I began this post to be more comprehensive but it started getting really long. This post will cover the main entrees into establishing a social media presence: Facebook & Twitter. Next week we’ll look at some important social media marketing etiquette tips as well as the lesser known social networks and how they can work for you, too.
This is a blog. We talk about self storage. We’re on the internet. We talk about self storage on the internet. If you’re reading this blog with an interest in our theories, tips and tricks about internet marketing for self storage facilities then you’re probably wondering about the mysterious entity that is now completely unescapable: social media. That is, it’s probably not actually that mysterious to you anymore since literally everyone and their mother are on facebook and that’s increasingly true of twitter as well. So what we’re really interested in is what social media means to self storage and how self storage owners and operators can use it to its full potential.
On the off chance that you’re not familiar, social media is a term that means different things to different people. But for our purposes we will use it to refer to the various social sharing, social news and social networking sites make up a huge percentage of internet traffic every day like facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. These sites have not only become integral to our social lives as a way to stay in touch with former classmates, friends across town and even our families. But these networks have also shown themselves to be important tools for advertisers and marketers. Since Storitz finds itself at the unique intersection of the self storage industry and internet marketing, we want to offer our readers some insight into how to best utilize these networks for your self storage operations.
Your first question might be if it’s really absolutely necessary that your self storage operation have a presence in social media and that’s understandable. Especially to people who did not grow up with these sites or even with online interaction at all, it might seems weird, forced and downright unnecessary to maintain a business presence on these sites. While of course this choice is ultimately up to you, maintaining robust social media profiles are important for a number of reasons. First, though google ultimately keeps the specifics of its search algorithms to itself, it is widely accepted that your business maintaining profiles on social media sites will improve your website’s search engine rankings which, as we’ve discussed, is of utmost importance to finding customers online.
Apart from taking advantage of social media as an SEO tool, it can also be an important tool for communicating with your customers. For instance, if you have a facebook page that your clients “like” you can provide them with important daily updates such as “We’ll be closing early” or “We’re having a sale on boxes.” This is much easier and more efficient than sending out individual notices and can be even more effective than posting signs or flyers at your facility since not all your customers will come by regularly.
Perhaps even more important than merely communicating with customers is actually responding to customer complaints quickly and effectively. If a customer has a twitter account, it will often be the first place they go to complain about a bad experience. Customer complaints are never a good thing, but if your company has a presence on twitter and is keeping track of the conversation about your brand, you can not only hear these complaints, but also respond them instantly. This kind of attentiveness to complaints can make a huge difference in how customers ultimately perceive your company and customer service. There are a number of social media tools that can make keep track of mentions of your company easier and you can find a list of them here at Mashable (which is another useful site in cultivating your social media presence).
We’ve now talked a little bit about facebook and twitter but it seems like a new social network launches every week. It doesn’t make sense for a self storage facility to spend time creating and maintaining accounts on every single social network out there, and these two are certainly the most important. Over 51% of Americans are on facebook so it can be an invaluable tool in reaching current and potential customers. As a self storage facility, it makes the most sense to create a “fan” page for either your company or facility by facility. As a fan page, you can encourage people to “like” your page to receive updates, storage tips or just because they like you! Then you can send messages to your followers, post relevant info to their feeds
and keep your page updated with photos of your facility, your staff or even puppies. People on the internet love pictures of puppies.
Though the penetration of twitter is much lower with less than 10% of Americans being active on Twitter, maintaining a presence there can put you a cut above other operators. You can follow self-storage news feeds, industry thought leaders (like @storitzdotcom !) and generally stay up to date on all the happenings in the industry and the world. While a twitter account isn’t nearly as essential as a facebook presence, it can certainly be a boon to your business.
Facebook and Twitter are the most important networks to be aware of but there are number of other networks that you may want to explore including, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Quora, and a passel of others which we will get into next week.
What did we miss? What else do you want to know about social media?