Blog Page

Drowning 02

How do you succeed at Social Media? That’s what you really want to know isn’t it? That’s why you’re here. You want to know what it is that makes some people successful at marketing on Social Media while others are just scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed wondering why they’re wasting their time.

When I was first preparing to present Architect of the Internet at a Regional AIA Convention I sought out a few people that I knew had experience presenting to Architects about Social Media on a stage larger than I was used to.

One of those people was Bob Borson, the author of the Life of an Architect. If you’re not familiar with it, Bob’s work on Life of an Architect is fantastic. It’s definitely worth your time to check it out.

One of the things that we talked about was this very question: “How do you succeed at Social Media?”

We went round and round about tactics and platforms and the idea of taking the conversation to where your clients are but we always came back to the idea that the first thing you have to do is ask yourself:

Let’s face it, your clients may not be using Social Media. It depends on who your customers or clients are. How much time are Doctors and Attorneys and School Superintendents spending on Social Media? They may be too old!”

Or, as Google reaches deeper and deeper into our lives, they may unwittingly be using Social Media as a research tool to find you … or your competition.

Maybe you shouldn’t be using Social Media. Maybe you have absolutely nothing to gain from using Social Media. Maybe you need to admit that Social Media is not the right fit for you the same way you sometimes have to decide that certain clients are not the right fit for you.

If you’re still drinking the Kool-Aid you have to ask the question. “What do I want to get from Social Media?”

  • Do you want to be seen as an expert or authority?

  • Do you want to find a new job?

  • Do you want to find new clients?

  • Do you want to find better employees?

  • Do you want to advance our profession?

What does your boss want from Social Media? ROI?

What is ROI? What does that mean? How do you measure it? Does it necessarily mean that you can attribute landing certain projects directly to your Social Media efforts?

Maybe; maybe not.

I know for a fact that in the past 3 years at the firm where I work, ONE 10 STUDIO, we can directly attribute two custom homes, a major residential renovation, a potential development deal and a brewery project which has subsequently led to 3 more brewery projects … all to our efforts in Social Media.

That’s pretty decent and measurable ROI but are we doing it right? Are we aligning our Social Media efforts with our company objectives? Maybe we could be getting more out of it. Maybe we’d be more successful in the long run if we focused our efforts differently.

In one of my articles here on Architect of the Internet I asked what readers wanted to know about Social Media. Here are some of the comments that came back:

  • I’d like to hear how social media could be used to spread the appreciation of architecture.

  • I would like to hear ideas on how social media could be used to connect end users into the design process.

  • We are often left to speculate on whether or not a building is “successful.” Social media could provide a feedback loop that helps create better architecture.

  • I’d like to know how we can use the internet to band together and create something greater than each of us individually!

  • I want to know what other architects use social media for primarily … camaraderie or outbound marketing?

  • As a student, I’ve noticed my peers and I are struggling at how to make the transition from a collegiate to a professional profile on social media.

  • My biggest struggle with social media is connecting with potential clients. How can social media be used to attract and ultimately engage with potential clients?

That’s quite a variety.

The Altimeter Group revealed in “The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Business Transformation,” that “most businesses … do not align Social Media strategies with business objectives.”

ecornell infographic

A study by Cornell University shows that of the business leaders they surveyed, 92% believe that their marketing teams need a better understanding of who their target market is.

Those statistics sound bad but they’re not unique to Social Media. It’s Marketing 101. These are the types of things that many, many businesses lose sight of.

In “What is Social Media? Where do we Start?” I talked about the fact that in order to be successful you have to make connections and make contributions; you have to join the conversation.

But if you don’t know who your audience is where are you going to find them?

If you don’t align your strategy with your overarching business objectives what are you going to talk about?

You can waste a lot of time and effort on Facebook or your blog or whatever if you don’t consider those two things.

If you don’t align your Social Media strategy with your objectives and identify and locate your target market; if you don’t know what you want to get out of Social Media you’re flail around blindly and eventually become overwhelmed.

You may ask yourself “Is Social Media worth it?”

Seth Godin was asked if Social Media was “worth it” for businesses. I really enjoyed his answer:

“If you’ve got Facebook, you’re probably my Friend because God knows I have enough of them and it’s worthless to you. It’s worthless to have lots and lots of friends on Facebook because they’re not really your friends. It’s just people that didn’t want to offend you by pressing the ignore button.

And if you’ve got 5,000 people following you on Twitter because you tell a dirty joke every couple of hours that’s not particularly useful for your business either.

The internet is this giant cocktail party with all these people swarming around connecting as much as they can because they’re keeping score. Who likes me today, who’s talking about me today. But one day when you need to ask them to authorize a $100,000 contract it doesn’t matter.

What matters is where are the real relationships.

Now I have real relationships with thousands of people around the world. There are people I’ve never met who I could email in New Zealand that would let me sleep in their living room for 3 days if I was in town. Because we’ve done stuff for each other. Because we’ve exchanged worthwhile ideas. Because people have been connected by real things not just a couple of bits lining up.

Networking is always important when it’s real and it’s always a useless distraction when it’s fake. The internet has allowed an enormous amount of fake networking to take place. It’s so easy to be seduced by it because there’s a dashboard; a scoreboard that says look how popular I am … and it’s nonsense. If you’re measuring that, it’s like measuring hits to your website; it doesn’t translate.

What translates is there are people out there who I would go out of my way for and who would go out of their way for me. That’s what you need to keep track of and the way to get there is to go out of your way for them and by earning the privilege of one day having that connection.”

You can watch the video of Seth’s answer below.

So how do you succeed at Social Media? I think the answer is easier than many people think. It’s definitely overlooked more often than not.

Ask: “What do I want to get out of Social Media?”

Align your Social Media Strategy with your Business Objectives.

Know who and where your Target Market is.

Sure, there are lots of tips and tactics and best practices that have to be followed along the way but if you start with those 3 things you’ll be well on your way to success in Social Media.

So what do you want to get out of Social Media? Do you have a Social Media Strategy? I’d like to know. Let me know in the comment section below.

My goal is to start an open dialogue and let Architect of the Internet be a forum where we can all learn to have success in the business of architecture through Social Media.

Subscribe to my Email Newsletter

I’ll send you short messages that will contain a tip or an update or ask you a question. Maybe it will have all three. Architect of the Internet is all about the conversation and helping you succeed online.

* indicates required

Email Format

Powered by MailChimp

About Jeff Echols

Jeff Echols is the creative Storyteller for Award-Winning architecture firms and the Social Media Campaign Manager for industry professionals. He is a graduate of Ball State University with over 20 years’ experience in the marketing departments of firms ranging from three to three thousand employees.

Jeff spends countless hours studying, developing and implementing strategies for insuring marketing success for Architects and other business owners in the online arena. He documents the good, the bad and the ugly in Social Media at Architect of the Internet and speaks about Conquering Social Media in venues ranging from the Board Room to the Convention Stage.


  1. For Fivecat Studio we’ve narrowed our target market to a very specific avatar; a working executive mom, 35-45 yrs old with a residential project budget between $500 to $1m. When we focused our efforts on a specific target market, everything changed for our business.

    Thanks Jeff for preparing such a comprehensive post.

  2. So what do you want to get out of Social Media?
    For Duel Architecture, priority number one was just getting our name out there and getting known. The firm existed in the city, but was essentially non-existent. The goal was to create recognition for us. I wanted my coworkers to be able to say “I work at Duel Architecture” and have the other person say, “oh yeah, I have heard of them” instead of “who?” The though process being that with recognition came the opportunity for projects. If no one knows about you, how can they consider you for potential projects?

    Do you have a Social Media Strategy?
    It is loose, and continues to evolve. I think our current Twitter description sums it up – “We are an architecture firm passionate about everything architecture, art, design, and of course our community of Calgary.” Using those guidelines, that is typically the kind of information I share. I want to show that we are not only committed to the profession, but our community as well. So far, it seems to be working.

    • Thanks for your comment Erin! It’s great that you keep employees / co-workers in mind when you’re thinking about your Social Media goals. From a business perspective it’s obviously important that everyone be proud of the work they’re doing. From a Social Media standpoint you can really leverage your content by involving your co-workers in the creation and especially in sharing. If you’re creating content that everyone at Dual Architecture wants to share, you have the ability to increase your reach exponentially.

      It’s OK for your Social Media Strategy to evolve. I think that your strategy has to be a “living document.” Things in Social change so often and so quickly that you have to be able to morph with them. BUT, throughout all the changes your Social Media Strategy should always be grounded in your Business Objective and the question: “What do we want to get out of Social Media.”

      It sounds like you’re doing a great job. Keep it up! – Jeff


  1. […] “How do you Succeed at Social Media?” […]

  2. […] How do You Succeed at Social Media? […]

Speak Your Mind


↑ Top of Page