A business’s reputation online is often the first thing a customer will encounter, and you know what they say – first impressions count. Traditionally, self storage operators relied on word-of-mouth advertising to establish a strong presence in their community, but now, customers can dig up the good, the bad, and the ugly by doing a simple Google search.
As a result, a business’s reputation is no longer a linear stream but rather a fluid entity constantly evolving and changing. To stay ahead of the game and outshine your competitors, you need to regularly manage and improve your online reputation. We recently spoke to communications and reputation specialist Rob Baird to uncover a few ways you can bolster your facility’s reputation online to boost your revenue. Here are his expert insights:
1. Provide service worthy of 5-stars
This is the first and most important step to a sound online reputation. Providing quality customer service from the very beginning will give your customers a reason to leave a positive review and return. Incentivise your staff to give the best possible service and highlight positive reviews to showcase the result of their hard work. What’s really important here is to create a culture in the workplace where staff are genuinely interested in their customers and willing to help in any way.
2. Create quality and relevant content
Consumers trust businesses that speak to them and are willing to engage, especially online. Whether curating thought-provoking blogs or posting light-hearted blurbs on your social media profile, content is a great indicator of your brand and what it offers consumers outside of your general products or services. Posting blogs to your website or social media channels will also improve your presence online and make your brand appear more approachable and trustworthy. Engage with your audience authentically and you’ll create many ‘brand ambassadors’ in no time.
3. Monitor and manage review platforms
When it comes to the sales cycle, an online reputation is critical. Make sure that you have a strong presence on popular review platforms like Google, Trustpilot and even Facebook, and keep an eye on how customers talk about your facility. Make sure you engage with all reviews that are posted to show others reading them that you are willing to create a conversation.
When it comes to negative reviews, these need to be managed effectively and as honestly as possible. Although these can be disastrous for your reputation, it’s also an opportunity to rectify your mistakes and improve your service. If someone drops the ball and a negative review follows as a result, deal with it constructively. Thank them for taking the time to leave a review and tell them how important such reviews are for your business as it allows you to continue improving in all areas. Make sure to tell them you take such issues seriously and that you will deal with it accordingly.
4. Encourage customers to leave a review
A facility with 500 reviews will automatically appear more trustworthy than one with 10. Encouraging your customers to share their experiences on review platforms is an easy way to rise in the ranks and become a well-known and liked facility in your community. Leaving a review shouldn’t be a hassle for your customers either. Whether sending requests via email or text, remember to keep it short and sweet and include a hyperlink to the review platform. Just make sure that you don’t cross the line in terms of incentivising reviews – they need to be authentic and not forced.
5. Be active on social media
Social media has evolved into a digital community where word-of-mouth travels fast. Customers can now mention your facility in a post, review and rate their experience all on social media. With a strong social media strategy, you’ll not only have more control over your reputation but the power to build lasting connections with your customers. Make sure you have a clear social media strategy that guides this entire process.
At Digital First, we offer self storage operators a variety of specialised digital marketing services, including online reputation management and social media marketing. Whether you’re looking to increase your social following or Google review rating, we have the knowledge and experience to help brands like yours stand out and succeed online. Contact us today to find out more or get a free online audit today.