So here’s your audience. What are you going to discuss with them? Social media is not about direct advertising, so you’re not going to tell them your discount on 10-by-10 units this week. Instead, why not share your experience of how you helped someone pack up his home, or assisted a new tenant after an unexpected death in the family? Perhaps you have a commercial customer who just started a business and you’ve watched it grow.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Share something interesting and relevant. Tell a story, sow the seed. What do you say when asked, “What is the weirdest thing you have stored at your facility?” This is interesting. (Mine is coffins. You get a very interesting reaction when they’re rolling down the corridor!)
- Provide useful, interesting and engaging information. Remember that everyone is busy, so keep it short—500 to 750 words is about the limit.
- Don’t expect the phone to ring off the hook. You’re building a relationship, and like any relationship, you have to work at it. It takes time, effort, consistency and commitment. People need to know, like and trust you before they will refer you.
- This should not be one-way traffic. Start to engage with other contributors in your LinkedIn groups. If people connect with you, like or comment on your contribution, then reply. Comment on other articles. Before you know it, you’ll create a relationship.
- Don’t just keep it online, either. Many local LinkedIn groups provide opportunities to attend networking events. Make sure you participate. You’ll be amazed how many people will have read your content, and putting a face to the name reinforces the relationship.
There are other online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that can also be used in conjunction with LinkedIn or independently to create a wider network. Each one is slightly different and requires variations to the strategy adopted; but if used in a cohesive way, they can create a loyal following and engage customers and referral groups. LinkedIn is only one way to use social media—a way of getting your name heard, so when someone has a problem, he knows where to turn to for the solution.
Jon Wyles is the founder of Smart Storage, a five-store business, and a self-storage consultant based in Vancouver, Canada. He assists owners of storage businesses in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States. To reach him, call 604.628.1749; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.simplystorageexpert.com.