By Jon Wyles
Everyone is talking about it, everyone is doing it, and people say if you aren’t, you should be! I’m talking about LinkedIn, one of the fastest growing social-networking sites. But how do you make social media work for you as a self-storage operator?
LinkedIn and Self-Storage
Tricky … or is it? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are the talk of the town—the way businesses are (or should be) interacting with their audience. But how do you take advantage of social media when you’re selling a product and service people don’t always need?
People generally need self-storage when they have transition in their lives. They’re moving a home, moving abroad, moving in, moving out, going through a death or divorce, opening a new business, closing an old one, expanding, contracting, coming or going. These are your customers. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I really want to rent a self-storage unit today.” They have a problem, and renting additional space for a period of time will solve it.
One of the principal elements of your customers’ buying decision is convenience. This can cut down your target audience to people who are local. So how can you use social media to engage with people in your area who are in a state of transition? Social media is not about advertising; it’s about having a conversation and building relationships. It’s also about providing engaging content. Once we know who we want to have the conversation with, we can decide what’s interesting, helpful and engaging to that audience.
The transition your audience is going through will usually only be for a short period. It’s difficult to identify these individuals and be relevant to them at the right time (when they need your service). But think about those who speak to this audience all the time, such as realtors, funeral directors, lawyers, accountants, small-business advisory services, bank managers, removal companies, mortgage brokers, home stagers and the list goes on. Why don’t you start a conversation with these groups? This is where LinkedIn can help.
The power of LinkedIn is massive. It provides a commercial networking platform on a grand scale, with individuals and groups in just about every geographical and commercial area of interest. It allows you to connect directly with an individual and, in many cases, provides a forum through relevant LinkedIn groups in your area. If there isn’t a group, you can start one. It might not necessarily be about storage, but maybe about local business.