How Architects Can Use Social Media

Kansas City AIA Chapter

Savvy architects and other professionals are using the Internet and social media as a way to drive brand awareness, connect with people with similar passions and to do what all business owners seek – attract leads and clients.

At a recent Kansas City AIA Chapter meeting, I gave a presentation on social media with Cindy Frewen, an architect, educator, blogger, Twitter personality and fellow Kansas City dweller.

Cindy is nothing short of fantastic. She’s smart, savvy, has owned her own successful architecture firm for many years and now has a Ph.D., travels, consults, teaches, blogs about urbanism and sustainability and is a whirlwind of a talented person doing great things.

Cindy is also the personification of an architect who uses social channels to grow and develop her own brand, make new connections, and gain a reputation as a thought leader.

And that’s exactly why the Kansas City AIA Chapter asked us to speak about social media.

The Basics: Why Social Media, Stats on Usage + ROI

I started off the conversation and took the group through the basics. That included discussing how today’s business website should be the hub of all your business operations and that you should regularly “feed” that hub with fresh content from places like your corporate blog, YouTube, Flickr, social channels, etc.

I took them through some stats designed to show the naysayers that social media isn’t just for kids, and also showed them how inbound marketing can be exponentially more profitable than the traditional outbound marketing tactics that many of us have grown up utilizing. I concluded by showing them how a corporate blog – whether your business is large or small – can have a large impact on your new business development efforts and that, along with a well-designed website and use of social media channels, is the epitome of an integrated marketing strategy

Next Steps: Tactics, Growth, Research, Best Practices for Content

That positioned the audience for Phase II of the presentation, which was presented by Cindy. She took the audience from the basis and the strategic elements covered in the overview, straight to the tactics. She talked with them about how she initially got involved in social media and illustrated the growth process that it has resulted in for her, her practice and career. Ever the educator, Cindy shared tips about with how she uses social channels to gather research and to understand her diverse audiences.

She shared concrete ideas about what makes a blog interesting and how to think about what kind of content you want to create and that your audience might be interested in. Cindy provided examples of some great, industry specific yet very diverse blogs, so that the audience could get a sense as to the wide range of options that exist when it comes to corporate blogging.

Cindy is very involved on Twitter and shared examples of a variety of Twitter accounts of different architects, bloggers and architecture firms, so that the audience could see the many different ways that architects are represented in this milieu – and how they all use Twitter differently. She also shared ideas on best practices for sharing content, at which she’s a master.

Cindy wrapped up her presentation with some hints of what’s to come (after all, she’s a futurist), and our presentation concluded.

The Presentation

The SlideShare presentation is embedded below, and if you have any questions or if you would like more information about anything covered here, feel free to ping Cindy @urbanverse or me @ShellyKramer on Twitter and/or leave a comment here on the blog.

And, if you’re an architect thinking that you need to get change with the times and get on board with an updated website, a blog and a social media presence, you’re absolutely right!

Image Credit: Kansas City AIA

  • Erica Allison

    Very cool presentation, Shelly! I think this is highly applicable and relevant to any corporate entity or small biz, not just architecture and design.  I really loved the sample tweets from varying perspectives included in the presentation, as well as the screen shots for other architects’ twitter pages – smart way to make it stick!

  • Anonymous

    Nice slideshare ! I think, more than ever, now is the time for small architectural firms to reconsider their web and social media presence, not only because of social media’s penetration but because of the opportunities available to better present their work through HTML5, jQuery, etc. and begin to move away from the more cumbersome and SEO-problematic Flash-based websites.

    Besides the obvious platforms – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, architects – especially those with small practices — should be taking advantage of Youtube (and Flickr) to feature their work. YouTube is the “secret weapon” of social media. One of the ways to figure this out is to start looking at how the best photographers build their sites and use social media.

    Although I’ve never had the opportunity to build a site for an architect (ironically — Architecture is my first degree) I do think that the emerging technologies make this a perfect time for Architects to review both their social media presence and how they present their work on the web.

  • Christopher Cole

    Great post, Shelly!  My step-daughter was just accepted to Lawrence Tech University here in southeast Michigan and is studying architecture so this is good stuff I will pass long. 

  • Colleen Tompkins

    Thank you for sharing your slides. We attended a similar presentation at AIAKC last year but missed this one.

  • Anonymous

    Sure thing, Colleen. Glad you enjoyed!

  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome, Christopher. Good for her!!! It’s a great field for women.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you one million percent! And the same is true of many small businesses (and professional practices). The same principles apply, it’s just a shift in marketing tactics from traditional, old-school methods to the integration of smart online technologies. And it’s not hard, just different.

    Unfortunately, convincing folks to change is always a challenge.

    But when they do, and they start to see results that are measurable – well, it’s all worthwhile.

    And that is what I am fortunate enough to be able to do on a daily basis.

    Thanks so much for coming by – love the way you think :))

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Erica. I agree. 

    And the sample tweets were the brilliance of  Cindy Frewen (@urbanverse:disqus on Twitter) — she’s an architect and deeply immersed in the space, so she does a great job of helping teach others how to tackle social media.

    Thanks for coming by!!!

  • Anonymous

    You too Shelly:) Great topic choice ! 

  • Peter Papesch, AIA

    Thank you for a very valuable presentation.
    One suggestion to help us neanderthals/luddites (i.e. architects trained before you were born … ;-): add links of how to engage in blogs, twitter, facebook, etc., i.e. links where the basics of each is explained and sample tutorials for engaging or starting can be found.

    Peter Papesch, AIA
    Chair, BSA Sustainability Education Committee
    Former (founding) chair and current member, USGBC Massachusetts Education Committee
    Co-chair, Back Bay Green Initiative
    Member, BSA COTE
    617 267-6598
    papesch@mac:disqus
    .com

  • Anonymous

    Hi Peter,

    I’m probably the same as that you are – so be careful there on the neanderthal references. You know how we women can be about age.

    Because you asked so nicely, I’ll write a post about it … with those kinds of resources articulated. How’s that for responsive?

    PS if you’ll email me with your mailing address, I’ll send you a super book on Twitter that was written by a friend, that’ll be a nice starting point. Send it to me at shelly @ v3im dot com.

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