I love social media and watching AEC marketers and consultants alike use it to forge new, exciting relationships and of course business leads.
Combined with other inbound marketing techniques, social media is a very powerful beast. (The basic idea behind content-generated marketing, or inbound marketing, is to provide valuable content and draw in traffic because of it. Check out HubSpot for more info.) Social media helps that in many ways. From a search engine and branding perspective, blogs and twitter are great. From a networking standpoint, LinkedIn and Facebook are two of my faves for generating dialog and interaction.
How these tools are used is up to you and your marketing goals…and there are plenty of firms and people out there doing a great job right now in this area of marketing.
BUT…sometimes it reminds me of the old cartoon of Spike and Chester. Here’s how:
Joining a networking group of architects or marketers to participate, add value, meet new people is how it’s supposed to work. Then, when relevant, responding to questions or starting timely discussions makes a lot of sense and builds your reputation as an expert in a certain subject matter.
When things go awry though, it turns out to be more like “Hey everybody, look at me!” or “Hey Spike, do ya, do ya, do ya?” I see this happening when people tweet (and retweet) nonstop about themselves and their press releases and also when marketers hijack discussion boards with their own questions and then proceed to answer them themselves.
Not that every time this happens, it’s a travesty. After all, you are supposed to get out some info on your own firm as well. But the point is, if the content or questions are engaging or relevant enough, you won’t have to keep it going. It will take on a life of its own. If your first crack at it didn’t work, move on. Try another topic at another time.
I think my takeaway is that you can’t force your message on people in opt-in communities and social media environments. You just get “hidden”, blocked or kicked out. We’re all trying to build relationships and business and we have to do so by being genuine and patient, not by being Chester.