Three Lessons Self-Storage Operators Can Learn From the 2012 Olympic Games and Social Media
By Amy Campbell
If there were any doubts about the impact of social media in today’s society, they were put to rest this week during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Social media was an unstoppable force during the first week of the Olympics, even being dubbed the first “social media” games.
While self-storage operators will never reach the scale of social-media interaction seen at the games, there are still three valuable lessons they can take away from this global event.
First, social media is here to stay. From the first day of practice and the opening ceremony a week ago, athletes posted personal videos, pictures and comments on their Facebook, Twitter and other social-media accounts. In addition, spectators from around the world cheered for their favorite athletes on social-media sites.
The stats were mind-boggling, with Facebook posting an 87 percent increase in traffic during the first two days, and YouTube traffic increasing by 40 percent on the first day of competition. Twitter had 9.6 million tweets during the opening ceremony alone, and two-thirds of U.S. athletes are actively engaging in social media during the games.
So lesson No. 1: If you’re not promoting your facility via social media, you need to start. A great place to begin is the newest on-demand webinar from ISS, “Social Media: The Self-Storage Operator’s Starter Guide.” Led by David Wolf of Linkmedia 360, the webinar provides an introduction to social media, steps to creating a social-media program, and strategies to ensure success. ISS also has dozens of articles, blogs and news items on the topic. You’ll find them here.
The second thing we can learn from the London Olympic Games: All social media is not necessarily good. Of course, with access to such immediate, worldwide information, there will be some bumps in the road. Swiss Olympic soccer player Michel Morganella was expelled from the Olympics after allegedly posting a racist and threatening tweet after the his team lost to South Korea. In addition, a U.K. teen was arrested and cited for harassment after posting malicious Twitter messages directed at British Olympic diver Tom Daley.
As we’ve all witnessed this past week, social media can be a wonderful way to connect, enabling fans and athletes to bridge the gap in communication and truly share the Olympic games on a more intimate level. However, it can also lead to information that’s hurtful, malicious, negative or even downright incorrect.
The self-storage industry is very much a customer-service based one. A facility’s reputation is on the line with every customer interaction. Enough negative feedback on social-media sites and a facility could potentially see its occupancy numbers dwindle. Of course, not all negative posts are warranted. You can provide a quality facility with great service and still not please everyone. If you’re faced with negative comments online, you can react, but you must do so in a particular manner. Read this article on the best ways to respond to negative online reviews.
The last lesson we can learn from the Olympic Games: You gotta have game plan. Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued blogging and Internet guidelines for participants and other accredited persons at the London 2012 Olympic Games, I’m sure it was unprepared for the force social media would become during the games. Halfway through—and now armed with more insight—the IOC is revamping its social-media policies for the next Olympics.
If you do plan to launch or even revamp your social-media marketing, sketch out a plan of attack first. This can include which social-media outlets you use, how often you post, what you’ll post, and even who in your organization will have access or oversee the facility’s social-media interactions.
A great resource for this is Linkmedia’s new whitepaper, "Social Media: The Self-Storage Operator's Starter Guide,” which self-storage operators can download free from the ISS website. Linkmedia manages online, print and mobile media programs for more than 100 clients in a wide range of industries, including self-storage. Most recently, the Linkmedia 360 team has developed social-media programs for self-storage operators to build their brand presence and grow their local base of followers and fans.
As more self-storage consumers continue to flock to the Internet to find, compare and reserve self-storage units, it’s imperative operators have a presence on these sites. Today, the Internet is much like the previous decade’s “drive-by” significance. Your facility need a presence to attract new customers.
Do you interact on social-media outlets? Share your comments by posting a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk.
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