You’ve seen the posts on Instagram and Facebook: smiling social media mavens posing with everything from charcoal toothpaste to mattresses. This is influencer marketing, and it’s quickly become a surefire way for businesses to reach new audiences. Can it work for the self storage industry?
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing tends to be popular when it comes to selling products or services that are Instagram-friendly. From the photogenic blonde girl posing on the foggy coastline with an oversized mug of weight-loss tea to the guy with the cute puppy opening up a subscription box of dog toys, influencer marketing always feels conversational and on-brand for the content creator.
The self storage industry has certainly made strides to adapt to today’s Instagram culture with unique facility designs, eye-catching paint colors and other upgrades. That being said, it’s still hard to imagine one of those bohemian-chic influencers posing in a social media post centered around a storage unit.
But that doesn’t mean influencer marketing can’t help the self storage industry. Let’s get into how it works:
Influencer marketing pairs a business with an individual with a large social media platform. This influencer might be popular on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or might have his or her own blog. The influencer’s brand must be relevant to the product or service they’re selling. Most importantly, they must be good at selling it in a way that doesn’t feel advertorial. The influencer gets paid to endorse the product or service and connect the business with a wider audience.
Influencer Marketing and Self Storage
It’s hard to remember a time before all of those Instagram posts selling juice cleanses, but influencer marketing is still a new concept. According to a survey of 181 marketers and agencies done by Linqia, 92% of marketers who used influencer marketing in 2017 found it effective. The marketers surveyed reported using influencer marketing to gain increased engagement, clicks and conversions.
These marketers cited Instagram as the most important platform for influencer marketing (it’s worth noting that this is not a popular platform for most self storage businesses), with Facebook coming in as the second most popular. Coming in at third was blogs.
Here’s the takeaway for self storage operators:
If you’re going to use influencer marketing, you might want to start out by having someone relevant either write a guest post for your storage facility’s blog or feature you on their blog (or both, ideally). It’s also important to remember that you need an influencer who has the right audience. As influencer marketing is all about authenticity, you must find someone who would believably be sharing information about your storage facility.
In other words, an influencer doesn’t necessarily need to have the biggest audience, just the right audience. They must feel like an expert. In the self storage industry, this could be a popular home improvement blogger. If you offer RV storage, this could be a full-time RVer with a blog. If your storage facility offers some unique feature or service, such as really great wine storage or commercial storage, you might consider finding someone who has a large following in a relevant community.
If you’ve been following the growing network of influencer marketers, you’re probably used to hearing about the FTC. The FTC (Federal Trade Commision), which was created to protect consumers from unfair business practices, has introduced new measures to crack down on influencer marketing.
If your self storage business decides to experiment with influencer marketing, you’ve got to follow the rules. Be aware that influencers must disclose that they are paid for posts or if they receive some type of in-kind compensation (i.e. a free storage unit for a month). Influencers should disclose this information through hashtags such as #sponsored or #ad on Instagram and Facebook. In blog posts, they must disclose this information ahead of any links to your business.
In 2017, 13% of marketers admitted that they did not require the influencers they used to disclose that they were compensated. Don’t be like those 13% of marketers.
Does Influencer Marketing Work?
So now we arrive at the big question. Does influencer marketing work? Can it work for self storage?
In 2017, 78% of marketers cited measuring the ROI of influencer marketing as a top concern. With an increasingly saturated market, the jury is still out on whether or not influencer marketing can help every kind of business, though it does seem to be successful for a surprising range of industries. If you’re a self storage operator looking to give it a shot, consider working with an influencer marketing agency that can pair you with the right influencer. Start small and focus on the channels where your customers are. At the same time, be open to suggestions. That RVer with a massive Instagram following might net you some new business through his or her own unique community. That lifestyle blogger might write something compelling about spring cleaning and self storage the inspires readers to rent a storage unit.
Influencer marketing is certainly more than just sunkissed blonde girls offering discount codes on meal kits. You just have to make it work for you.