By Sasha Fritzel
In this technological age, social media initiatives can make up a large part of a self-storage operation's marketing strategy. Businesses are expected to maintain pages on all the popular platforms, and customers have grown to expect the transparency and consistency in communication that social media allows.
One medium that has gained a following for marketing is the professional networking website LinkedIn. Growing exponentially, LinkedIn is ranked third for social media in terms of unique monthly users, according to eBusiness Knowledgebase, a website that offers online marketing and analytics. The outlet claims to have more than 250 million members. Once used only for jobseekers, LinkedIn has made consistent improvements to its features. The end result is a sleek, modern interface that lends itself well to all types of marketing.
Interacting With Customers
Much like Facebook, LinkedIn gives self-storage businesses the option to create a page members can find in search results, view and follow. Fan engagement is also similar to Facebook in that followers are able to like updates as well as comment and share.
LinkedIn offers an additional feature unique to its platform, which is the ability to view employees on a business page as well as job listings and company-culture information. This feature ensures your self-storage page is not only reaching customers but potential employees and business partners.
Using LinkedIn Pages
Engagement is key on LinkedIn. To reach the most customers, curating and creating sharable and interesting content is vital. Customers will be drawn to your page if they find your content interesting, so offer relatable, topical material. For example, self-storage operators can include tips for storing and preserving specialty items, organization, and household chores. The idea is to mix business promotions with useful and educational content so the page doesnt appear too sales-oriented.
How often you engage is equally as important as the content you post. Companies that consider social media to be an essential component of marketing are more likely to update on a regular basis, which will lead to richer customer engagement. The website recently released its 10 Best LinkedIn Company Pages for 2013. The No. 1 pick was software company Adobe Systems Inc., which consistently updates its page multiple times per day.
In addition to company pages, LinkedIn offers a secondary page feature called showcase pages. These allow a company to highlight particular brands or product offerings separate from the company main page. Showcase pages are helpful for self-storage companies with multiple locations, as the brand page can be maintained separately, and each location can have a page of its own. They function very similarly to company pages, giving followers the ability to like, share and comment on content.
Meeting Occupancy Goals
For self-storage owners and managers, meeting or exceeding occupancy goals is a critical part of the business. The more storage units occupied, the better, and social media content should always be a part of the marketing mix to help achieve these goals.
LinkedIn is an ideal platform to advertise specials or promotions, either company-wide or just for specific locations. The audience will typically be comprised of professionals, so gearing content to that demographic will further boost occupancy. For example, college students looking for their first internship will likely be on LinkedIn, so lure them in with a summer storage special.
Apart from generating new customers, it can also be a great place to network with industry groups and potential partners. There are industry groups available to discuss potential marketing initiatives, networking groups to reach complimentary businesses (such as moving companies), and recruiting tools to locate and contact new talent.
If your business is having trouble reaching its core customer base, LinkedIn has a feature called Sponsored Updates. Theres a fee, but these updates could potentially deliver scores of new followers that could turn into customers. Think of them as advertising, except its on a social media platform instead of a newspaper ad.
LinkedIn allows the business to set a budget and target specific demographics based on geographical area, age, gender and occupation. This is a great tool if your goal is to finally zero in on the upper-level executives crowd near your Phoenix location, or perhaps the young professionals in Des Moines, Iowa. The options for targeting are seemingly endless. With the right budget, you can reach any of the 250 million members currently using LinkedIn.
Contributing to Branding Goals
Social media has become an essential tool for marketers to drive traffic to websites, increase revenue and strengthen branding. With so many components to a companys online presence, consistency and quality are key in ensuring your brand doesnt get lost in the shuffle. Social media makes this easier by giving companies a platform to introduce new brand initiatives to customers on a regular basis.
LinkedIn in particular has become a key resource for branding because of its professional image. It presents itself as the more buttoned-up social media in the pack, and it has the content to match. Because the websites focus is on companies through-and-through, brand-specific content doesnt seem out of place as it sometimes can on Facebook or Pinterest.
Leads generated by LinkedIn are more likely to be authentic and meaningful. The numbers are powerful43 percent of marketers have found a customer on LinkedIn, according to the website. The audience may be smaller than other social media, but its mightier! Introducing this audience to your brand is a crucial step in the marketing process. They are power players and will be advocates for your message.
While the power of social media is being touted by self-storage professionals everywhere, LinkedIn is consistently being overlooked because of its reputation as a website for jobseekers. However, it continues to add features that benefit businesses and the number of users keeps growing. The best time to start using this social medium was yesterday, so get ahead of the crowd and include it as part of your social-media marketing strategy.
Sasha Fritzel has been writing and creating all her life. After graduating from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas School, she decided she might as well make a living at it. She found her dream job at Go Local Interactive as a marketing coordinator and assists the team with any and all things marketing. The company helps businesses acquire new customers through results-based online marketing solutions.