Social media has become an essential marketing tool, but which ones should you use, and how do you get the best from them?
‘Profiles are raised, and being known really does matter to potential clients’
It’s no coincidence that many of the most successful young practices have very active Twitter profiles. Their profiles are an extension of their instinctive and natural marketing talents and they use Twitter to disseminate information, be opinionated, chat, connect with people and sometimes be amusing.
It’s almost impossible to measure what impact it has on them winning business but their profiles are raised, and being known really does matter to potential clients.
For control freaks, Twitter is difficult to comprehend and hard to master because its success is based on a freestyle format that just won’t work if every tweet is put through a committee.
There are many pitfalls but that can be said for any form of communication. Forget about producing a lengthy social media ‘rules manual’ and stick to common sense you would use in any face-to-face social situation: don’t be boring, don’t be offensive, don’t reveal confidential information about your business or your clients.
Be aware that, in the mind of the reader, your personal profile will be linked with your business (whether you like it or not), so don’t say anything that you would be embarrassed by if a client or colleague read it – now or in the future.
For me Twitter is as much about learning what is happening in the world as it is a marketing tool, and rarely does a day go by when something or someone doesn’t make me laugh and I don’t learn something new. That is a reward in itself.
Leanne Tritton, managing director of PR and communications agency ING Media
‘It has become my sketchbook – somewhere I can post quicker images’
There are many articles online, and many inexplicably expensive courses you can go on, that will expound the importance of social media for your business. They’ll use terms such as ‘the new media landscape’ and ‘brand personality’. While I have been commissioned after sharing photos on Instagram, it doesn’t tell the full story of why I recommend it.
As you’d expect from a professional photographer, I take a lot of photos. However, the majority of them are constructed with time, patience and for a purpose. In that spirit, Instagram has become my sketchbook – somewhere I can post quicker, more reactionary images, which can be easily dismissed as snapshots but play an important part in sharpening my eye.
It’s a place to post non-architectural photos alongside those of buildings: a particularly scary Thatcher coaster, a funny notice in my local, friends and family, plays of light, images from exhibitions I’ve visited. All composed and considered, but more importantly, all useful sketchbook snapshots.
So why share them? Why not just keep them on your phone? Maybe that’s where the user’s ego kicks in a little, but it’s also about sharing an experience and communicating with friends and followers about what you’re up to.
My enjoyment of Instagram is as much about seeing other people’s photos as it is about sharing my own. It takes time to figure out who to follow, to curate your timeline, but when you get it right you get a whole feed of fascinating, funny and inspiring images.
Jim Stephenson is an architectural photographer and film maker
‘LinkedIn means you are two or three connections from a potential client’
Used extensively as a recruitment tool by head-hunters, LinkedIn is the best online professional network. It helps anyone, including clients, find you and find out about you. If you are not on LinkedIn it’s as if you don’t exist.
Early adopters of social media may have been self-promoting show-offs, but not any more.
I recommend only connecting with someone you have actually met, spoken to, or had an email or Twitter exchange with. The only exceptions are journalists.
Business comes from those you know, and LinkedIn means you never need to cold call again – you are probably only two or three connections away from a potential client.
If you want to work for a housing developer, search the company and see who pops up in your extended network. If there is someone two connections away, just ask for an introduction.
You can ‘follow’ companies and individuals and be kept updated with their news. You can join groups of people with similar interests, such as hotels, projects in India or BIM.
You can actively participate by posting comments, and raise your profile with an audience who might be interested in your services. You can link your updates with your Twitter feed. Your profile can include presentations, drawings, photos, video clips, links to your website, contact information. You can use the message function to contact groups of contacts which you can sort or select by city, industry, company and so on.
If you are an introvert, LinkedIn can be easier than meeting people face to face; if you are outgoing anyway, then it will come naturally and you will have fun.
Lucy Mori, architect and founder of K L Mori Business Consulting for Architects