      • Darren
        May 15, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

        Thanks Chris for stopping by and commenting!

        -Darren

  7. Peter
    June 14, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

    I stumbled upon this post after Googling “Contractors using Facebook Well”. Here’s why I was searching. We recently started using Facebook as a company, and hired someone to spread the word both through advertising, commenting and posting. The more I learn about Facebook, the more I think it could be a beautiful thing – having your updates show up in all your followers feed. However, 1200+ “likes” later Facebook has yet to amount to any business for us or even a single lead. I still think there’s massive potential with Facebook, but in my exploration, I’ve yet to find a contractor bragging about much success. Our website has and will continue to be the focus of our online presence, at least for the foreseeable future.

  8. Shaun McLane
    June 14, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

    Darren,
    You beat me too it. Keywords jumped out immediately.

    Peter,
    Keyword stuffing will kill your rankings! Follow Darren’s advice on this topic – ASAP!
    Also, in regards to Facebook, try asking for business. You actually do a great job on there, and the contest was a nice idea, but no one will un-like you for doing a small sales pitch 1 out of 10 posts. Maybe point out a problem people have, and explain how you fix it.

    • Peter
      June 15, 2011 @ 11:19 am

      Good thoughts on Facebook. We’re learning as we go. I’m following both of you now, so I’ll see if any of your ideas jump out at me. Have you ever considered doing a lead capture form right in Facebook? We have one, but have yet to get a lead from it.

      RE: keywords on the home page. Is it considered keyword stuffing if it’s just a list of towns we service? Currently we have “Roofing Town” for every town we service, but if we take away the “Roofing” then it would be just a list of towns and I don’t know how the bots could count it as keyword stuffing since all the words will be different.

      Does my question make sense?

      • Darren
        June 15, 2011 @ 11:31 am

        Hi Peter…your question does make sense, and it is keyword stuffing. Here ya go: From SEO.com: Keyword stuffing doesn’t work because when the search engine crawler examines your site, its algorithm can quickly determine if keywords are used an unreasonable number of times. If your site contains an unnaturally high density of one single keyword, your site will actually drop in the rankings rather than rise. In severe cases, your site could be removed from the search engine index completely.

        I know it is laborious, but just make “keyword+location” based pages.

        • Peter
          June 15, 2011 @ 11:34 am

          Good point. Thanks.

  9. Peter
    June 14, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

    Thanks for the advice. Although it’s hard to tell if we’ve been penalized or not, we actually do both strategies. We’ve added and are continuing to work on keyword rich pages for each of our services and in each of the towns we service. These pages seam to rank well. For example: Google “roofers in Metrowest MA” and this page usually comes up #1: http://www.unitedhomeexperts.com/roofing-contractors-metrowest-mass/

    Now as I said it’s hard to tell if the list at the bottom of our home page is hurting us. I guess I could try removing it for a period to see if our rankings increase.

    Do you, or anyone reading have examples for where this made a dramatic difference of rankings?

    • Darren
      June 14, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

      That’s exactly how you should be doing it. Remember, Google ranks pages, not sites.