What you're doing wrong with Facebook
Maybe you've decided to try out advertising on Facebook and Twitter, I mean it’s free right – why not give something for your manager to do instead of not renting units. Cheap shot, I know.
So you setup your twitter account and you ‘tweet’ about your latest special…over and over and over again. You setup your Facebook page and you make status updates of … that’s right, your latest special. PLEASE STOP. From the bottom of my heart you are wasting your energy on a tactic that will more than likely fail.
Younger audiences can sniff out this spam at lightning speed and isn’t that to whom you’re trying to reach? So, as I sit here in Seattle’s SEA-TAC airport I thought I’d take a couple minutes and give you a few pointers on what to do and what NOT to do when using Facebook for your storage facility.
DO: Make your business page public
This seems as if it'd be a no brainer but I just came across the Facebook page for Tacoma Self Storage while I sit here and yes, I had to login to facebook to see their profile.
You cannot require visitors to become your fan before you market to them. I’m not trying to pick on Tacoma Self Storage, they’re just one of a dozen storage profiles I’ve seen in the past few months that were private. Please do yourself a favor and make your profile public!
DO: Make it personal
Look, Facebook is the massive success that it is simply because we all love sharing with friends. Sharing pics, thoughts, feelings, news, whatever it is Facebook is there for us. So why would you take a model that allows you to be so successful in bridging the gap between manager and renter and redefine it to be a platform to plaster your current internet special on? That is not how Facebook works.
Network with your renters and pay attention to what they’re doing. If they have a birthday coming up, send them an email – it takes 30 seconds. A new baby in the family, send them a congratulations card, it only costs $2. Turn that relationship between anonymous storage facility and renter into ‘Mary the manager’ and me. There is a world of difference between those two relationships.
Bridging that gap is especially important if you’re running a referral or rewards program. Guess what, if I have that warm fuzzy feeling about a manager because she remembered my birthday when half my family forgot about it I’m exponentially more likely to recommend that facility to my friends, neighbors, and other Facebook or twitter followers. This is a great way to put some life into your referral program.
Speaking of warm fuzzy feeling…3rd party ratings for your website (you know the ones you see them on Yelp, and Google Maps, and everywhere else) are becoming a much greater factor in ranking your website in the search engines. So if I have that warm fuzzy feeling about you don’t you think that warm sentiment is likely to translate into positive reviews? I do.
Make it personal – don’t reinvent what Facebook is, embrace it.
DO: Become part of the community - ENGAGE
No one is interested in this type of profile:
Instead blend into your city scene. Network with others in the city, promote OTHER businesses that you support/use/like, and let people know what’s happening in the community. Is the local farmers market open today? Let people know but make it unique. Let them know not just the when and where but what your favorite stand or grower is. As counter-intuitive as it may seem I think of Facebook as a nod to old marketing. Remember going door to door to other businesses and shaking hands and building relationships? Okay, so I’m too young to actually remember that but I’m told it happened. =) Use that approach to Facebook. Network with other business owners, ask them what their experience has been with Facebook in the community, link to their website and profile – you will be surprised at how many leads they can send your way.
Are you sponsoring a little league team? First off, good for you! Now take advantage of that, don’t make it why you sponsor a team but don’t waste that resource. Go out there and take photos of the team and share it on your Facebook gallery. Go out for pizza after the games and take and share photos. Network with the parents, family, friends – don’t sell to them – but let them know who you are and that they can find all the photos on your Facebook page.
Become part of the community, be a person not a business, and watch the referral traffic flow like water.
Good luck with your social endeavors!
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