As many self-storage operators know, Twitter is a fantastic social platform for businesses. The site makes it easy to find and interact with individuals and companies of interest, all over the world. For industries like self-storage, Twitter presents excellent opportunities to network with and learn from peers. So how do you make it happen? How do you grow your follower counts enough to be considered influential? How can you reach potential future tenants through Twitter? I intend to address these common questions in this two-part series.
Why are we doing this? Is it working?
The first thing to accept about social media marketing is that it’s virtually impossible to calculate return on investment from your efforts. So you can’t expect to reliably turn a profit as a direct result of Twitter. But with a solid investment of time and effort, you can expect to get your brand more widely recognized in the industry, and to earn the trust of potential future tenants. Because social media is still a new arm of marketing, there’s plenty of room for experimentation in figuring out your strategy. So think about your unique business— what sets it apart, who your target audience is, and what your goals are. Keep these factors in mind as you implement the best practices I’ve compiled here.
There are two clear metrics to watch that will indicate your effectiveness on Twitter: Follower count and number of mentions. For the most part, you can use the Twitter website to monitor these. If you’d like a more detailed breakdown of mentions and want to watch how your follower/following counts evolve over time, consider investing in a social media dashboard— I recommend Sprout Social for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. These metrics are tied to the basic goals of any good Twitter marketing effort: Boost the quantity and quality of followers, and keep your account as active and engaging as possible.
Tweet frequency and content
To keep things going and growing, start by making a point to tweet at least three times a day, announcing anything of note that is related to either your business or self-storage in general. It’s important to keep things somewhat focused and on-topic, so your followers know they can turn to you as an authority and resource. Switch up your tweet content— only some (not most) tweets should contain a marketing message. You might share useful self-storage tips for tenants, funny stories from around the office, or industry news items of interest. Be transparent about your business, and let your followers know what’s going on.
About half of your tweets should include an @reply, either initiating or responding to engagement. One of the most straightforward ways to get started is to set up a saved search to track every mention of your company (or any phrase you want to track, for that matter). Remember to put your search terms in quotation marks. Stay on top of your brand mentions, and respond to every single one in a public, engaging way. To help others find you, try to naturally use the phrase “self-storage” in your tweets as much as possible. Then, your tweets will pop up in any Twitter search for that general phrase.
You should reach out to anyone you admire on Twitter. Edit your following list so the tweets popping up in your feed every day are relevant and interesting to you. Then it’s a lot easier to find great tweets to respond to, and to get conversations started (hopefully with influencers, who automatically drive more followers your way when they reply back and get your username seen on their feeds. More about this next week.).
Don’t be afraid to reflect your personality on Twitter. You shouldn’t put forth a tone that is super stiff or professional, or one that is too casual. There is absolutely a gray area, and the most successful accounts are those that exude a friendly, personable, intelligent voice.
Try to be clear about who the audience is for certain tweets. Think about how odd it might look if you tweet:
“For all your moving needs, check out our 20% off sale on packing supplies!” …followed an hour later by:
“What has been working to drive more tenants lately?”
In self-storage, sometimes we tweet to our peers (other operators) and sometimes we tweet to our customers (consumer renters). It’s OK to stay in touch with both parties via the same account, but make it obvious who these tweets are directed to:
“Hey self-storage operators, what marketing techniques have been most effective lately to drive tenants your way?”
“Moving, or know someone who is? Check out our 20% off sale on packing supplies. We’re your one-stop-shop for moving and storage needs.”
When you’re directly reaching out to an individual or company, it’s easy to use an @reply to make that distinction. And some messages, such as company news updates or anecdotes, don’t require that you segment your audience.
Next week, I’ll be back on the self-storage blog to share techniques for Twitter outreach and growing your follower count. See you then!