By Walt Denny
Social media is getting more powerful every day. Nearly half of the Internet-using population interacts with social media on a daily basis. Although many companies have enjoyed solid success with it, others have neglected to adopt this method of marketing.
Following are some common obstacles marketers face when rolling out social-media initiatives and how to overcome them. With proper management and metrics and the use of the correct platforms, your self-storage business can effectively and efficiently capitalize on the growing value of social-media influence.
Obstacle 1: I cant find customers.
Opening a Twitter account, setting up a Facebook page or creating a company page on LinkedIn are the first steps. Starting your social-media campaigns with a bang involves connecting with loyal customers. But how do you find them on social media? If you have an e-mail database of prospects and past customers, youre in luck. Emerging businesses offer services that use your e-mail subscriber lists to locate your contacts on social networks, identify their likes and other important details.
Below are creative and easy ways to locate your e-mail subscribers on social networks. In three short steps, you can be on your way to connecting with prospects and loyal customers.
- Export your e-mail subscriber list from your e-mail marketing software and upload it into a new, free e-mail address (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, etc.).
- With your contacts uploaded into the new e-mail address, link the new e-mail account to the Facebook or LinkedIn contact finder on each of the social networks.
- Run the search for your contacts, and grow your social-media fan base with loyal supporters.
Another way to find prospects and customers is to modify existing lead generation and contact forms currently in place at your business and on your website. If your business uses online forms, add a data-collection field where social-media handles and contact information can be included.
In addition, use the send data from your e-newsletters and e-mail marketing practices. Locate active social-media users. Discover which subscribers are sharing your content on social networks, liking your brand, or connecting with you on LinkedIn. These simple steps can help keep your business at the forefront of prospects minds.
Obstacle 2: I cant keep track of whats going on.
With more than 160 million tweets sent every day, 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook monthly, and 120 decades of video uploaded annually to YouTube, social media can quickly feel overwhelming. Instead of spending precious time signing in and out of several social-media accounts, consolidate your efforts with social-media management platforms.
These allow you to manage several accounts all in one place. Stay aware of ongoing Twitter conversations, see who is liking and posting on your Facebook page, keep your LinkedIn company profile current, and monitor additional social-media channels on one screen with useful management platforms like HootSuite, TweetDeck or Seesmic.
These helpful platforms are versatile and can fit a wide array of needs, all while minimizing your time spent on the various networks searching for relevant content, prospects and mentions of your business. If the budget allows, consider using paid services like Radian6 to monitor your door business and discover engaged, enthusiastic and relevant online communities.
Obstacle 3: I dont have enough time.
Once your social-media efforts gain momentum, youll find theres always one more Facebook post to make, blog post to write or tweet to share. Marketing programs need to grow and evolve over the course of time. Social media is no different. Your marketing team will need an acute understanding of social-media etiquette and strategy. Dedicate the time, effort and energy to create a well-rounded social-media blueprint and find a teaminternal, external or a combination of boththat can execute a successful plan and continually grow with it. Remember, social media should be about inspiring real conversations, not just another task on your to-do list.
Optimize your effort by creating post schedules and content themes. Scheduling when and what you will post about will keep your social-media messaging on target and relevant to your door business. Also, identify the topics your key audiences are most interested in. More than a third of Twitter users follow businesses online for product updates. However, some marketers make the mistake of only posting promotional content. Nearly half of all social-media users who unlike a business on Facebook do so because of too much push and promotional marketing. Its key to have a mix of promotional, useful and interesting content on any social network your business uses.
Tip: Not sure when the best time to send a tweet is? Use Timely.is, a free service that analyzes your Twitter account to determine the best time to reach your most active and engaged followers.
Obstacle 4: I have all this content, but I dont know what to do with it.
Engaging with prospects, customers and target audiences can produce great, real-life testimonials, compliments and special notes. These are sharbale word-of-mouth reccomendations that can spread positive news about your business. Instead of letting those great tweets, flattering Facebook comments and meaningful LinkedIn reccomendations get lost in the shuffle, establish a prominent position for them on your website.
Whether its a widget that scrolls through tweets mentioning your business or a unique page on your website, social-media content lets others sing your praises! A special landing page with top comments from social-media contacts is another great way you can show new prospects and Web visitors the many reasons why your customers love doing business with you. Exceptional, positive content from your social-media efforts is a powerful way to acknowledge your best followers and will show potential customers all the great things being said about your business.
Obstacle 5: I dont know what to do with negative feedback.
Being a part of an online community through social networking and blogging can be an extremely positive opportunity for your company to address your audience and facilitate communication. However, when negative feedback strikes, the news can travel fast if mishandled. Thats why its important to pay close attention. A speedy, helpful and friendly response to negative feedback can provide you with a golden opportunity. Demonstrate exceptional customer service and a commitment to client satisfaction to all your online peers and the negative has now become a positive.
Have a proper plan of action in place so you can turn the negatives into positives quickly and effectively. Taking this proactive approach demonstrates that your company is responsive and wants to do the right thing for your customers.
Respond in the best way possible by understanding what kind of negative feedback youre receiving. Use this chart to help identify the feedback and how to respond.
Type of Negative Feedback
What to Expect
How to Respond
States a problem with your product or service.
Take steps to fix the problem when possible. Notify customer of these steps.
Stated problem plus suggestions for improvement.
Whether you implement the suggestions or not, always thank the customer for their insight.
Automated comments meant to bait your company or customers.
Best not to respond. Remove when necessary as soon as possible.
The general rule when it comes to social-media feedback is to always stay positive. Voice your concerns to make sure your customers feel heard and know that you respect their feedback.
Social media can be an excellent marketing vehicle for your self-storage company. If you havent launched your own social-media marketing campaign, consider the benefits this medium has to offer. Its time to overcome your fears and the obstacles preventing your from reaching a new audience through social-media channels.
Walt Denny is president of Walt Denny Inc., a full-service public-relations, advertising and marketing agency specializing in the home-products arena, digital marketing and social media. Denny has worked in the advertising/public-relations agency business for 35 years. His company works with a national client base to building positive brand awareness through individualized strategies. For more information, call 630.323.0555; visit www.waltdenny.com.