Self-Storage Operators: Are You Listening to Your Online Reputation?
By Kim Evered
The new prominence of Google Place Pages (maps), Google Reviews and social media has made controlling your online reputation more important—and more complex—than ever before. The number of people posting reviews on sites like Yelp, Citysearch and Google Places/Yahoo! Local (maps), expressing their customer (dis)satisfaction on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogging about products and services has soared.
This consumer-generated content generally ranks high on search engines, typically appearing on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). A positive review or post can be a boon for business. Conversely, a negative comment can adversely impact your self-storage business. The best course of action is to proactively manage your online reputation, a two-part process is outlined below.
While you may not have time to search review and social sites or read the blogs every day, you can and should monitor what's being said about your business online. Monitoring tools to get you started:
Google Alerts. Ask each of your managers and district managers sign up for Google Alerts. It’s free and easy to do. Simply choose keywords, such as your facility name, and you’ll receive an email every time your keywords appear in a Google news item, blog or article.
Expanded Google Alerts. Google also offers an expanded version, which is fee based. Basically, you receive more alerts for more names and keywords.
Software. There are several software programs you can purchase that offer a more extensive way to track what people are saying about you online. You can sign up for reputation management tools like Radian6 or Trackur. These software services are typically designed to connect you to your customers/prospects, track engagement and analyze, measure and manage the results.
2. Respond and Engage
Responding quickly and professionally to online comments regarding your self-storage business can make the difference between good PR and a PR nightmare. Reaching out to individual tenants on the websites where the conversation is taking place is the most effective response.
You should avoid being defensive, being overtly marketing or sales driven in your responses; these communication strategies tend to alienate the audience. Check out this article from Outspoken Media for more information on responding to negative reviews.
As online social interactions become more prevalent, reputation management should be an important component of your online presence. Follow the guidelines above to ensure your online reputation reflects your self-storage company’s message and values.
Kim Evered is a senior marketing manager for self-storage at G5, a provider of local marketing solutions. With more than five years of digital-marketing experience, Kim has a proven track record for helping self-storage properties get found online, generate more qualified leads, convert more leads into new customers, track marketing performance (including offline) and optimize marketing sources with the best return on investment.
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