By Dave Beltramini
Creating a social media plan for your self-storage business might seem like a daunting task. Maybe you’re familiar with the major platforms, and you might even have set up a few profiles, but you're not sure what to do next. Or perhaps you’re brand new to the wonderful world of social media.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum, one thing is certain: Social media is crucial for managing your reputation, creating and maintaining brand awareness, and engaging with your customers. Here are three simple steps to help you master your plan and enjoy lasting success.
Step 1: Set Up Your Profiles
You want to ensure your social media profiles are accurate. If you don’t know if a profile is correct or complete, use this short checklist:
- Make sure you have the same address, phone number and website on each.
- Use your brand name consistently. For example, if your brand name is "Excellent Storage," don't list your name as "Excellent Storage Near Nashville, TN."
- Get rid of duplicate pages. If you don’t know the owner or username for a duplicate profile, reach out to the platform’s support team to delete or merge the listing with your real one. This will prevent confusion and ensure customers contact your business, not someone else’s.
- Delete any profiles that aren't effective. Don't feel like you have to start or keep a profile on every platform, especially if you don't have time to manage them all. Select channels based on your target-audience data and the sites your current customers frequent.
Step 2: Engage Your Audience
Don’t fall into the trap of setting up your profiles and forgetting about them. Follow these simple tactics to engage your audience and keep your social media accounts current:
- Use photos in your posts. According to the blog buffersocial, tweets with images receive 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets.
- Don’t use the exact same post on every site. Tweak your posts for each platform. A shorter one is more appropriate on Twitter, for example, while longer posts and polls are ideal for Facebook. Just remember to always link back to your website.
- Create social media goals and post content regularly. Depending on the amount of time you have, you might post seven times a week or only once. Just be consistent.
- Make posts authentic and relevant to your audience. Be sure you’re adding value with engaging content that’s well-targeted and thoughtful. This is why it's important to get to know the neighborhood in which your facility resides. For example, you can offer tips for things to do in the area or places to eat, or recommend moving companies or other businesses. This shows you're a part of the community, not a stranger.
- Respond quickly to reviews, questions and posts. When your customers engage with you online, interact with them! If someone asks a question on your Facebook page, don’t let it go unanswered. Silence reflects poorly on your customer service. The same goes for reviews on Google+ and Yelp. When you’re the manager of your pages, you can go in and respond to reviews. A proactive response to a review—even a bad one—can improve your reputation. Here’s a helpful tip for dealing with negative reviews: Respond professionally and then take the conversation offline.
Step 3: Analyze Your Posts
Social media analysis is basically the practice of looking at which posts get the most and least interest (shares, likes, etc.). By paying attention to this information, you'll know how to create better content in the future.
Each platform has a built-in analytics system, such as Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics. You can also get additional tools for specific channels, like Followerwonk for Twitter or ViralWoot for Pinterest. There are even multi-channel tools such as Buffer.
Analytics systems usually turn on automatically, but not always. Twitter Analytics, for instance, needs to be turned on manually after you log in. Your data will then populate monthly telling you things like who your top followers are and what tweets were most engaging.
It's also a good idea to track the traffic that comes to your website through your social media sources. Google Analytics can provide this data for you. You can find out how long social users lingered on your website, how many pages they visited, and if they became a lead through Web-form tracking.
Start Small and Grow
Stepping into social media can be overwhelming. Remember that you don't have to be alone in this venture. You can work with different companies and software programs to help achieve your goals. A management system like Hootsuite, for example, can help you manage and automatically schedule your posts.
Regardless of how you decide to get on board with social media, it's important to start small and grow from there. Staying consistent is best, even if it means posting less frequently. Time spent in social media channels will help you meet your customers where they are, increasing leads and lease conversions.
With more than 15 years of digital-marketing experience, Dave Beltramini is vice president of digital performance at G5, which provides Digital Experience Management software and marketing services to the self-storage industry. The company’s offerings include responsive-design websites, search engine marketing, social media, reputation management, lead tracking and management, analytics, and client-performance management. For more information, call 800.656.8183; visit www.getg5.com.