Despite some of the challenges social media can pose, using these platforms to improve your self-storage operation’s online presence and engage customers should be an important part of your marketing plan. Yes, prospective tenants will investigate what others have said about your company, and being under the public microscope can be worrisome. But knowing where to focus your attention when it comes to social media can lessen the intimidation. Though you need to be mindful about what you post, including wording and hashtags, understanding some of the key basics should help you get started with confidence.
Though there are numerous social media platforms from which to choose, self-storage operators primarily focus their attention on Facebook, Google My Business (GMB), Instagram and Twitter. If you only have the resources to concentrate on two, I’d go with Facebook and GMB. Let’s take a closer look.
Facebook. This platform can be extremely useful to businesses. Once you create and verify your business page, you’ll be able to post to your timeline, specify services, create offers, advertise jobs, post photos or videos, and even host live-streaming video sessions.
GMB. Definitely create and verify your business listing with Google. Fill out your information completely, especially the services area. Photos are advantageous, with 360-degree images being very popular. Any posts you create here will display on Google when someone conducts an online search for your facility location, services or company. Keep your content relevant and flashy.
Instagram. Pictures, videos and live streaming rule this platform. Link your Instagram profile with your Facebook account, which will allow you to manage and respond to comments or messages from both platforms. Let the images speak for themselves. Use fascinating visuals that draw in the viewer. Think circus razzle dazzle, then tone it down for normal everyday human interactions—or don’t. This is your account; do what you believe is right, but keep it professional.
Twitter. Once a platform that limited posts to 140 characters, Twitter now allows up to 280 characters to create buzz around your topic, facility or interests. This medium is perfect for sharing a new feature at your facility or promoting a special. You can also include hashtags, images and videos. Just remember to tell short stories—no novels.
What to Post
Show your audience what your self-storage property has to offer, and entice prospects to stop by the facility and rent from you. Seasonal decorations, new installations, clean storage doors and freshly painted gates are all things to share. Brag about your features and benefits. Be proud of your facility, and let the public know you’ve got the storage space it needs.
Not every post needs to be a sales pitch, but it should be representative of your brand and company values. Self-storage tips, tricks, insights and ideas are always good to post. You should also link posts to your website or blog to emphasize offerings. Always try to post the appropriate number of words or characters for each platform.
Hashtags use the # symbol, commonly known as pound or the number sign, followed by a string of words with no spaces to tag your posts to a specific idea, topic or brand. If you’re planning to use a hashtag, do yourself a favor and Google it first. Phrases don’t always mean what we think they do, so do a little due diligence to avoid an embarrassing incident. Be smart and specific with your hashtags. Keep them relevant to your topic and, above all, use them wisely.
Always respond to negative comments, reviews or recommendations from your social media audience. Don’t ignore them! Also, keep your responses short and be polite. If you need more information about an incident, ask the disgruntled person to reach out to you offline, so you can continue the conversation. Never argue online, as it won’t end well.
Sample Your Options
I encourage you to explore. See how other self-storage operators are leveraging social media platforms to their benefit. What can you emulate? What can you do better? Take these basics and dive deeper to see which offer the biggest payoff for your time, energy and audience. Good Luck!
Mohala Johnson is the director of Web technology for Tellus Development Ltd., a real estate and development firm that operates more than 30 self-storage facilities in the Southeast. With more than 10 years of management and customer-service experience, she handles the company’s digital and print marketing. Writing has always been a passion of hers, and she’s excited to share her knowledge with the self-storage industry. Connect with her @MohalaJohnson on Twitter or www.linkedin.com/in/mohalajohnson. For more information, visit www.tellusltd.com.