As one of the fastest growing online communication platforms, Twitter can give self-storage operators a way to become known and trusted in their communities. It’s a free service that enables registered users to send “tweets,” text-based posts up to 140 characters to every one of the author’s followers.
There are already hundreds of self-storage operators on Twitter, but the vast majority are still sitting on the sidelines. For those currently using this social-media outlet or considering it, here are four simple guidelines to help you get the most business benefit from the time you invest.
Twitter falls into a category of online communication tools generally referred to as “social media.” The operative word here is social, and to be social, you have to be human. People connect with other people, and so you want your Twitter presence to have a human feel. Here are recommendations to help you accomplish this objective.
Your profile description should clearly indicate there’s a human at the controls. Your profile description and photograph are the first things people consider before choosing to follow you. The mantra “to be human” should flow through to your tweets.
When a potential follower sees your account, he’ll also look at what you tweet. Tweet about events in your community, yourself or your business, but keep self-promotion to a minimum. If all you ever broadcast is your current move-in special, people in your target market will ignore you. They don’t want to read ads on Twitter.
Small Talk Makes the World Go 'Round
Twitter and other social-media communication platforms have been criticized because users share too many details about day-to-day life. The criticism is merited in many cases, but that doesn't mean you should avoid sharing some of your activities.
If you think of Twitter as similar to a networking event or chamber mixer happening online, it becomes clear why this type of sharing is appropriate. Relax and just accept that small talk is OK, and it's just a corollary to the first recommendation to be human.
Listen to Your Target Audience
Most self-storage operators are missing the biggest benefit of Twitter because they’re not listening. You listen by following people in your target geography. By listening to your target customers, you’ll learn how the Twitter community works and how to fit in. Those who read your tweets will see you as “one of them,” rather than a clueless business to be ignored.
Listening also helps you find leads. Because most people are not currently shopping for storage, your tweets about move-in specials are likely to be irrelevant to the majority of people in your target market. However, if a Twitter user in your market is talking about moving, packing boxes or needs a moving truck, he may be in the small percent primed and ready to hear about your move-in specials. Twitter gives you the power to find him.
To find people talking about their need for storage or other related activities that may lead to the need for storage, you can use Twitter's advanced search tool, http://search.twitter.com/advanced. This allows you to search for keywords like “storage,” “moving” or “packing” and confine your search to a certain geography.