Self-Storage Embraces Social Networking
If you're a private person, the social-networking revolution taking the world by storm probably terrifies and/or disgusts you. Part of that reaction likely lies not in the media themselves but in the grossly viral way they have slinked into the nooks of our lives. In the course of a day, it is nigh impossible to avoid having a conversation, visiting a website or seeing an advertisement that doesn't scream, "Follow us on Twitter" or "Join us on Facebook."
Personally, I'm intimidated—and a little turned off. Technology does not frighten me, people do. Big Brother does. The destruction of privacy. The inability to keep separate a personal and professional life. There is no more boundary between work and play, or work and family, or family and friends, or any of the other compartments into which most of us like to separate our relationships. Now it all hangs out, like a giant jiggling beer gut.
OK. Let's pause here. I don't want to get hung up on the sociological implications of sites like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Linked In. Someone could write a dissertation on the potential long-term effects and evolution of these tools (and I'm sure many people will). They're here, and they're not likely going anywhere, so let's focus on how they're being used in the business of self-storage.
Here's what I'm seeing: The industry that has been notoriously lackadaisical and reticent about embracing technology is taking to social media like a duck to water. Why? I can only speculate, but my guess is that it's because social-networking sites are deceptively friendly. I say deceptively because they are as dangerous as they are seductive, and for many reasons. But let's face it: Even to a technophobe, Twitter and YouTube can be fun, easy and provide immediate gratification.
I attended a meeting this morning about using social networking in conjunction with corporate branding: if we should use it, how to use it, the intent of using it, the best way to manage it. Building community is going to emerge as possibly the most effective marketing strategy you have in the years ahead. As a facility owner/operator/manager, you are going to have to grapple with social media and how they relate to your business.
So ... This is a big conversation, and it will continue to unfold. For now, following are links to a few places where you can read and/or participate in conversations about using social sites in conjunction with self-storage. Let me know your thoughts. Are you Twittering? Are you on Facebook? Do you have a MySpace page or YouTube video? Share your experience in the blog. Big Brother is already watching, so give him something to watch!