“Effective social media use entails listening, promoting dialog, and providing massive value to other people. Social media tools are just tools – they are only as effective as the architect using them.”
Social media tools have given architects new avenues for enlarging and strengthening a network. The reason networks are so powerful is because they are built on relationships of mutual trust. This is something hard-wired into our being from our primordial past: the need to be part of something larger, and the desire to reciprocate favors with the people we like and trust. People like doing business with those they know and trust. Through social media, an architect or firm can exponentially increase its exposure and profile in the market. But interactions need to be pertinent and solve the problems of the prospects. Like any networking or marketing tool, the success of the tool depends upon its implementation.
Today, many architects have found that their traditional networks, which have taken years to build, have dried up. It seems not many have money to build, and those who do are price-shopping the lowest architectural fees. Nevertheless, the building continues and the demand for good architects hasn’t disappeared.
1. It’s About Cultivating Relationships
Before the widespread use of the Internet and social media tools, marketing was limited to direct mail, advertisements, media coverage, and industry publications. It was difficult, if not impossible, to get into the mind of the client at an early stage. Social media use has changed.
2. Build Trust
Social media can speed up this trust-building process. Social media tools allow an architect to get on a prospect’s radar before the prospect begins to think about a project. If utilized effectively, social media tools can be very effective in forming and cultivating these relationships.
3. The Key to Effective Engagement
People online aren’t looking for more spam or junk mail, they are looking to form positive, reciprocal relationships. An architect who simply posts the firm’s projects or talks about the latest firm news will have a difficult time getting any kind of following. The masterful architect who understands this will find social media to be an effective tool for building and strengthening a profitable network.
4. Mind-reading with Social Media
Knowing what a prospect is thinking allows an architect to refine the marketing message. A refined marketing message, or ‘unique selling proposition’, speaks more clearly to the prospect. By tailoring the message to the client, clients are created for life.
5. Connect Directly with Potential Clients
With a direct approach, Twitter is leveraged to connect directly with potential clients. For instance, if you specialize in residential kitchen and bath remodels, connect with your target crowd. Or, if your target is school design, reach out to school board members, administrators, teachers, etc. Use Twitter and the other social media tools to strengthen relationships with these people, on individual bases.
6. Gives the Savvy Architect Virtual Backdoor Access to these High-level Individuals
Facebook allows firms and architects to maintain top of mind positioning; to connect with people that have an interest in what you have to say. There are many CEOs and decision-makers on Facebook. Anyone who has tried to connect with an executive-level decision-maker knows that the first step is to circumvent the omnipresent gatekeeper. Facebook gives the savvy architect virtual backdoor access to these high-level individuals. Don’t pass up these opportunities.
7. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising on Facebook has the potential to be a hidden gold mine for the ambitious architect. The effectiveness of Facebook ads is tied to the ability to narrowly target specific demographics. For instance, on Facebook, one can target women in their thirties who like modern design, or men in their 60’s who are business owners. The possibilities are limited only by imagination. Additionally, Facebook offers the ability to track the performance of ads and set specific limits to the amount of money spent each day. This can save you from burning through a pile of cash in your quest for clients.
8. Principle of Exclusivity
LinkedIn leverages the principle of exclusivity. On LinkedIn, users can only send messages to direct connections. Also, LinkedIn discourages users from connecting to people they don’t know. When you invite a new connection on LinkedIn, you are offered this disclaimer.
9. Be Identifiable
LinkedIn gives users the option to either hide or reveal their identities to the people whose profiles they are browsing. Anonymous browsing will not allow you to see who has viewed your profile. Deactivating anonymous browsing will allow you to see who has viewed your profile as well as allowing others to see that you have visited their profile.
10. The product of this brainstorming session
A local architectural news and opinion blog coupled with a quarterly architectural exhibit. While ArcHop was not started as a Studies marketing tool for any particular firm, it certainly has catapulted curator Kiel Famellos-Schmidt into the position of respected architectural thought-leader