Joanna’s Social Media Tips, Part 1 — What is all the fuss about?

Joanna Schuurman shares her insights into the world of social media for architects and related industries, and looks at why it is worth the hassle.

For many of us, the world of social media is a scary place, where technology moves fast and conversations even faster, where attention spans are short, and not all that is said can be strategised and managed.

Social media is not a trend
Different platforms may come and go. Their popularity can increase just as quickly as it wanes. However, our reliance on the ability to connect online, at any time of the day, with our friends, family and professional networks, has become fundamental to modern life. Social media is an integral part of how we communicate with one another—on both personal and professional levels.

Be part of the conversation, or your competitors will
Companies and brands recognise the power of social media in reaching audiences to a scale and depth never conceived of before. Architecture media powerhouses, such as ArchDaily (with 6 million visits per month) and Architecture and Design, heavily rely on social media to reach existing readers and gain new ones. Their core websites have been optimised to leverage social media’s viral marketing power, meaning unprecedented exposure for featured projects and practices. Tapping into these online discussions through your own social media channels means potentially reaching thousands, if not millions, of design enthusiasts and alike, across the globe.

Savvy companies see that conversations pertinent to their business and industry are happening everywhere and all the time. The choice is to be a strong voice in the conversation, or have someone else do it for you—and that might be your competitor. Smart businesses know that unless they jump on board, opportunities will be missed.

Pitch yourself
A smart social media strategy can ensure you cut through the online ‘noise’ and reach former, existing and potential clients and customers. This opens up new opportunities for brand building and business development. It is also important for profile raising. Cassie Hansen, Editor of Artichoke, one of Australia’s leading interior architecture and design magazines, says:

“…a huge mistake architects make is not having a social media presence. It is 2014! If you don’t have an active social media account right now, fix it today! A good social media account can do the (media) pitching for you.” Read Cassie’s full article here…

The more online presence you have, the more likely you will be top of mind for the people that matter to your business.

Build relationships
Social media gives you a voice, but it’s not necessarily about being heard. Gone are the days of mass communication, of one-directional broadcasts to captive audiences. Audiences are now in the driver’s seat. Social media provides a way for companies to listen and learn, and then engage. Targeted social media that is in tune with your audience means you can bring real value to each interaction, helping current and potential clients really get to know you and your business.

Social media is an investment of time and money. However, failing to get on board means neglecting a fundamental part of how we now communicate with each other, and potentially losing out on valuable business development, brand and profile building opportunities.

In Social Media Part 2, I will break down the key elements of an effective social media strategy.


By Joanna Schuurman

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