If you haven’t had the chance to read our comprehensive six-part series on how to market on Twitter, you should check it out! It covers everything from signing up and building a following to what and when to tweet and who to keep your eye on.

Part Five: How to Tweet discusses the various strategies for posting so as not to chase your audience away with a constant barrage of caps-locked discount announcements, but I’d like to go even more in depth. In this post, I’ll take a look at what the best brands are doing on Twitter to maximize user engagement.

Brand Yourself

Create an Image

Branding is all about creating an image. What image do you want people to have in their heads when they think of you and your company? I know, self storage may not be the most exciting industry, even to its customers. The cool thing about branding, though, is that you can create whatever image you want!

Ivan the Storage Dog is the Twitter profile for Security Self Storage in North Carolina. By combining something everyone loves – a cute dog – with their own brand, the image they’ve created of their company is one of fun, creative, pet-loving people who aren’t afraid to get a little silly.

You can adopt whatever image you like, of course, but make it something that people want to interact with and come back to.

Be Consistent

A variety of markets use self storage: families, businesses, students, and military personnel, among others. In addition, Twitter can be a great place to bolster business relations with partner companies or other nearby facilities. It can be tough to navigate all of these audiences while also maintaining a consistent tone throughout.

Ivan the Storage Dog does a great job balancing all these audiences, posting tips for homeowners, RV lovers, and students with regularity. Ivan even has a LinkedIn page for his more professional endeavors, but the profile’s managers never deviate from their image of Ivan, the dog, as the face of the company.

Be Knowledgeable

The best Twitter profiles are constantly posting useful tips and information. Manhattan Mini Storage, for example, offers many useful home organization and cleaning tips.

This might seem counterintuitive at first – why give organization advice to your customers when many of them keep things in storage because they can’t stay organized? It’s not about making a quick buck but about building rapport. Many of your customers do struggle with organization. That’s one of the motivating factors for using self storage. By giving them advice, you’re showing that you’re a knowledgeable source of information who can help them better their lives by being more organized, which in turn keeps them returning to your Twitter page and your business.

Make It Interactive

As you’ve probably noticed by now, a lot of the tweets I’m referencing contain links or pictures. This is not by accident. Links and pictures help make your Twitter profile more interactive, and social interaction is the primary purpose of social media.

Add a Picture

Pictures are great to add to your tweets. They catch your followers’ attention so much better than simple text. For example, anyone can write about their vehicle storage, but Storage Post Self Storage made an otherwise ordinary tweet into something truly engaging by including a rather incredible picture.

Cell phone giant Nokia uses images to great effect, especially when they retweet and post pictures that their followers took with Nokia phones.

User-generated images certainly seem more viable for a large cell phone company than for a storage facility, but there is still potential for engagement. Ask renters to post before and after pictures of their homes when they move into storage, or ask for pictures of interesting items they plan to store.

Include a Link

People also love clicking links. If you can provide a source of useful information or entertainment, then do it! We’ve already looked at storage companies posting links of organization and cleaning tips, but don’t restrict yourself. For example, Manhattan Mini Storage knows all of its customers are from New York City, so they post links that are interesting and relevant to New Yorkers even if they have nothing to do with self storage.

You know your audience(s) better than anyone else, so find news articles, blog posts, events, and pictures that cater to their interests and concerns.

Ask for Retweets

Social Media Today has a great infographic about Twitter engagement. According to their research, 78% of engagement with a brand’s tweets is made up of retweets. Only 22% is made up of replies. This means your customers might not always reply, but they could very well retweet an interesting picture or a useful link.

The numbers look even better for those who specifically ask to be retweeted:

Retweet infographic

Interaction with followers is not only the primary goal of a business’s Twitter profile, but it’s also the most useful metric for determining the success of your Twitter presence. Tweet engaging things and ask for retweets and replies. And if you’re struggling to figure out what to write between the pictures and links, read on!

What to Write

When you sit down to tweet, keep the following in mind:

Ask questions. According to web guru Neil Patel at Quicksprout, questions can increase engagement by 21%. A declarative statement or exclamation might sometimes elicit a response from one of your followers, but a question is deliberately designed to do so. Anything that opens the door to further discussion is always a plus.

Use verbs. Your verbs are your calls to action. “Do this.” “Click that.” “Retweet.” “Follow.” Put one of these in each of your tweets to maximize user interaction with your profile.

Keep it short. The infographic from Social Media Today mentioned above also states that tweets that contain fewer than 100 characters receive 17% higher engagement than tweets that are longer than 100 characters. No one’s looking for the next Great American Novel on Twitter, so get right to the point.

Here’s a great tweet from Storage Post Self Storage that employs all three of these tips:

They ask a question that leads to a strong call to action, all while keeping it short and to the point.

Use Hashtags

No discussion of Twitter is complete without mentioning hashtags. Always take a look at trending topics to see if you have something to contribute. It’s also a good idea to search relevant hashtags like #selfstorage or #yourcity to see what’s been said recently.

To refer once again to Social Media Today’s infographic, we find that tweets with hashtags receive twice the amount of engagement as tweets without hashtags. But not all hashtags are created equal. Using one or two hashtags can increase engagement 21%, but more than that and the numbers start to drop.

Take a look at this excellent tweet from Ivan the Storage Dog:

It’s got a link to a picture to start with, and the author uses exactly two hashtags. Not only that, but the two hashtags are very different in nature. #tbt (i.e. Throwback Thursday) is a widespread trend that Ivan is contributing to. #greatpyrenees is specifically for people interested in a particular breed of dog. This makes the tweet easy to find both to a highly focused audience (Great Pyrenees lovers) and to anyone checking in on Twitter’s latest trending topic (Throwback Thursday).

Get Tweeting!

Twitter is an excellent medium to your brand and strengthen your customer base. Don’t approach it as another place to advertise (unless you want to use Twitter’s paid ads) – instead, use at as a place to get to know your tenants. Talk to them. Share with them all the exciting things that brighten up your day. Let them know you’re a person just like they are.

I hope these examples have given you a better target to shoot for with your tweets. It’s not easy trying to draw people’s attention away from the seemingly infinite distractions of the Internet. But with all the resources available to help you along the way, it’s gotten a lot easier. So go like us on Twitter and get back to tweeting!