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Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the importance of maintaining robust social media profiles as part of your online marketing strategy. But the post got really long and I decided to break it in two. This post was supposed to go up last week. But it didn’t. And I’m sorry. But here it is now! Aren’t you psyched! I am!
One of the more important aspects of maintaining an active and productive social media presence that is often overlooked is (maintaining) a sense of etiquette. After all, the defining characteristic of all the social networks that we already mentioned and those that I will mention today, is that they represent their own communities. Someone that signs up for twitter and doesn’t follow anyone, unless they are already a celebrity in their own right, will not last very long or gain any influence. That is, these networks are about interacting. This is easy to do in a genuine way when you are using your personal social network accounts to interact with your friends or with people that share your interests but it can be more difficult when you are interacting with people as a brand. One easy way to be sure you stay genuine is to associate a name with your social media presence. For instance, if you get a query or complaint via twitter, it can be easy to say “Hi, @customer, this is Kevin – we’re sorry you’re experiencing problems. How can I help?” By attaching a name to your tweet, you immediately increase your chances of having a genuine and positive interaction with your customer or potential customer.
Another tip to consider is to maintain genuine, friendly interaction that isn’t only promotional and self-serving. This includes commenting or replying to the statuses of people you follow, without mentioning “check out my website” and not spamming new followers or friends with promotional messages. It’s also important to maintain a consistent voice throughout your social media profiles. While it’s wonderful to have many employees willing and able to participate in social media (who doesn’t want to go on facebook at work?) having guidelines in place for what is OK to post and what the tone voice of your brand are. Some companies accomplish this by requiring new employees to go through social media training before they are allowed to participate in the brand’s presence but if you are a smaller operation, a short list of guidelines and a brief style guide could suffice. The last thing to keep in mind is that, though the anonymity of the internet can make people harsher and more difficult than they would normally be, they are still your followers, your ambassadors and your customers. So treat them as you would any customer. Don’t engage with ‘trolls’ or let the anonymity get to you either. We’ve all heard about the PR disasters that have happened on twitter for brands like Kenneth Cole and even the Red Cross. Those tweets have long since been deleted, but the infamy lives on. So while it makes sense for a lot of brands to stay fun and friendly in keeping with their voice, it’s still important to keep a certain baseline of professionalism.
Now for the other social networks where you’ll find opportunities to build your brand and make connections to customers or other valuable professional resources.
LinkedIn has been getting a lot of attention lately due to its recent IPO. LinkedIn is a professional network that allows you to easily stay in touch with your professional contacts. This can be very valuable in maintaining relationships with vendors, other facilities, management companies and even self storage aggregating websites like Storitz. LinkedIn also allows you to create a business profile that can serve as a professional hub for all of your employees, potential employees or other contacts. Though you probably will not find it to be a deep well of customers, it can be invaluable professionally and being involved in this network is certainly a good idea.
One of our commenters, Daniel, pointed out a network I neglected to mention in the last post, which is YouTube. Though many of us (myself included) tend to lump this site into a “place to watch funny videos” category rather than a “social network” category, it is actually a very valuable tool to both connect to customers as well as to improve SEO rankings. When you post a video to YouTube, you can embed it in your own site, post it to your facebook, tweet about it, get comments, track likes, track views and generally create good buzz for your facility. We’ve talked about making videos for your facility before, but putting those videos on youtube isn’t only an easy way to get them on your site, but also a great way to maintain a youtube profile and presence in the eyes of your customers and in the eyes of google.
Quora is another site that’s generated a lot of buzz in the tech world. While it boils down to a Q & A site, there is a wealth of information to be had and it can be a valuable resource as well as a unique way to get in direct touch with professionals and thought leaders that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Once you have an account, you can ask questions and experts in that area will respond directly to you. You can also follow questions that others have asked if you are interested in their answers as well as put your own expertise to use by answering questions that you feel qualified to answer. This doesn’t have to be only questions about your business, but also anything that might be a passion, interest or hobby of yours into which you have a unique insight. The more you contribute to the community, the more connections you will make which can be valuable for your business in terms of professional relationships or even finding customers who may have questions about self storage that other facilities haven’t answered for them.
There are many more social networks and social sharing platforms that I haven’t mentioned which you may find valuable for your business, including Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, and many others. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list but merely a peek into the world of social networks and how something that you may already be enjoying for personal connections can benefit you and your self storage facility professionally as well.
- How to Establish and Maintain Your Self Storage Facility’s Social Media Profiles: Part I (storitz.com)
- LinkedIn, Social Media And Bubbles (twistimage.com)