There is no doubt the explosion of social media in the last few years is a cultural phenomenon. We are confronted with it daily and, more often than not, social media are in the news, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Self-storage operators have two choices — ignore social media or embrace them.
Embracing social media is the preferable option as you cannot ignore their penetration into our own lives, and importantly, our customers’ and potential customers’ lives. We only have to walk down a busy city street and see how many people are immersed in the world inside their phone… What are they looking at, and what are they reading about?
Here are some very sobering statistics. Facebook has 15 million Australian users, YouTube has 14 million visitors, Instagram has five million active Australian users, LinkedIn 3.7 million active Australian users, and Twitter has 2.8 million active Australian users.
Facebook is a very powerful tool, and the 15 million users are actively checking posts and staying informed. This medium should not be ignored, and even if you don’t like to use Facebook, your customers do. There are plenty of social media outlets and 23 active social media platforms in Australia; you don’t need to be involved with all of them, but you should be using some.
Which ones do you pick to target potential self-storage customers? Facebook is the obvious choice with over 75% of the Australian population as members, and at any given time of the day, three million online. Facebook users are you and me, your brother, your daughter, your grandmother and your potential customer.
Let’s explore how to target these potential customers. Understanding social media is the first step in engaging with your customers. The
platform is designed to inform, socialise and engage with customers, and it’s very important not to mix up social posting on social media with your social media marketing or advertising. They are two distinctly different activities.
Posting and engaging
Most self-storage facilities have a Facebook page, and it’s important to resist the urge to start posting away about units that you have for rent. Unless you have 50,000 followers you should seriously resist trying to make sales on your Facebook page, as it will turn off customers quicker than they signed on. Your posts will generally go unread, and that’s because you do not have enough followers to make a difference. It’s very easy to become disillusioned with social media and claim that they don’t work. Posting something interesting is social media fodder. Make it interesting. Share on Facebook what you would share with friends and customers in a social environment. Keep your posts relevant, and you can post anything from local weather reports, to a fun photo about a bicycle requiring storage.
While Facebook was not originally designed for advertising purposes, it has become a very effective way to market businesses worldwide. The self storage industry can use Facebook to good effect. Success in Facebook marketing comes from understanding two things — your product offering and your target market.
Engaging advertisements can easily reach your potential market, and placing those targeted advertisements into the market segments that you wish to attract will deliver success, and it will deliver on the click through rate of your website. Targeted marketing messages can be very effective in driving traffic to your website and present your products to clients via a dedicated landing page. The real benefit of Facebook marketing is the ability to produce a variety of marketing messages, and targeting unique groups, depending on what product or service you’re advertising.
Other social media platforms
There are plenty of other social media platforms like Twitter, Yelp, BlogSpot, Pinterest, Google Plus and more, but they all have one thing in common: a very high percentage of their users are also Facebook users. LinkedIn is a business based platform which can attract business leads and used effectively to influence suppliers and customers. Twitter is particularly about the moment at hand — it’s like a revolving carousel of information. Posts quickly disappear, and it is excellent for communicating news, weather and industry or site updates.
Your online reputation is critical for selfstorage facilities, and for every other business really. Complainers are generally merciless — if you have an unhappy customer their potential to take to social media to vent their displeasure is very high. In a future article we will discuss how to deal with difficult negative comments on your social media pages. Do not bite back — you won’t win an online fight with aggrieved storers. The damage is done; stay professional with your replies and seek specialist guidance. Creating targeted advertisements and marketing material is a professional job and needs to be understood properly for it to be effective, not only from a budget perspective but from the type of material that is posted and the target market you’re seeking. Social media marketing requires specialist social media management skills. Social media marketing takes a lot of time, in-depth knowledge, and it takes time for
the results to deliver. Self-storage staff can be part of the process, by all means, but it would be very easy for social media activity to consume the entire day, and no owner will be happy with that!
To summarise, social media marketing is a very effective way to attract new selfstorage business, it’s cost effective and must be done in conjunction with the facility’s website to maximise the value of the marketing offer.
Next time you bump into that person with the head down in their telephone, you want them to be reading one of your sponsored advertisements, not posting a rant about your facility.
You must be logged in to comment.