These days, social peer review is the new word of mouth. If you have searched for a local plumber, florist, dry cleaner - any type of service or retail store - you likely ask a trusted friend or relative for suggestions. So it goes with self-storage facilities. A person willing to place his/her belongings in a long-term storage unit wants a reliable service with amenities that promote peace of mind. When you provide good service and quality space to new customers, you hope word of mouth brings even more people to your door. There are ways to encourage this sort of viral promotion, and if you're not using social media to your advantage now is the time.
You may wonder is having a Facebook page or a Twitter account is beneficial to your business. Depending on the scope of your business - if you have more than one location, for example - these platforms may help bring more awareness to the public. You can post vacancies and move-in specials and track questions people might have about storage. What you really want, however, is to utilize your social platforms to showcase good reviews. Facebook and Twitter are only the tip of the iceberg in this respect. You must ensure that your business is listed with sites that people consult for honest customer reviews. Here is a sampling of places to check out:
Yelp - For years, Yelp has helped people discern good and bad restaurants in their respective cities. Registered user can now evaluate all manner of businesses - including self-storage facilities. Do a search for your business and make sure all the contact information and directions are correct. As a business owner, you can claim your page and add photos and respond to reviews.
Google+ Local - Google Places was recently merged with Google+, so now all business pages have the look and feel of a Google+ page. Nonetheless, visitors can still leave reviews of your storage facility online, and as the owner/manager you can work to control the information and photos on the site.
Angie's List - Customers tend to abide by Angie's List reviews because the site's strenuous evaluation policies. It is very difficult to place a fake review on this site, and business take recommendations from this site seriously. It is subscription based, so reviews aren't publicly accessible. Still, you want to make sure your listing here is accurate.
Once you've established a presence on these sites, next comes getting the reviews. It's important to let your customers know that you are listed on these sites - cross link to sites through your social media, and include URLs on print promotional materials. It's not uncommon to offer incentives for referrals, so you may want to consider offering discounts to customers who bring in new people through tweets or Facebook shares.
It's important, too, not to fly off the handle if you receive a negative review. Customers will monitor a business's reaction, and if you give the impression that you are willing to solve an issue that can improve your standing. Be vigilant online and let customers know how and where to show their gratitude.