If you aren’t advertising your self-storage business on social media, you’re missing customers. Social media closes twice as many leads as outbound marketing, often at a fraction of the cost, according to HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform. E-business online guide eBizMBA further states that with more than 1.7 billion active users, Facebook is the most popular social platform. It attracts people of all age groups and income levels who use the site not only to connect with friends and family but to find products and services.
Best of all, Facebook is easy to use for business purposes. Setting up and maintaining a page is a cinch, as is analyzing the customers who find and engage with it. Here are five ways you can get on the path to marketing success on this social media platform.
1. Be There
Just the fact that you have a good-looking, useful, active page on Facebook will make your company stand out from the rest. It’ll also demonstrate your professionalism and pride in the services you offer to your community.
There’s an immense marketing impact on Facebook. The world is mobile now, and a phone or other favorite device is often the first place people look for products and services in their micro-moment of need. If you’ve built your Facebook business page correctly, it’ll come up in searches, targeted to people looking for storage in your area. Your contact information and a link to your website will be front and center, as will a description of your business and services, with appealing photos and content that convert casual lookers to leads.
As you gather “likes,” you’ll prove that you’re meeting customers’ needs. And Facebook makes it easy for fans to share your page with their own friends who might be moving to town, downsizing or going through some other life transition that calls for self-storage.
When you post appealing content on your page—events, tips, contests and news—visitors will interact with that, too. This could also entice Facebook to place your future content in their news feeds, reminding them you’re there to help when they need it. If that’s not enough, Facebook’s analytics tools will allow you to analyze your customers and their interests, offering insight about who tends to choose your business and why. All it takes at the most basic level is that initial page setup and a bit of care and feeding.
2. Power Up Your Page
When you first set up a Facebook business page, you’ll have a choice to make. Since self-storage decisions tend to be local, it’s likely you’ll want to choose the local-business option over the standard business page. This will allow you to enter an address so Facebook can geo-target your page to customers near you.
If your business has multiple locations, your simplest and best option is to create a customized page for each, with photos and content related to every location. Facebook does have a streamlined solution for big businesses with multiple locations, but there are pros and cons.
Here’s how it works: Once you request location access for your page via Facebook’s help site, you’re then allowed to create a parent page for your company with multiple “child” pages for its various locations. This makes it easier to keep branding and content consistent, but harder for local managers to update their own pages. It also makes it more difficult to analyze the performance and customers of specific locations. Add the fact that the content you publish on your main page won’t migrate automatically to the location pages, and the upside dwindles.
Whatever you choose, fill out the page forms thoroughly. Facebook makes it easy, requesting a description of your business, an inspiring cover photo, your contact info and website, and your physical address for geographic customer targeting as well as category tags that will ensure the page comes up in relevant searches.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- Make your cover photo pop. Put your facility front and center, photographed in good lighting. Be aware that on mobile, the sides of your long cover photo will be cropped.
- Mention other locations. Use your main description to tell what you offer, and then mention your other locations.
- Publish a few posts. Before you start inviting friends and contacts to like your page, create some content to bring it to life. See below for content ideas.
- Put the Facebook widget on your Web page. There’s an easy plugin that lets you embed your Facebook page on your website so visitors don’t have to leave the site to see or like it.
3. Keep the Content Coming
Regularly post to your page. Your posts will show up in your fans’ news feeds, keeping them loyal and engaged, and encourage them to share. Most important, though, fresh content shows newcomers you’re active, engaged and enthusiastic.
Try not to let a week go by without posting something new. Bear in mind that posts with photos attract two to three times more attention than posts without them. Here are some content ideas that will keep your site fresh and your visitors engaged:
- Contests: These build interactivity, which Facebook loves and rewards. The contest prize could be a free month’s rental or a discount.
- News and milestones: Have you added a facility or served your 10,000th customer? Let people know and include a photo. You could also remind folks about an existing product or service they might not know about.
- Local info and events: Show you’re part of the community and offer recommendations on local moving companies or other businesses. Consider sponsoring local events and raise awareness by creating a Facebook events page.
- Tips: List tips on moving, packing and organizing.
Finally, the platform makes it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t. You can use Facebook Insights to glean helpful feedback. It provides information about your page's performance, including demographic data about your audience and how people are responding to your posts.
4. Stay Engaged
Now that you have a strong Facebook presence, you can expect customers to engage. You need to do the same. Customers might use the message feature to ask questions directly. They’ll also post public comments on your page and individual posts. The negative ones are especially important to answer and possibly take offline to resolve. Here are a few pointers for handling complaints:
- Display empathy. People want to know they’re heard and have their feelings validated.
- Reply just twice. Most experts warn against replying more than twice in a back-and-forth exchange.
- Then go direct. It’s important to answer publicly, at least at first. This lets other customers know you care. But then it’s time to use Facebook’s personal-message feature and take the conversation offline.
5. Consider Paid Ads and Boosts
We’ve established that your customers are on Facebook. To reach more of them, consider paid advertising. Facebook allows you to target customers by age, interests, location, user behavior and more. It also has excellent tools for tracking clicks, conversions and success.
The social media platform has three main spots for ads. The traditional option is ad units in the right-hand column. The second is ads that look like organic Facebook posts and go in the news feed, which is pricier but gets more clicks. The third is the Facebook Audience Network or in-app advertising.
Keep these things in mind when considering paid ads:
- Target your ads. You can do this by country, state, ZIP code or even the area around your business. You can also target customers by what they do, such as shopping behavior or house-hunting.
- Be visual. Every ad should have an appealing image that fits the format and shows people exactly what they’ll get.
- Be relevant. The ad should fit the needs and interests of the target audience.
- Be valuable. Benefits are a must.
- Have a clear call to action. Viewers should know exactly what to do next, for example, “Click to learn more, receive a discount, schedule a tour, etc.”
Another option on Facebook is to “boost” your posts, which in effect turns them into ads. They appear in the same places as a normal ad, but with a boosted post, the creative is already done—it’s the post!
There are a number of other great options for paid ads on Facebook. Explore the advertising tools for more, or enlist the help of a digital-marketing company that specializes in effective online marketing.
Christine Munther is director of client success at G5, a digital-marketing provider in the real estate sector and a premier Google partner. She has four years of digital-marketing experience in the self-storage industry. For more information, call 800.554.1965; visit www.getg5.com.