By Tim Schlee
If social media marketing has become a necessity for any self-storage business, then so has Facebook marketing. With millions of users just a click away from your site, Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool. However, if you want to invest the time, energy and money into Facebook marketing, you need to do it the right way.
Facebook offers many options though which all kinds of marketing strategies can flourish, but it also has been flooded by so many businesses advertising their products that it’s easy to be drowned out by bigger, louder voices. Here's a brief rundown of some of the tools and strategies that will make your Facebook page a central hub of your self-storage facility’s marketing platform.
Brand Your Page
Let’s start with the most basic: Make sure you create a business page and not a personal profile. Facebook does not allow businesses to advertise through personal profiles. Hopefully, this seems obvious to you, but if you’re one of the millions of currently Facebook-less Americans, it might be advice worth hearing. You don’t want to penalize yourself right from the start by making such an easy mistake.
Once your page is created, it needs to be branded. A generic page is boring. No one wants to look at it, so no one will return, like it or listen to anything you have to say. Facebook allows a lot of flexibility with its pages. You can manipulate the tabs that already exist or create new ones better suited to your needs. Upload lots of pictures and add a particularly eye-catching image as your profile photo. A storage facility in particular will benefit from the image-addicted Facebook readership because you now have the opportunity to show all your visitors how wonderful your property is.
Another easy mistake to make is providing too little information. Fill out everything. And if you create new tabs, fill them with unique content. The more information you have on Facebook, the more personal you will seem to visitors.
Social media is useless without your participation. Post frequently with engaging photos, questions or other appropriate discussion topics (for example, current events). This will attract people to “like” your page, which in turn will introduce your brand to all the people who visit their profiles.
Facebook studies have shown its users are more likely to buy from brands in which they’re already engaged. The website can also be useful for finding other businesses. Networking with a local moving company, for example, could begin by simply liking their Facebook page.
Use Open Graph
This is a tool that allows you to control title tags, meta tags and other important information on your website to manage how it appears when shared on Facebook. Without manipulating any of the tags in Open Graph, you’ll probably have no picture next to your URL and possibly no content beyond the bare link.
Once you’ve used Open Graph, however, you can set a picture to appear beside any link that someone posts on Facebook and engineer a catchy meta description that helps draw and maintain the reader’s interest. A detailed description of how to use Open Graph is beyond the scope of this article, but there are resources available online.
While a polished main page, engaging discussions and refined use of tags are invaluable to maintaining and increasing your Facebook fan base, they won’t do much if you don’t have any fans in the beginning. This is where paid advertisements can become so important, although they can always be useful regardless of how large your fan base is already.
Facebook has a few different types of advertising. The first and most obvious is its paid ads that appear either on the sidebar or in a user’s news feed. There are also promoted posts that appear like any other post in a person’s news feed but can be “bumped” to the top and a wider population than your ordinary posts would reach. Sponsored stories, similar to promoted posts but used to “bump” actions rather than posts, are ending in April and so won’t be addressed in depth here.
These are generally cheaper than pay-per-click ads that you might place elsewhere, and they can reach a wide range of people. Facebook allows you to make various specifications for the target demographic—age, location, interests, etc., which determine the reach of your advertisement. This is a very useful tool because targeting more general audiences will cost more and can be a lot less effective. An ad designed to pique the interest of a student, for instance, will be a lot different from one targeting businesses in need of office storage.