By Debbie Lamb
According to the Pew Research Center's Pew Internet & American Life Project, as of May 2013, 72 percent of online U.S. adults use social media networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. The predominant users of social media are between 18 and 29 years old but, most recently, the 50-to-64 age group has increased to 43 percent.
One of the sites with a huge user base is Pinterest. This relatively new social media platform, launched in 2010, has exploded in usage over the past few years and now has more than 70 million users, 80 percent of which are women. There are also more than 500,000 business accounts on the site, including self-storage companies Extra Space Storage Inc., ezStorage, Manhattan Mini Storage and Uncle Bobs Self Storage. This article explores what Pinterest has to offer self-storage operators, and how to make the most of pins.
What Is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social network where a user can share and discover new interests by posting images and videos. Or as the social media site describes itself: Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love. A pin is an image or video you add to the website. Pinning is the act of visually sharing content. Repinning is sharing another persons or companys content.
Your pins are put on boards, which are usually focused around a central theme. You can follow company pages as well as individual boards. Following another persons page or board is the major form of engagement on Pinterest. On average, Pinterest buyers spend more money on items than those from any of the five big social media sites, according to a 2012 report from comScore Inc., which provides analytics for digital-based products.
How Do You Use It?
Setting up a business account on Pinterest is simple. A setup wizard on the site will walk you through the steps. Once your business page is up, you can start adding photos of your self-storage facility, other interesting photos or even storage tips.
To promote your new Pinterest page, share the URL with your social media fans and followers. Add pin it buttons on your website and the Pinterest icon to your e-mail signature, newsletters and other marketing materials. Finally, place correct description tags on your website photos so people can pin them to their own pages.
There are many ways to use Pinterest as part of your self-storage marketing efforts. To get users to engage with your boards, create a user-generated board where customers can upload their own images. Create boards to showcase your facility and services as well as your employees, customers and special events. Infographics are another great visual. These are great for sharing statistics, a story about your business or interesting organizational facts.
A great pin will spark an emotional response from your followers. If the pin is unique, captivating and even a bit quirky, it will be shared.
Engaging with other Pinterest boards or pages is just as important as posting pictures on your own page. Repinning photos from another board or "liking" a pin is the site's form of conversation. Commenting on and liking other peoples pins will draw attention to your own profile and show your business personality and human side. However, do not use pin comments to promote your own company or talk about your companys services.
Benefits for Self-Storage Operators
Its important to analyze the performance of your company's social media programs. Pinterest business pages can allow you to track whos pinning from your website, how many impressions you receive for your pins, and how many viewers are clicking on your content. The analytics can also provide demographic information such as whos pinning your website photos, when theyre pinning and which pins get the most repins. These analytics will help you maximize your marketing efforts.
Self-storage companies are using Pinterest for a variety of reasons. The key is to understand that the majority of users are women, who are also considered the primary decision-makers when it comes to renting a self-storage unit. Statistically, women are the ones who are shopping and asking others for opinions. Pinterest users are searching for a variety of information, from recipes to clothing styles to home-decorating tips. There are a lot of great organization and storage tips shared on the site as well.
Self-storage pages can share everything from organizational tips to local information. Great ideas for boards include decorating tips, self-storage packing tips, moving tips, room wish lists and holiday tips. Its also important to create boards containing your company information as well as info about other local businesses, sports teams, parks and community events.
Adding a Pinterest page to your current social media program will enhance the transparency of your storage operation and allow you to share valuable information (via images) about your services and topics about which your customers are interested.
Debbie Lamb wears many hats at Linkmedia 360, an Ohio-based company that provides marketing and lead-generation solutions to self-storage operators. Shes an account executive, social media coordinator, content creator and webinar coordinator. She has more than 13 years of experience in the local-search marketing industry and many years of customer service experience. For more information, call 877.843.1091, visit www.linkmedia360.com .