Storage Asset Management (SAM) recently partnered with two niche social media influencers to promote two brands of its managed properties, Storage Sense and Valley Storage. Both initiatives led to more than a dozen rentals attributed to the influencers. As the influencer campaigns first began taking shape, SAM Social Media Strategist Paige Weary says she searched for individuals who spoke with esteemed authority —who were knowledgeable in their fields and have built a loyal following.
“I wanted to avoid someone that had a large following but not a lot of engagement or respect within their community,” Weary said. “I also wanted to avoid an influencer that didn’t come across as authentic or fully understand the need for self storage.”
That is where the micro-influencers outshine other prospects. Defined as having a following greater than an average person but less than a celebrity—roughly 1,000 to 100,000 followers—a micro-influencer can hold a mutual trust with their followers. The influencer promises honest content that will serve their viewers, and the followers gladly show their support when that promise is fulfilled.
Storage Sense engaged with Jon Schoeller, a real estate investor posting his journey on YouTube, for a collaboration. Jon and his wife, Rhianna, share their adventures in house flipping and exemplified a natural voice for an industry that benefits from self storage. In the middle of one of their usual videos in which they walk through a recently purchased property, they shifted into the benefits of renting storage while flipping houses. Featuring their local Storage Sense in the background, Rhianna offered viewers a code to waive administrative fees and provide a free storage lock with a storage rental. The video resulted in more than 15 rentals using their code.
In addition to authority, Weary looked for influencers who could authentically promote the self storage experience. So when TikToker Sydnysky was featured in an evening news segment, noting her use of Valley Storage to support her projects and business, the opportunity for a genuine partnership arose.
Sydny already trusted Valley Storage, and her more than 57,000 followers trusted her. She runs an online vintage resale shop while documenting her school-bus-to-home transformation for her online audience. Valley Storage partnered with Sydny to create two TikTok videos—the first of which resulted in more than five rentals in the first week of the video being up and almost 15 in the first month using her code, which granted a free first month renting with Valley Storage.
Following up a month later, her second video focused on her experience with Valley Storage, from packing her boxes onto a cart to opening up her storage unit and navigating the temperature-controlled facility. She highlighted specific features and reminded viewers of her discount code.
So, can micro-influencers make an impact in online rentals for self storage businesses? SAM’s influencer campaigns for Storage Sense and Valley Storage have opened a window of opportunity for its managed brands to connect with a wider audience.
By introducing the brands to potential tenants online through voices they already trust, the brands can attract quality customers. Influencers position themselves as resources who can help inform a customer’s buying decision and act as relatable extensions of brands. And that relatability makes a difference.
Online audiences more confidently favor influencers’ recommendations over brands’, meaning influencers can play a valuable role in online sales. Matter found in a survey that 82 percent of people reported purchasing, researching, or considering purchasing an item after a family member, friend, or influencer posted about it—much greater than the 38 percent that said they are likely to trust recommendations from brands.
In addition to trust, influencer marketing is an avenue to explore due to search behavior changing. Recently, Google Senior Vice President mentioned how apps like Instagram and Tik Tok are now becoming search engines. Forty percent of younger users are utilizing apps for discovery tools for restaurants and clothing, instead of Google search. As these search trends continue, it is important that storage facilities monitor and explore these avenues to ensure they are being found where users are searching.
Influencers continue to show their value in the digital marketing space, and self storage brands should take advantage of the possibilities.