9 Ways to Grow Your Interior Design Business Using Social Media Marketing

Social media matters more than ever.

Social media matters more than ever.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Keep at it and continue to engage your customers. Be consistent with your postings and give it time. It will pay off.

More tips from High Dollar Designer, http://highdollardesigner.com/get-new-clients-for-your-interior-design-business-with-social-media-marketing. Thanks to PinkCloud for the image.

 

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

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USING HOUZZ TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS

houzzEveryday there’s something new in social media, but not every day does Houzz come along. Houzz is an online community about decorating, landscape design architecture and home improvement. If you’re in the flooring industry, could there be anything better?

Houzz was founded in 2009 by Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen as a result of their remodeling experience. Instead of cutting pages out of magazines for their project, they decided to create an online data bases. In December 2010 they released a mobile app for iPad which was downloaded over five-million times.

How can you use it? I asked  Teresa Henton Account Executive at h2b Creative in Chattanooga, Tennessee to create a blog post. Thanks Teresa..

Houzz can be thought of as an idea generator; the app’s search feature links professionals, products and users.  Thousands of Houzz members are on the site because they are planning a renovation and are looking for inspiration. Registered professionals post their project photos complete with product information, architectural style and design features for free.  Users filter the images by room or style to pick their favorites, and add them to idea books.  Everyone can engage in discussions, ask questions, and get product information and tips.

Whether 2013 finds viewers buying a home, remodeling an existing space or just seeking a little curb appeal; their go-to-guide is Houzz. To help members search for the ideal design, professionals have shared one million images from their portfolios.  Each has a back-story or explanation, and some cross reference to other pictures for a specific project or designer.

Houzz users can sign up either as a homeowner, renter, or a home improvement professional or vendor. After signing up, users are offered a choice between getting inspired, seeing products, or finding professionals in their area.

Houzz allows professionals to successfully market to and communicate with potential clients. It is the largest database for residential design and decorating ideas.  Houzz is a collaborative platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community.

Reasons to be on Houzz;

  1. It’s a social site that’s growing and growing fast, 226,965 unique visitors per day!
  2. 90,000 professionals showcase their portfolios and share their work with a community dedicated to home and landscape design.  Can you afford not to be found on it?
  3. Houzz members collect favorite photos, find design professionals in their area and talk with other members. It could be you that they are talking about!
  4. It’s Free! It’s something that you just can’t pass up!

 

Lisbeth Calandrino is Director of Social Media and Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine. She can be reached for speaking or training at www.Lisbethcalandrino.com.