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What do you think when you hear the phrase Social Media?

Do you think about friends checking in on Facebook from their favorite restaurant or posting photos of their desert on Instagram or collecting crock pot pulled pork recipes on Pinterest? Do you think about viral flashmob videos on YouTube or checking in at Starbucks on Foursquare?

Do you think about cats?

All those things happen on Social Media. But let’s not talk about that. Since this is Architect of the Internet, let’s talk about what Social Media is for businesses and, more specifically, for the business of architecture.

So let’s approach this from two different directions; what effective Social Media is and what effective Social Media is not.

First, what Social Media is:

  • Social Media is a tool. A screwdriver is a tool.

  • Maybe it’s a toolbox. I have screw drivers and wrenches and pliers and hammers in my toolbox.

  • It’s a part of your marketing portfolio. Do you have a diversified portfolio?

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the myriad of other Social Media sites out there are the tools in your toolbox. Like screwdrivers and wrenches, each site serves a different purpose. They attract different interest groups, have different cultures and reach different audiences. This graphic, called “The Conversation Prism” was created by Brian Solls and JESS3 and is a fantastic illustration of the tools (and their uses) in the Social Media toolbox.

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3

What Social Media is not:

  • Social Media is not a bullhorn or a pulpit. Do you want to listen to me talk about myself all the time?

  • It’s not a range for virtual shotgun blasts of self-promotional bravado. You have to know what season it is (what you’re hunting for) and aim precisely.

  • It’s not a silver bullet. There’s no such thing as magic.

Even the most creative, best designed marketing campaign will fall on millions of deaf ears if they aren’t the right ears.

Social Media is a marketing channel but imagine it as a conversation. It’s right there in the name: social. It’s not broadcast media (like TV and radio) or print media (like newspapers and magazines). Social Media is based on the give and take of personal interaction.

Imagine your Social Media campaigns as meeting a friend or new acquaintance to have a cup of coffee or joining a client or business partner for a beer.

What does that look like? You have conversations. You spend part of your time talking about business and some of the time listening to the person across the table talk about their kids. You may touch on politics or discuss an organization that you both volunteer with. Your dialogue will be varied but the point is that there is an interaction. You’re building a rapport or strengthening a friendship; perhaps building trust.

You’re making a deeper connection and THAT is what Social Media is.

How do you connect with your clients or perspective clients? Give me an example in the comments section below. I’d like to know.

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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.

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