Way back in April of 2009 I wrote this post on how architecture firms could use social media. Interestingly enough, it’s still the most traveled post on my blog through organic search traffic.
I figured it made good sense to update that post a bit. For one, it’s pretty old…I mean, how much has changed since April of last year in the world of social media? Also, my post at the time was much more tactically focused. The suggestions I provided were really just ways to “dive in”.
For this post, I’d like to highlight a couple strategic ways that architecture (or any AEC) firms can use social media. More specifically, here are a few examples of goals that AEC firms may have, and how they can use social media to achieve them.
Approach New Markets – The dialogue created by social media is a powerful tool – not just in terms of networking, but also for monitoring, researching and analyzing trends. If you’re focusing on a new market, your firm can use social media to build your understanding of the priorities in that market/industry, as well as learn how to “talk the talk” appropriately. If you are really into the research, using a tool like ScoutLabs is a phenomenal way to gain insights and see what people are REALLY talking about.
Expert Positioning – If you’re amongst the firms that have been able to clearly define your areas of expertise or service offerings (meaning that your website doesn’t list every project and project type that you’ve ever completed), the use of social media can go a long way to help you establish yourself as the expert in a certain area. For a smaller residential firm, the example from that earlier blog post about being a neighborhood expert applies. For a larger firm, it may mean beginning a blog, ning community, and/or tweeting about acoustics engineering. The idea isn’t that you need a million people to follow, it’s that the right people appreciate what you have to share.
Develop New Skills – On the flipside of the expert coin, is the ability to tap into vast resources that you would have never known existed prior to social media. Just to use an example, there are currently 73 twitter users tagged in wefollow under BIM. A large number of these users are experts actively seeking dialogues with other people on how to better use BIM, what the benefits are, what the best training courses are…and better yet, just flat out sharing small tricks they’ve learned over time. Why not start there if your firm is considering a large investment in new technology this year? The same applies for project management, photoshop, CAFM and others.
As with any marketing, the best way for your firm to use social media is going to be based on your firm and its goals. There is no question though, that social media can and does have a place within your firm’s overall communications goals, it just has to be harnessed properly.