Influencer marketing has been on the rise as social media plays an ever-growing role in society. Content creators with a large number of followers, deemed influencers, have proven to carry a lot of merit in consumer buying decisions. Partnering with beauty and technology companies as well as travel and other industries, they build brand awareness and increase demand for products and experiences. But do they have an impact when it comes to the self-storage industry? In my company’s experience, they do.
What’s an Influencer?
An influencer positions themself as a resource who can help inform a customer’s buying decision. They build trust with their followers, promising authentic content that’ll serve their viewers. By introducing brands to prospects through voices buyers already trust, companies can attract quality customers.
A survey from marketing firm Matter found that 82% of people reported purchasing, researching or thinking about buying an item after a family member, friend or influencer posted about it. It’s much greater than the 38% who said they’re likely to trust recommendations from the brands themselves.
Our own influencer partnerships stemmed from the need to reach younger consumers, more of whom are using self-storage. We knew we needed to reach them on the digital platforms on which they’re active and searching for goods and services. In an article on TechCrunch.com, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said apps like Instagram and TikTok are now becoming search engines. In fact, 40% of younger users are using social platforms as discovery tools for restaurants and clothing instead of Google search.
We partnered with influencers to help promote two of our managed self-storage brands. Storage Sense collaborated with Jon Schoeller, a real estate investor posting his journey on YouTube. Jon and his wife, Rhianna, share their adventures in house flipping and exemplify a natural voice for an industry that benefits from self-storage.
A few minutes into one of their videos in which they walk through an investment property, they shifted into the benefits of renting storage while renovating houses. With their local Storage Sense in the background, Rhianna offered viewers a code that would waive administrative fees and provide a free storage lock with a unit rental. The campaign resulted in more than 15 rentals using their code.
Following this success, we began our search for someone to partner with Valley Storage. TikTok influencer and young entrepreneur Sydnysky was featured on a local news segment for the success of her vintage resale shop. She took viewers inside the Valley unit where she keeps her inventory. A natural partnership was born! Sydny trusted her storage provider, and her more than 57,000 followers trusted her.
She created two sponsored TikTok videos for us. The first explains her experience renting with Valley Storage. She also provided her followers with a discount code they could use to obtain their first month of rent for free.
In her second video, Sydny discussed her rental experience, from packing her boxes onto a cart to opening her storage unit and navigating the temperature-controlled facility. She also highlighted specific property features and reminded viewers of her discount code. The campaign resulted in 20 new rentals in the first two months.
Finding an Influencer
When choosing an influencer, I not only look for someone with a large following, they should have good engagement with their audience. It’s important that they’re seen as a respectable spokesperson for their niche market and that they’ve developed trust with their followers. It’s also imperative that they can authentically promote the self-storage experience.
Influencer campaigns can open a window of opportunity to connect with a wider audience. Are you ready to incorporate this kind of marketing into your digital strategy? If so, look for someone who’s garnered trust within their community, who’s already familiar with using self-storage, and let them provide their followers with a discount or exclusive promo. Then track the results of the campaign. Influencers continue to show their value in the digital-marketing space, and self-storage brands should take advantage of the possibilities.
Paige Weary is the social media strategist for Storage Asset Management, a third-party management company that operates more than 500 self-storage facilities nationwide. To reach her, email [email protected] or connect with her on LinkedIn.