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Social Media: Hype or Helpful Tool?

May 18, 2012

by Silvia Pendleton, Director of Marketing and Membership

As a marketer, I’m fascinated by the possibilities that social media offers for marketing self-storage.  However, the reality is that many are still shying away from putting it to use.  I know of some progressive self-storage executives who embrace social media and go as far as to provide smart phones to their managers and encourage them to both tweet and develop robust Facebook pages.  On the other extreme, we still see many facilities operating without even having Internet access.  It’s a business decision.  Deciding which media to use is also a business decision.  Choosing to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can be daunting, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying.  Just think about what you’re trying to achieve, who your audience is, and who will be the “voice” for your company.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask a representative of a large nationwide self storage company about their social media strategy.  Their social media campaigns are handled on the corporate level.  I understand that consumers connect with large corporate brands on Facebook and even Twitter.  I’ve been known to check out one of my favorite retailers’ pages for coupons or special offers before shopping, but I don’t understand how a corporate brand would be a substitute for the local self-storage facility in my neighborhood.  After all, social media is all about connecting to the places you frequent, like, enjoy, and want to promote to your friends and relatives.

This is where our smaller operators can still outshine the large national firms.  You can reach out to those in your community and let them know what you, your employees, your customers or other online connections are doing.  Make it personal.  Let them see the people behind the counter and the interesting things your customers are involved in.  I see the largest spikes on the TSSA Facebook page when we post pictures and stories about what our members are doing.  Sure, we use it to let you know about events and upcoming educational opportunities, but that’s one of the services (benefits) we provide to members.  We’d be remiss if we didn’t use every available format to remind you of an upcoming event!  But we also use it as a bulletin board of sorts.  I know I’m drawn to busy bulletin boards in our community --- maybe I’m just an inquisitive sort, but I always take a peek to see what’s going on, who’s selling stuff, where the fun events are taking place.  That’s why I think our Facebook page is successful.  It’s a bulletin board and people come back to see what’s going on.  

We’ve tried having a presence on Twitter (and will keep trying) but like many of you out there, it’s taking us some time to find our groove, our “voice,” and our purpose for that medium.  We do feel that it’s important for us as an association to understand the media to better assist our members to find their own “groove.”  We teach you about revenue management, foreclosures, audits…and now we’ll also teach you how to use these new-fangled marketing tools.  (Wait till you hear what we’ve got cooking for convention in San Antonio this October!)

Social media as a marketing tool is not a passing trend.  I encourage you to look past the hype and learn to use it to its full potential.  It’ll take some experimentation and some missteps, but in the long run your business will be better off, you’ll be better positioned for the next “big thing,” and you’ll be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with a large number of people. 

2 Comments

  1. 2 mumbai airport to Lonavala taxi 19 Jan

    This is one interesting article that I meet today 
    Many points raised in the article that you wrote this. 
    Thank you very much for the information you have to say this, Greetings and hopefully always successful
  2. 1 davidpaul1458 22 Jan

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