There’s three horses you need to ride if you are going to win the race, so saddle up with Facebook, Twitter, and a killer website.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves. In this installment of Marketing Matters for the AEC industry, we will break down the three essential social media platforms every AEC firm must use – Facebook, Twitter, and a killer website.
- Why? Everyone is on Facebook. The No. 1 social media platform boasts more than 1 billion active daily users. Facebook is a business tool employed by companies of every size. It has replaced websites as the mass market’s “online test of credibility.” It has one of the most powerful advertising programs on the internet. If you want to send an ad that is targeted to all of the 47-year-old male golfers in three specific neighborhoods in your city who make $250,000 or more a year, you can do that.
- How? Set up a Facebook account for your business. If you have a personal account, you will create a new page for your business. When you create the page, make sure you add your firm’s location, your firm logo to the “profile picture” tab, and a header image (which, to start off, can be the same picture as your firm logo). It seems like a very basic task, and it is, but many firms haven’t done this. To start, post twice a week (Monday and Friday, to make it easier). Share blog posts from your website (more on that in a bit), link to articles related to your niche, and share news stories you have been mentioned in. Distributing content that already exists or that was made by others is the easiest way to start. Invite all your employees (who have Facebook accounts) to like your page. Encourage them to share content that they had a part in creating. Run ads! Are you trying to win work in a certain region or state? Use Facebook’s Ad Builder to put together an ad that is displayed only to those in the area you have chosen.
- Why? A few months ago, I wrote a social media guide for the AEC industry and said that “Twitter was at the twilight of its relevance.” I’ll be the first to admit this: I was wrong. Twitter’s power lies in the ability for an individual or organization to directly engage with others with minimal barriers. The speed of interactions, trend-creation, and trend capitalization makes Twitter an important place to be.
- How? Set up a Twitter page if your firm doesn’t currently have one. Tweet at least once a day. Don’t know what to tweet about? That’s okay! Each day of the week has some sort of theme that is used every week, and you can piggyback off that theme. For example, Thursday’s theme is #ThrowbackThursday, where you post a picture or video of something that happened some time ago. You could post a throwback of a project you completed last year or a great work retreat from four months ago. Engage with people directly on Twitter. This is the most important Twitter action item. To directly engage with someone on Twitter, pull up their profile page and click either the “Tweet at” button or click on the “Compose a Tweet” button and type “@Username.” The value of this is simple; by engaging with people directly, you show the humanity of your company’s online presence. Engage with people around topics that interest them and that you have expertise in. Utilize Twitter Search to find trends and specific conversations to join. You can search to see all the people who are talking about “bridges” or the controversial development project via Twitter Search. Share your blog posts from your website. (Again, more on this in just a bit!) Hashtags! You don’t need to use a million hashtags, but a few hashtags (which index key terms in a tweet) will amplify the exposure (measured using the “impressions” metric on Twitter) your tweets get.
- Why? This is your office on the internet. This is home base for your clients and your employees. This is a great place to show off the work you do and your capabilities. Having a good website is no longer something that is “nice to have.” It is a necessity. The AEC industry is filled with bad websites, so at this stage, it pays big time to have an up-to-date website.
- How? Check out current web design trends and apply them to your website. Make sure that your website is mobile-responsive. Blog posts (finally!). Your firm offers specialized services. The services can only be rendered with the proper technical know-how, which you possess. You need to share what you know to the industry and the world at large. By publishing content regularly about the niche you operate in, you create a paper trail of your expertise. Educate your audience and they will reward you by coming to you for your professional services. Aim to post at least one new blog post each week. Distribute the posts through the channels mentioned above. Search engine optimization. Read up on the current trends in SEO and format your website and content to comply with those standards. If you have a third party managing your site, make sure that they are following current SEO protocols, as the rules change frequently. Publishing content like blog posts will improve your search engine ranking. Good SEO will help you move from being the 10th listing on the eighth page on a Google search to being on the first page of a search.
These are the three top platforms you need to develop when it comes to digital marketing. Now go forth and implement! Theory doesn’t matter if there is no action behind it. As always, I’m here to guide you through it.
Sanjay Jenkins is the marketing and e-commerce specialist at Zweig Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.Subscribe to the electronic version of The Zweig Letter for free.