Whether you like it or not social media has become more than just a fad. It’s no longer just a place for posting pictures, and sharing your thoughts but a potential marketing tool for businesses. Be it local businesses or giant conglomerates; everybody understands the importance of having highly optimized social media profiles.
According to an article posted in Techcrunch, Facebook has over 2 billion active users, YouTube has 1.5 billion users, and Instagram has 700 million users all over the world. The proportions of active social media users are similar in Canada with Facebook and YouTube having the highest penetration rates. In one of our previous posts, we mentioned that nearly 7 out of 10 Canadians are plugged into social media. So what do these numbers signify? They are suggestive of the fact that social media has become a way of life for most people. It is, therefore, an ideal medium for businesses to market their products and services.
Social media is not just a way to reach your target audience but also a marketing tool to create more engagement between businesses and customers, and generate leads. It is one of the cheapest ways to communicate, interact, and engage with your audience in an instant.
These days all kinds of professionals opt for social media marketing to reach their target audience. This includes dentists, physiotherapists, lawyers, and architects to name a few. Our main focus today, is to discuss a few social media tips for architects and how to help them get started with social media marketing.
Why do you need to be on social media?
As an architect, it is natural for you to wonder as to why you should consider social media as a part of your holistic marketing plan when you are doing well for yourself with offline marketing activities. Well, at some point, all the so-called offline businesses will have a digital presence. People are increasingly relying on Google for searching for all kinds of professionals. And you want to make sure that Google recognizes you the next time someone searches for best architects in Alberta (or wherever). Now you may ask, isn’t direct emails enough for your business? No doubt email marketing campaigns are effective, but people are getting drawn towards a visual culture where potential customers are reading less and viewing more. This is why you need to make the most of videos, images, quotes, and GIFs. And social media is the best platform to communicate visually. If you diverge a bit from the business aspect, you will see that even headhunters and HR executives are using social media to attract top talent. So why miss out on your opportunity to fish for the best architects for your architectural firm?
Social media marketing plan
To achieve anything, it is necessary to have a definitive social media marketing plan. Just as you would need a plan to increase your yearly revenues by x percent, you need to chalk out a strategy and a suitable plan to reach your marketing goals. Your marketing goals should be in alignment with your business goals, and every action you take should be a step forward towards achieving them. Here are a few questions that will help you come up with a suitable social media marketing plan:
Where do you want to see yourself in the future?
What tools do you want to use to get there?
What are the steps you want to take to achieve your goals?
Here are a few actionable steps, to help you come up with an effective social media marketing plan:
Define your goals
Some marketers use social media to network with their existing and new clients, whereas others do it to be easily found online. Every business has different social media goals. You need to identify where your company stands in the market and come up with definitive goals for your social media plan. It’s only when you have determined your goals and objectives that you can quickly react when social media campaigns are not meeting your expectations. An important part of identifying your goals is to figure out the metrics you will be using to measure the success of your social media marketing. So, along with determining your goals, you also need to decide on what social media metrics you will be using to evaluate the performance of your social media activities.
Choose social media platforms
There are multiple social media platforms out there, and each one requires a different approach. For those of you who are newly including social media in your marketing activities, it is recommended that you choose your social media channels wisely. The reason for this being, maintaining a social media profile can be a time-consuming process. You cannot be active on a social network for a month and then disappear all of a sudden. This can have a negative impact on the brand value of your architecture firm.
Once you successfully handle the existing social media profiles, you can then venture into other options. Some social media platforms that could be useful for architects are:
Facebook: It is the most important social media platform for almost all businesses. With a rapidly increasing user base, you cannot afford to not have a Facebook business profile. Below is a screenshot of the Facebook profile of KPMB architects:
Instagram: This can certainly be a great platform to showcase your past projects, give shout-outs to your teammates, post inspirational designs from nature, and much more. You can see a classic example of non-architectural content in the screenshot below.
LinkedIn: This social network is purely a business platform for making sophisticated connections with clients and other businesses. This is a space where you want to put your best foot forward and actively network with other architecture firms and build your reputation in the professional world. It is also a great platform to post your company research papers and case studies.
Twitter: This is a relatively simple social media network. It is an ideal space for posting your white papers and blogs, employee shout-outs, and general information.
Houzz: Houzz is one of the few social media networks that are specific to the field of design and architecture. You will find features similar to LinkedIn and Pinterest on Houzz that can help your business grow and attract more clients.
Identify social media best practices
One of the most common mistake that businesses make is that they limit their social engagement to promotional messages. This is possibly the effect of traditional marketing practices where the main focus was on push tactics. But in the world of social media marketing, professionals focus on building trust with customers and adding value to their lives.
So, before you start setting up various social media profiles, do some groundwork and identify the social media best practices other architectural firms use.
Some examples of social media best practices include:
Sharing content that is tangentially relevant to the field of architecture. This could be from one of your followers on Facebook or an article that could be useful for your target audience.
Look for twitter chats that are relevant to your brand and dive into it. This will give you some brand visibility and also help you connect with new people in your field.
Give out short daily or weekly tips to your audience. You can either do this using images or videos or even podcasts. You can also talk about the common problems your clients face and how to solve it.
Know your audience
Before you move onto creating content, it is important to understand who is your target audience. Are you only looking at customers in a specific geographical location? What is the average age group of your customer base? And what type of professionals will avail your service? You should be able to categorize your customer base. Once this is done, then you should figure out what type of content would interest them and when are they likely to online. Sources like Google Trends and Google Analytics provide information on online consumer behavior. You can also go through the analytics page of every social media page to understand your customers better.
Create captivating content
The next step is to develop a content strategy. It is only when you post the right content through the right social media channels to the right audience that you can succeed in your online marketing efforts. You should focus on having the right mix of content that includes videos, pictures, blogs, research papers, infographics, and GIFs. Once you start posting, you can make changes to the type of content you use depending on the results of the social media metrics. And remember to post consistently in each of your social media platforms for maximum reach.
Create an editorial calendar
Now you have decided on your social media channels and have created relevant content for your audience. How do you plan on posting the entire chunk of content you have created? To do this, you need to create an editorial calendar. It allows you to plan your weekly or monthly schedule for your posts. It also helps you maintain cadence in your posts. If you post 5 times every day on Facebook for a month, and then you disappear for some days, then it is bound to have a negative effect on your brand. But with the help of an editorial calendar, you will be able to maintain consistency in your posting patterns.
Once you are done preparing an editorial calendar, choose a suitable social media tools like HootSuite, TweetDeck, or Social Oomph. These scheduling apps help you manage your social media time effectively.
Invest in paid media
Paid media refers to all advertising that requires you to invest your capital. This could include PPC advertising, social media campaigns, email marketing, etc. While you spend your time, effort, and resources to create and post content, all of it will be useless if it does not reach the right audience. Paid media enables you to selectively target the type of audience you want to cater to and make the most of your content marketing efforts. This is especially true for small organizations who have to compete with big brands to gain more visibility. According to a post on Facebook by Sheryl Sandberg, there are 50 million small businesses using Facebook pages to connect with their customers. And as per an article published in the Forbes magazine, 4 million of these businesses rely on paid advertising for their brand.
Network with clients and competitors
Social media is the best way to network with your clients, influencers, and competitors from your industry just by sitting in your office. Some of the common ways of doing this could be by commenting on the posts of key influencers in the field of architecture. You could also use this opportunity to strike a conversation with experts in the field. This will instantly give your brand a lot of visibility and increase your follower base. Other ways could be by merely responding to messages and comments on your posts and giving life to the brand that you are representing. The whole idea behind networking is to increase the number of people you know and the number of people who know you. This, in turn, will help you get as many referrals as possible and also increase the credibility of your architecture firm.
Lastly, you should assess the performance of your social media marketing efforts. As per a report by Moz.com, this can be done using two approaches – quantitative and qualitative. In quantitative analysis, you can use the total number of followers/fans, the number of shares and likes in case of Facebook, the engagement for your posts (every social media channel has a different way of measuring engagement), and the click-through-rate to evaluate performance. And for the qualitative analysis, you can focus on factors like the influence of your posts on people, the conversation drivers, and the sentiment involved. You can measure influence with the help of several online tools like Klout and Social Authority. Sentiment analysis will tell you if your audience has loved, hated or been neutral towards the type of content you have been posting online.
With this beginner’s guide, you know how to go about creating a social media marketing plan for architects. But if you don’t have the time to go through the grind and efforts required to manage your social media, then you can choose to hire a professional to do the job.Original Source