If you want to grow your business, maintain contact with key clients, inspire clients or grow your business network - any of these goals can be achieved through social media.
Our advice is to pick only one or two social media platforms that you think will work best for your business. Trust us when we say that it is much better to be consistent on one or two platforms, then sporadic and ineffective on five. When choosing the platforms you want to work with, think about what your target audience uses most and as a result where you will get the most traction.
Social networking takes time and planning. It is important before rushing in and setting up on a platform that you make a plan for content. Work out how often you are going to post, what type of content you will share, what will be your key messages, how often will you promote your company or your work and how much time you can dedicate to this marketing and relationship tool. Most importantly, decide what you are trying to achieve through social media and how you want to be perceived by your target market. Make sure it all fits with your brand and future direction.
For inspiration you should check out ADNZ's social networking on Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
To get you started, here is a brief overview of our top five social media sites for architectural designers in NZ.
Everyone is on Facebook - every day. Think of Facebook as a tool to showcase your work and share with your fans what inspires you as a designer. Facebook is a visual platform. Images and videos perform very well, this makes sharing your completed work and designs very easy to do and users love to see photos of great design work. When using Facebook it is important to share content not just about you or your company. Try to share news that relates to architecture in your local area, work of designers that you admire, or innovative design and building concepts or processes.
LinkedIn is a social media platform for professionals and corporates. It is best used for building your professional networks with suppliers, contractors, clients and other industry players. It is also another place to increase your corporate profile by sharing your experience, qualifications and showcasing your work.
LinkedIn also makes it easy to grow the profile of your business. Just set up a company page for your business where you can share company updates, news and your latest designs. In addition, once you are on LinkedIn you can join groups to debate and discuss architecture and design issues and begin to establish yourself as an industry expert through commentary and regular discussion. For New Zealand architectural designers we strongly recommend joining the following groups as a starting point - Architectural Designers New Zealand, Architecture & Construction New Zealand and New Zealand Infrastructure and Construction.
Pinterest is basically an online scrapbook. Pinners use Pinterest to create boards which collate their favourite things - this can be for absolutely anything from recipes, to fashion to interior design. Pinterest can be used by architectural designers to showcase their work by sharing images of their designs with other pinners. It can also provide inspiration to you and your clients. You can build boards which collate your favourite work along with designs by others that you admire. These boards can then be shared with your clients to help them build a look book of design requirements for their future home.
Instagram is a visual platform where users can share videos and photos. Instagram enables you to add a filter to your images and then share the image on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Instagram is a fun and visually impressive way to showcase your work as well as daily objects that catch your eye, moments in time and buildings that you love. You can also follow other architectural designers and people who interest you - utilising it as a networking tool.
Blogs are a great way to help drive traffic to your website - they really have taken over from the traditional monthly client newsletter and they are far more interactive and current. If you want to get more people to view your website or increase your standing in search engines - blogging can help. Google loves it when content changes on websites regularly and rewards you by pushing you up the ranks when searched.
Blogging also provides fantastic content for your social media platforms. In addition, when you share an interesting blog on social media you will likely receive traffic through to your website which increases the number of people viewing your website and hopefully a few of those can be converted into leads.
If none of these social media platforms excite you, don't be deterred, check out the exciting world of Google +, You Tube, Twitter, Tumblr and Houzz.