The question we’re all asking. Am I wasting my time?
OR . . .
am I more connected with family, friends and, clients? The answer is yes, these tools keep us in contact with people we would otherwise have no easy connection to.
The conversation then becomes how can we use it as a tool rather than a distraction.
The power of social media is that people are checking in everyday because they want to be connected to the people and ideas that they love. This is the watering hole of now.
People are not going to your website everyday, even if you do updates, have events, and giant giveaways. But they are on social media everyday. The reason it’s so powerful is because the information is no longer one-sided. When you sit down with a newspaper if you disagree with the writer or want to encourage them, it takes an effort to figure out how to get that information to right person, without much hope of hearing back from them. Social media allows for discourse and engagement. When you look at it like that, the possibilities start to illuminate. We are now being asked to participate. It isn’t a distraction if the people & ideas you are engaging with are important to you.
The #1 reason people buy any product or service is that they trust that product or service will improve their lives.
How do businesses gain trust. Communication.
There has never been a more efficient way to communicate with a niche community ever. Nor has there ever been a time when it was easier to find that niche. If you look at it like that, then yes! It’s worth your time.
How to be efficient with your time? Schedule it! (or hire someone)
The program I like to use is later.com. They offer a free account for one user and you can schedule multiple posts to multiple platforms all from a computer. YES! There are lots of scheduling apps out there, but I like later.com because they specialize in Instagram and they also do Pinterest which not all schedulers do.
I set aside about 2 hours a week and schedule posts for the entire month. Pinterest and Facebook are posted automatically, and with the Later App on my phone I get notified when an Instagram post is ready to roll. Instagram requires that you post from a phone.
Overall I suggest choosing one platform that sounds fun and dabble a little. For creative professionals usually instagram is an easy place to start. You can do it on your phone, on the fly, experimenting with family, travel and then easing into some professional things. If you decide to go totally pro with it later, you can always curate your feed (see this post) later. If you do like instagram, then setting up on later allows you to upload super high quality photos from your computer, link it to your other accounts, and you’re off and running.
There are so many. How do I choose?
In general, the best platforms for architects & builders are:
One by one, here are the benefits.
Benefits of Houzz:
The demographics of Houzz are older, have more money to spend and are specifically on that platform because they are looking to build or remodel. Even with a free profile you can display an unlimited amount of portfolio images. You can engage with your audience and use it as a tool with existing clients to put together idea books to help move current projects along, while inspiring other people just browsing at the same time. The platform is location specific and you can find other professionals in your area to collaborate with.
Disadvantages of Houzz:
House has 25 million monthly users, while Facebook is coming up on 2 billion, and Instagram is over 600 million. The images tend to be less creative than you will find on Pinterest or Instagram and the content is not updated as frequently so engagement with users is not as rich.
Benefits of Instagram:
I can’t lie, I’m a super fan and like many others, disappointed when it was bought by Facebook. As of this writing, it is the number one place to get engagement from users. Sixty percent of adults that spend time online have an Instagram account, 500 million of the 800 million people on Instagram are active every single day. That’s huge. When people engage with you, they trust you and are more likely to purchase from you. You can link to your website and that’s good for google search engine optimization (SEO).
Disadvantages of Instagram:
It tends to be a younger demographic, but that group is getting older every day and these groups have influence with their parents. As a mom, I can say with confidence that I will always want to keep tabs on my boy, no matter how old he is. The clean design and visual weight of the platform is perfectly suited for architects and builders. You’ll find a very active design community. People go to Instagram to get inspired.
Benefits of Pinterest:
The biggest and often unknown advantage of Pinterest is that every single post is linked to a specific url. Instagram only gives you one link for your entire profile. With Pinterest you can specify a different url for every single post. If that post gets pinned by other users that creates another unique link on another profile. You can attach different pages from your website to different photos depending on the content. This can all be done through the Later.com profile. The images on Pinterest are usually more creative than on any other platform and the search ability is outstanding. Pinterest is a search engine of the most creative images on the web. If people are looking to find something more original than Houzz offers they are likely going to Pinterest. This is also a great way to put together ideas with clients with shared pin boards.
Disadvantages of Pinterest:
150 million monthly users. This is still more than Houzz, but less than Instagram’s 800 million. And, it’s one more thing! I know know, why are there so many, and then they come and go. How do you keep track of all of it? The beauty of Later.com is that you can design and write one post and then distribute it to your whole system at the same time.
Benefits of Facebook:
Two billion people is a big piece of the pie. If you already have a devoted following, Facebook can be very effective for designers and builders. If you have cash to spend on ads Facebook can be very effective. Video rates higher in the FB algorithm so if you’re good in front of a camera, use it. The thing I like the best about Facebook is that I can schedule the same post intended for Instagram with Later.com and it will post automatically, you don’t have to post it from your phone like Instagram. It’s hard to spit advantages and disadvantages because it’s all kind of mixed together, but for me the disadvantage is that it is distracting. I go there to manage a client’s account and I end up scrolling through family photos, which to be honest, keeps me connected to friends I would have otherwise lost touch. So I can’t groan about that.
Disadvantages of Facebook:
The largest disadvantage is that organic engagement with Facebook is low, meaning you need to pay for ads to get seen. Unless people have bad things to say about you. In which case it can become a dumping ground.
I recently did a marketing review of a large manufacturing company. They have a great website with beautiful photographs and clever copywriting, all good. I was ready to buy their product, but just to make sure I pulled up their Facebook page. Their last post was 8 months ago, and in the comments of this last post there were ten negative comments about terrible customer service, warning people not to buy their product. Then I made a phone call to get more detailed information about their product and was on hold for ten minutes.
The benefit of Facebook for the customer is that you can see how they interact with their customers. In this case there was no interaction at all. The company wasn’t even aware that these negative posts were there. If people want to warn people off a company they will find a way to do it online, whether or not you have a Facebook page.
If you do have a Facebook page, keep it updated, it doesn’t have to be everyday, even a couple of times a month is good. When I research a company I want to do business with and they don’t have a Facebook page it makes me wonder why. Are they afraid of getting bad reviews? Are they technology adverse, and in turn behind the ball in their own field of technology? Hmm.
Benefits of YouTube:
While Facebook has more users than Youtube, this giant is the second most visited site worldwide right behind google. If you like giving tutorials and video instructions, go go go. Video is hot on all platforms. Make sure to load up your descriptions and titles with keywords that your ideal clients would use. Skip the industry jargon and imagine your favorite client reading the information. Would they interrupt you to explain what this or that means? There is no doubt that video is the way of the future. It’s very personal, which is why people eat it up. Besides meeting you in person, this is the quickest way for people to sum you up. Good or bad, if you are the face of your business people want to see it, know it, and decided if you are their kind of people. Nothing wrong with that. You want to work people you get along with and this is just one more tool for them to decide if they want to do business with you.
Disadvantages of YouTube:
If you’re camera shy this might be a tough one. The largest disadvantage for me though, is that I can’t schedule it. I can do video on Instagram and Facebook and even do live video. This is something I’ll be investigating more this year. At the moment I’m using it to document the adventures of my three-year old. As I get more comfortable with it, who knows, maybe I’ll start to do live Instagram classes. I have thought about it.
Thanks for stopping by. I’m humbled and inspired by your interest.
If you are interested in hiring us to manage your social media I would be delighted to hear from you, give me a call.