Resolve to Be Social

Soon everyone in the building industry will understand the game-changing power of social media marketing. Those who don’t will be left behind.

Social media has come a long way in the A/E/C world. When I founded Smartegies five years ago, I remember my first client, George Heery, asking me what I thought about Facebook, LinkedIn and that “tweeting thing.” I remember telling him I thought we should “wait and see.”

I, like many others at the time, looked at social media platforms with a certain degree of skepticism, wondering if they brought value to the B2B professional services arena, or was it really just something for consumer brands. About a year later, it all clicked in my head. I started to see the possibilities.

Fast forward to today. The A/E/C industry has come a long way with the use of social media. Firms are beginning to understand the power of social platforms to reach a broader audience, build thought leadership, drive website engagement, forge relationships, recruit talent and generate leads.

LinkedIn seems to be maintaining its position as the #1 platform used by firms in the built environment with more than 20,000 discussion groups dedicated to the A/E/C industry and related fields. Blogs, TwitterFacebookInstagram and others are steadily growing platforms, as well.

Those firms who were “early adopters” are way ahead now, reaching millions of contacts globally. Those in denial are still having the conversation about whether or not their target audience uses social media. The majority of firms are somewhere in the middle. They have accepted that social media is important to grow their business, but the “how to” is still unclear.

Like everything else, the more you use it, the more you will understand it, and soon you will see the endless possibilities. Here are some ways to think about social media to get you motivated:

  • Think about social media as “word of mouth” marketing powered by technology.
  • Think of connecting virtually with other professionals just like you would at an industry networking event.
  • Post your pictures of your team and your work. Layer on a contest that engages your audience.
  • Consider hosting a virtual design charrette.
  • Start a discussion group or actively participate in one.
  • Host a webinar (a virtual lunch n’ learn).
  • Start a community Facebook page dedicated to a major project.
  • Use the platforms to conduct research and publish your findings.
  • Write a blog.
  • Post videos of yourself speaking.

For years, firms have spent thousands of dollars on public relations efforts to help them get their message out. With social media, you can own your media and push it out to millions by building a digital community of followers. Whatever you decide to do, start with a plan. Treat your social media as an integral part of your business and write a plan, assign a budget and measure your results!

Here’s wishing you a Happy & Social New Year!