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10-Second Marketing: Promoting Your Self-Storage Business With Snapchat


By Krista Diamond

Coming up with a marketing strategy for your self-storage business isn’t as simple as it used to be. After all, the industry has come a long way since the days of Yellow Pages and newspaper ads. The modern facility owner is expected to reach new customers through a growing number of channels, all of which are rapidly evolving. If you feel like you can’t keep up, it’s tempting to stick with what you know and dismiss new social media outlets as trends. Doing so, however, could cost you. Instead, why not grow your business by taking them seriously?

One of the most compelling—and confounding—new forms of social media is Snapchat, an app that allows users to share photos and videos that disappear after being viewed. Unlike the impermanent nature of its content, Snapchat has real staying power. Here’s how to wrap your head around it and use it as a tool to promote your storage operation.

What Is Snapchat?

Snapchat was launched in September 2011 as a mobile-photo and video-messaging app. It allows users to take photos or videos—called snaps—and send them to specific people or allow anyone to see them. Once someone opens a snap, they can view it for a maximum of 10 seconds, after which it’s deleted forever. Check out these statistics:

  • There are an estimated 150 million individuals who use Snapchat every day, which is about 10 million more than Twitter (Source: Bloomberg Technology)
  • Snapchat reaches 41 percent of 18 to 34 year olds in the United States every day, and that number is steadily climbing. (Source: Business Insider)
  • From February to June 2016, Snapchat’s user base grew by 35 percent while other social media outlets merely remained stable. (Source: “Fortune”)

If you’ve been wondering how to target the younger millennial market (think college students rather than young professionals), consider that more than half of new Snapchat users are under 25. If these figures have inspired you to take out your smartphone and start downloading the app, you’re going to need to know what to do once it’s installed.

How to Use It

If you’re only familiar with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Snapchat can feel overwhelming. This is partly because it’s less user-friendly than older forms of social media. Let’s go over the basics.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, the first thing you’ll want to do is pick a username. Choose carefully, as you won’t be able to change this without getting a new account. You’ll then choose a password and enter some basic information such as your e-mail, birthday and phone number. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll receive a verification code you’ll need to enter so the app knows you’re a human being and not a robot.

From there, you’ll be able to find friends based on your contacts who have Snapchat. When deciding who to connect with on the app, remember that you’re using it for business.

To attract followers, familiarize yourself with your snapcode. This might sound like a foreign concept, but it’s actually quite similar to something with which you’re already familiar: a barcode. To see what it looks like, go to the ghost icon at the top of the app screen.

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