It’s 2012, and by now we’ve been inundated with advice to get our businesses on social networks (guilty!). The case is compelling— social media is free, requires minimal time and effort, and offers the potential to gain increased visibility for your facility. But in practice, where does a storage operator get the most use out of his or her social channels? Today, we’re exploring how to use social networking not solely as a tool for attracting customers, but as a collaborative channel through which we can share and discuss ideas with our peers in the self-storage industry.
Direct results vs. New perspectives
As a business owner or manager, it’s natural and expected to reserve some skepticism for any efforts that don’t directly lead to more revenue. Obviously, peers in the industry are not looking to rent with each other or purchase packing supplies from a competing facility. So what benefits could social networking with industry peers provide?
To answer this question, think about your self-storage marketing efforts like completing a complicated puzzle. If you hit a rut, staring and rearranging won’t help. Sometimes, you just need someone else to provide another perspective in order to move forward. Similarly, if you find your marketing efforts are falling short of your goals, answers may lie in the ideas, experiences advice of industry peers. Accessing a wealth of knowledge-sharing and collaboration through social media can provide just the boost you need to get out of that marketing rut.
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few suggestions:
- The Storage Facilitator self-storage blog! Commenting on blog posts that interest you is a great way to give and receive creative feedback. Make a list of your favorite self-storage blogs (or even create your own, if you have the time) and read them every week. Regularly visiting just a few high-quality blogs, and developing a discussion with the writers and other readers, makes your facility more visible. You can include a link back to your website in the comment, which is positive for SEO.
- Self Storage Talk forums. Online forums are one of the oldest and most accessible social networking platforms on the web. SST comprises the largest group of industry experts anywhere, in a collaborative environment. Participate regularly to explore the latest issues in self-storage and learn how the experts are finding success.
- #StorChat. Twitter has become a major avenue for business-consumer interactivity, and it’s ideal for real-time, focused discussions. A friendly group of self-storage professionals has fostered a fun, nurturing environment for industry insider education through #StorChat, a weekly conversation on Twitter.
Hopefully, the information provided here will get you excited about social networking within the industry. Note this doesn’t have to work to the detriment of your consumer-facing efforts. When operating a social account for dual audiences, make sure you make it clear who each of your messages is directed toward. Posting an article on Facebook about a new door-polishing product may be exciting to industry insiders, but it can bore the heck out of any potential tenants. Target your posts to be visible to a specific audience (via Facebook friend groups, for example), and you will maximize the utility of your networking channels.