So exactly what is social media marketing and why must designers quickly adopt a strategy?
Social media marketing is all about connecting with people on a human basis through conversations and shared interests. Its focus is primarily on the consumer and sharing information that will help them grow. Humans like to engage with others, share their interests and events that are going on in their lives.
An informed customer is a better customer, although I often hear, “What do I do? The customer knows too much, and the information is wrong?”
The new sales climate brings a customer who has many ways to get information. They can go to Facebook, Pinterest or Houzz to name a couple to get ideas. They are watching television shows that teach them how to do most everything. If you’re not on any of these sites, you are likely to lose your edge. Adding your information to these sites builds what we call social currency.
The term social currency was coined by Vivaldi Partners in 2010. According to their definition, social currency is the degree to which customers share a brand or information about a brand with others. In this case, you are the brand. In order to gain social currency you must post on various sites. We’re talking about sharing yourself and encouraging your consumers to evaluate and add to your posts.
As humans, we like to engage with others who share our interests, even when we haven’t yet met. If you’re putting yourself as the expert, you will have to develop content so people can comment and share what you’re written. Now you are building social currency.
- People buy your talent and your expertise. How will they know who you are unless you can share what you do? If people aren’t talking about you, you don’t exist. Produce a White Paper on “How to Hire an Interior Designer or “Why Hiring a Designer will save you Money.” Talk about your awards and professional affiliations.
- Buy a good camera to take photos of your jobs. Take many photos of the same room so you can determine which ones are the best. Also make sure you have a good head shot of yourself. As the associate publisher for Fabulous Floors Magazine, I’m always looking for great room shots but often come up empty handed. I hear about great jobs, but the photos are missing. If you’re taking photos, don’t forget to do a little ‘staging.’ This is another way to sell the customer more products and also help them dream
- LinkedIn is another good place to blog and join interior design groups. Engaging with other designers can give you lots of information about consumers. What are your peers doing, are they using social media and what is working for them. Participate in discussions and share what you’re doing. You’re likely to find new ways to market yourself and your product as well as a customer or two. You can also blog on LinkedIn.
- Make sure your online reputation is solid. Notice what people are saying about it; if it’s not all good, find a way to fix it. Get as many positive comments you can.
- Spend time creating your own fan club. Past clients who love you can spread the word across the Internet for you, but you must ask them to do it. 90% of your business is through referrals so why not have your delighted customers talked about you?
- If you’re doing a design for a show or model home, make sure your name, phone and website are visible to all. You can give a gift for anyone who contacts you.
- Produce a webinar on color, style or design tips. This could be free to past and present customers or charge a nominal fee to “not yet customers.” I’m not a fan of charging, there are too many places to get this information for free. You can host an online color clinic or how to design on a budget on five easy steps.
- Hold a design event in your studio. Partner up with a vendor, possibly a restaurant or florist or anyone with an email data base so you can increase your email reach.
- Keep at it and continue to engage your customers. Be consistent with your postings and give it time. It will pay off.
Lisbeth Calandrino is Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine as well as Director of Social Media. She is a regular speaker at flooring and design conferences as well as interior design events. She can be reached at www.lisbethcalandrino.com