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Soon I’ll present “Architect of the Internet” at the 2013 AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention. In preparation, I’ve been researching and writing, watching videos and reviewing Social Media presentations from across the internet.

I’ve been to a number of these type presentations over the years; you probably have to. You know what they’re like. There’s usually a list of Social Media channels available and hopefully some examples of the good, the bad and the ugly; maybe even a demonstration of some useful tools.

My goal is to present something interesting, something relevant, something thought provoking … maybe even something different.

So as I’ve been plodding along jotting down notes and making mind maps, I’ve been feeling pretty good about the presentation I’m building. That was until that fateful day; the day when a mere trickle from the fire hose of information that I’ve been studying about content marketing and social media finally leaked through my thick skull and into my brain; the day of my epiphany. On that day I realized that I should ask YOU.

Well, what do YOU want? What would YOU want to see and hear in a presentation about social media for Architects?

How are you using Social Media?

What are you doing well? What do you need to learn?

Who do you know that’s doing Social Media for Architects well?

Leave a comment and let me know. 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.

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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.

Comments

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

  2. I want to know how much time other architects spend on socedia. Is myk 1.5 – 2 hours a day too much, even if it is part of the firm marketing budget? I want to know what other architects use socedia form primarily…camaraderie or outbound marketing? I would also like to invite architects to my google+ community for architects only and a select few reps from affiliate industries. Big Time Small Firm –
    Big Time Small Firm – https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/114143057621735158513/communities/114267999788399325633

    • Jeff Echols says:

      Thanks Jes! Those are all interesting questions (that we share by the way). Some of them have been addressed by Architect of the Internet readers (like you) in the comment section on “How do Architects use Social Media?” I invite everyone to reply to Jes’ questions either in the comments to that post or here.

      As for me, I’m spending about the same amount of time that you are with the exception of my work on Architect of the Internet. This site and related platforms were developed specifically to develop my talk at the upcoming AIA conference. My social media strategies as they relate to our business revolve around building authority and relationships.

      I’d encourage everyone in our profession to check out Jes’ Google+ community. Here’s a link: Big Time Small Firm I’m confident you’ll find value in the conversations going on in that Community. – Jeff

  3. Hi Jeff – Interesting topic. Our firm, like may others, maintains social media profiles on multiple sites to keep followers informed of our current projects. However we have been focusing more on engagement in blogs and public forums in an effort to build our identity with the public and ultimately improve our design work. One successful example I can point to is a dialogue that occurred on IBJ’s property lines about our project the Hinge. Funding constraints caused our initial designs to propose a one-story streetfront. Yet the comments dialogue (which we participated in) encouraged our client to ultimately build a multi-story streetfront, which improved the project. We hope to continue to engage and leverage public dialogue in social (and blog/news) media to better our work. Yet this practice is uncommon among architects who might see such engagement as risky politically and socially. I would be curious to know if other firms which focus on practice and business successfully (or unsuccessfully) engage social media in a similar way.

    • Jeff Echols says:

      Thanks for the great example Craig! That’s an excellent approach and one that I haven’t noticed too many firms in our area employing.

      I think it speaks to Ben’s comment above: “I’d like to hear how social media could be used to spread the appreciation of architecture from region to region and from user to designer and or client.” As you know well, forums like the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Property Lines thrive on public comment; both positive and negative, reasonable or not. When projects appear in Property Lines they come under “public” scrutiny. It’s a great opportunity for Architects to chime in and infuse a little unsolicited public education to the conversation.

      What about YOU? Do Architect of the Internet readers from areas of the country other than Indianapolis have similar local forums? Are Architects using these as sounding boards or opportunities for public education? Please leave a comment and let us know.

  4. Jeff – this is a fascinating topic! Here’s what I’ve noticed from the social media I’ve been engaged with – my time investment does not seem to correlate with the success of my platforms. I’ll explain. I think LinkedIn is a dreary place, but it comes in handy sometimes. It’s like a modern day Rolodex. I don’t even need people’s business cards anymore. I’m not a big fan of “socializing” on LinkedIn because it feels very B2B and “salespersony.” I prefer Twitter because I sense more sharing, camaraderie, and altruism. To be honest with you, I try to cultivate a twitter following and I largely neglect LinkedIn. Yet, here I am plateauing on Twitter at 280-ish followers and I am connected to nearly 600 people on LinkedIn. You could chalk this up to a number of factors – LinkedIn is suppose to be more B2B and that’s why it’s so much more successful in the professional arena; current demographics per social media platform; etc. The lesson that I’m learning is that it’s difficult to force socialization on social media. Who am I to try to dictate the channels through which others prefer to reach me? It is “social” after all. Socialization will flow naturally based on a number of influences and it’s up to us to tap into the natural streams, not try cut channels. Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogs, websites, emails, etc., it seems like there is an overload – but what I’m finding is that they all fill different voids and it’s up to each of us to observe the natural steams of online socialization and leverage the platforms that serve us best. Of course, this will be unique to each person/firm.

    • Jeff Echols says:

      Thanks Dan! Great insight: “it’s up to each of us to observe the natural steams of online socialization and leverage the platforms that serve us best. Of course, this will be unique to each person/firm.”

      We all have to decide what we want to get out of Social Media and develop a unique strategy to meet our goals. – Jeff

  5. Lauren Sherman says:

    Hello Jeff!
    As a student, I’ve noticed my peers and I are struggling at how to make the transition from a collegiate to a professional on social media. How, when, and where should this transition occur? Is it still OK to keep a twitter, pinterest, or facebook account on private? Should you add professionals you know on LinkedIn and Facebook? I could go on for longer, but I believe you understand. For my generation, it seems this is a very blurry line.

    I know I’ve got more questions, I’ll post them on here as I continue to ponder this issue.
    Lauren P Sherman

    • Jeff Echols says:

      Thanks Lauren! You’ve brought up a great point for students, emerging professionals, job seekers and professionals alike. I think that it’s important remember that when you submit a resume and portfolio that firm that you’ve always dreamed of working for a few things happen. First, someone reads your email / cover letter. Then, they may Google you and look you up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. What are they going to find? What do you want them to find?

      Your generation has practically grown up on Social Media so it is a blurry line. I think your approach, like every other Architects’ should be to understand what you want from Social Media. In your case it may be to build a network that will open doors to your next job. Whatever that goal is you’ve got build your strategy around it. Maybe you want two accounts; one private and one public. – Jeff

  6. My biggest struggle with social media is connecting with potential clients. It seems almost all my connections are either friends, family, or other Architects. How can social media be used to attract and ultimately engage with potential clients? In response to Jess’ comment above, while i would like to use social media more effectively of for marketing, it seems i end up using it primarily for camaraderie. And do not get me wrong, i love the camaraderie. It is very encouraging and insightful to connect with other Architects. But i reluctantly entered into the social media world with the hopes that it could be leveraged for job leads.

    • Jeff Echols says:

      Thanks Matthew! I think you’re in the same position that many Architects find themselves in. We’ve heard all about how Social Media can transform businesses and marketing. We’ve drunk the kool aid. The problem is that all the time we’re spending on Facebook and LinkedIn and Google+ and Twitter may be leading to great conversations but it’s not bringing clients through the door.

      That’s because we’re doing it wrong. We’re playing with tools without a clear plan for what we want to build. I think it’s like we just got a brand new set of charcoal pencils and dumped them out next to our roll of trash paper. We wouldn’t just start drawing and scribbling and sketching randomly with the HB and the 2H and 6B and expect a great portrait to appear. We’ve got to formulate a specific, focused strategy and let that guide the tools and methods that we use.

      I know we were both on Enoch’s webinar over at the Business of Architecture. What did you think? I thought his Modative case study was great.

      How about FiELD9: ? Are you seeing any results for your business from you Social Media efforts or do your comments pretty much sum it up? – Jeff

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