|The Inside Scoop|
Vendors, Suppliers Invited to Self-Storage Talk; Promotion Is Policed
In a business such as self-storage, where operations are tightly connected to their suppliers, it's important for a place to exist where these parties can have ongoing conversations. That's why vendors or suppliers have always been welcome to join the ranks of Self-Storage Talk, the industry's largest online community and the official forum of Inside Self-Storage.
Having vendors as participants on the forum creates several benefits. When you've got a question about a product's features or capabilities, you're missing out if you don't get at least some input from a representative of the product, and SST is a great place to get it. If you run into problems with a particular product, the vendor is probably the most knowledgable and helpful person you could speak to. Similarly, if you're looking for a consultant or similar service-provider, remember that consultants established themselves by getting years of experience in the industry. Most of them truly are experts, and those who participate in the forum do a good job of posting valuable insights to many different kinds of questions—and it's completely free.
However, vendors' presence in a community dominated by managers, owners and developers creates a challenge: Vendors cannot promote or advertise in their posts. This axiom is codified in Rule No. 3 of the Site Rules, which lays out specific guidelines for vendor-posters. (For example, vendors are not allowed to post "calls to action" in their posts, which make them read like ad copy. They're also not allowed to deride competitors.) The moderator team does an excellent job of enforcing this rule, but unfortunately, some posts do slip by and stand live on the board for a while, even though they are violations. If this happens, any community member can and should report a post to one of the moderators via private message or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're a vendor, I encourage you to read and follow the Site Rules because, as any savvy customer will tell you, posting obnoxiously on the forum will not help your business; it will do quite the contrary. That said, don't be scared to join us and jump in. Since the site debuted in 2008, dozens of vendors have become excellent contributors to the site. They're part of the community, and no one holds their implicit end-goal of marketing their products and services against them.
Self-Storage Talk boasts more than 4,000 members, though you must become a registered member to join. Registration is free, for vendors and non-vendors alike, and can be done at http://www.selfstoragetalk.com/register.php.