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Online presence

Managing Your Online Business Listings, Reviews and Social Media: A Guide for Self-Storage Operators

In today’s competitive self-storage environment, it’s vital to invest in your business’ marketing and digital presence. Here’s guidance for managing your online business listings and reviews and social media pages.

In today’s competitive self-storage environment, it’s vital to invest in your business’ marketing and digital presence. Following is guidance for managing your online business listings and reviews and social media pages.

Business Listings

When’s the last time you checked all of your self-storage facility’s online business listings for accuracy and continuity? Perhaps you’re even wondering what in the world I’m talking about.

Business listings serve two primary purposes: to show potential renters and search engines like Google and Bing that you’re a real enterprise, and to ensure you’re found in those search engines by users. The first thing you can do to maximize your listings is to use a free tool from software company Moz Local to check them across the various search engines. What you’re looking for is consistency.

No matter where your business is listed online, your name, address and phone number should be the same. Checking your business listings for accuracy also lets you uncover any holes. In general, you should have listings on Bing, Facebook, Google and Yelp. If you don’t have a Google My Business (GMB) listing, create one. With updates to Google search, much of its expanded results-page information is pulled directly from your GMB, including location, phone number, business hours, reviews and ratings.

Online Reviews

Did you know one negative online review drives away 30 new customers? Still, it’s important to offer the space on GMB and Facebook for renters to provide feedback. Good reviews and ratings on Google and other sites can have a positive impact on your business because, frankly, people expect them. Today, 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. So, you need to make sure your listings, which host many of your reviews, are up-to-date and frequently monitored.

If you check your reviews regularly, perhaps you’ve wondered if you should engage with your reviewers. Most of the time the answer is yes. If a person is being rude or using vulgar language, it’s generally best not to respond; however, there are ways to engage if someone is complimenting your property or providing critical feedback.

A simple, “Thank you! We appreciate your business!” works for happy renters. For more critical reviewers, acknowledge their concern and, if possible, propose a solution or an offer to discuss the issue further. An example of a response for a critical review would be, “Thank you for your feedback. We’re so sorry you’ve been having trouble with our access gate. We’ll look into this issue as soon as possible. Give us a call if you experience the same problem next time you’re at the property.” It’s important to not take criticism personally and avoid responding in a way that’s emotional or personal.

Social Media

Your business Facebook page is just the start of your social media presence. Are you using Instagram yet? According to the Pew Research Center, 82 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 29 use Facebook, while 54 percent use Instagram. In the 30- to 49-year-old category, 78 percent use Facebook and 40 percent use Instagram. Whether you’re using social media to place ads or simply build your connection with the community, updating and engaging is critical.

On Instagram, you can post things such as photos of your property, an image of packing and retail products sold at your facility, inspirational quotes, specials, employee spotlights, or examples of what fits inside different unit sizes. Be a resource, and try to post once per week. Also, follow local businesses and engage with their content by liking or commenting.

Facebook allows you to demonstrate your impact on the community. Your content should focus on what’s going on in your town or neighborhood, but it doesn’t all have to be original. It would be impossible to post a fresh piece of content directly related to your property daily without going crazy, so get creative. Are there interesting events in town? Promote them. Did the local high school team make the state playoffs? Share the press release. The more you demonstrate your community ties, the more you’re seen by locals as a vital component to your area.

This may sound like a lot to maintain, but there are tools that can help you through the confusion and make the day-to-day maintenance more manageable. If you chose to tackle reputation and social media management on your own, start with your GMB listing and be patient.

Celena Canode is a marketing campaign manager 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

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