Social Media Marketing for Architects & Engineers: Tips & Techniques
The electronic age has changed everything when it comes to marketing a business. No longer will an advertisement in the pages of the yellow book be enough to get customers knocking on your door. The next generation is web savvy and chooses Google as their first port of call when considering doing business with a company.
Many companies have been reaping the benefits of maintaining a strong online presence: increased business and customer loyalty, improved customer service, and better customer engagement.
Yet, many AEC firms are still slow to embrace the social media trend. Perhaps it is a generational issue or perhaps it is an idea (or misperception) that social media and AEC don’t mix. The reality is, however, that social media is here to stay and the time to implement social media techniques is now.
The stronger your online presence, the more you know, the better you can manage your reputation. It is time to join the conversation and take control of your online reputation. And remember, if you don’t, your competition will.
For AEC’s, thinking about developing a social media marketing plan, the first question to ask is who will take the reigns as the firm’s Social Media Manager. There are certain characteristics and qualities that should be sought when choosing someone for this position; qualities and characteristics that help ensure embarking on this social media process will be profitable and successful.
Hiring the Right Person
When hiring a social media manager, companies will often select a candidate based on one key trait:
Age – is the employee young?
This is a trap that companies from many industries fall into, AEC firms being no different. This ill-informed requirement arises from the presumption that youth equals someone who is digitally savvy and understands the confusing world of hashtags, podcasts, and viral marketing.
While they may be clued into the use of personal social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook etc., it’s important to remember that the management of a personal social media account differs entirely from the management of a business’s social media account. The former revolves around casual contact with friends and acquaintances. The latter is about presenting a business’s core values, objectives and goals with current and prospective customers. A completely different ball game!
This perception (and often misunderstanding) of the young employee’s social media skills often sets the employee and the entire program up for failure from the start.
Instead, your firm’s social media manager should:
- Have a strong understanding of marketing communication and social media marketing
- Show an interest in staying up-to-date with rapidly changing trends
- Express themselves very well in writing
- Understand the firm’s marketing goals and strategy
- And, of course, have the time in their work days to properly take on a social media and/or digital marketing strategy
To get a better idea if an employee you have in mind is right for the role, imagine yourself in this scenario:
Would you allow this employee to create a marketing newsletter sent by snail mail to all current and potential clients? This piece would be completely designed by the employee in question, with graphics, photos, and verbiage developed and distributed without your review.
Would you feel comfortable allowing the employee to do this? If the answer is yes, then that person may well be a great fit.