Articles

Program: Social Media Marketing - Useful Tool or Passing Fad

Do you tweet? Are you LinkedIn or on Facebook? According to Forrester Research, since 2007 social networking users have doubled. In 2009, 55.6 million adults or just less than one third of the U.S. population now visit social networks at least monthly. A breakdown from the study is provided to the right.

Jim Walton, Chief Executive Officer of Brand Acceleration, Inc. presented at the SMPS Atlanta program in February. The presentation provided an overview of different social media and how it is being utilized. The program stimulated questions from the audience, but left many more questions.

How does it apply to the AEC industry? What type of guidelines should a company have related to social media? Which media should I use personally and professionally? I have a profile, but what should I be doing with it?

How does it apply to the AEC industry?
There are firms in the AEC industry utilizing social media, but it is still new to the industry. Some resources to find out more include blogger,
Markitecture Consulting, who discusses how his firm utilizes social media. Ingrid Ricks provides a presentation on SlideShare (another social medium) of why social media marketing has the potential to differentiate the successful architectural firms of the future. Social media isn't just a fad, but rather a tool for innovative firms that are ready to embrace new ways to capture attention.

What type of guidelines should a company have related to social media?
If you are involved in LinkedIn, you will find groups you can join related to you and your client's industry. These groups have discussions where you can ask questions or just read what others are posting. This exact question was asked on one of the forums I'm a part of. There are many social media guidelines that have already been developed by companies. So why create your own when you can borrow? Social Media Today answers this question and probably many others you might have on social media.

Which media should I use personally and professionally?
There are many other social media avenues. Most people utilize Facebook for personal relationships and LinkedIn for professional relationships. However, that is not true for all services. If your service is geared towards residential users for example, you might create a group on Facebook or even pay to have your ad appear. Blogs, Youtube, Twitter, and Flicker are some that can easily be used for both. To the right are some social media icons. How many do you know?

I have a profile, but what should I be doing with it?

Most of those that attended the SMPS Atlanta program indicated they had a Facebook account and LinkedIn page. However, many people don't realize how you can boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so searches on the internet find you and your company more easily. I found a YouTube clip that discusses just a couple of these items. You can do a search on Google or YouTube to find others.

These are just a few items to help you begin your journey into social media. Please post comments to let SMPS Atlanta know what else you might want to know about this subject or if you are an expert on the matter and have other suggestions, post those.

Sarah Mackley Gonnella