Let’s get real for a minute. Nobody hires your firm they hire you.
If you’ve been around the marketing of architectural services very long you know that the majority of project ‘wins’ come as a result of either a relationship or a referral. That’s reality.
You can be the best design firm or the best service firm in the world or yours can be the foremost experts in your field but clients don’t want to talk to a faceless business. They want to talk to THE Expert or THE Designer that will make the magic happen.
Consider brands like Chipotle (@Chipotletweets), who’s Social Media team signs each and every Tweet with their own name.
Followers enjoy and respond to that personal interaction in the name of the Brand. They feel like they’re included in the larger conversation. They feel like they belong; like they’re a part of something. There’s a genuine connection.
Bryan Kramer wrote the book on Human to Human connections (literally). In “There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human” Bryan explains that:
“Near mass adoption of Social Media has put the magnifying glass on business. It used to be that brands sold more by pushing out a one-way conversation to their market. But now that Social has enabled countless global and public conversations, most brands are still struggling to express their distinctive voice and in figuring out how to engage in conversations with their key stakeholders instead of talking at them.”
Even before they meet you, your prospective clients need to know that you’re an expert; they need to identify you as a great designer, but they want to feel like they know you. They want to connect with you on a human level.
There are limits though.
A while back I was listening to the “Content Marketing Podcast” and Rachel Parker was talking about the balance between being “real” and being professional on Social Media.
I think Rachel hit the nail on the head when she said:
“We need to be real; we need to show our real selves, our true selves. On the flip side of that is the fact that we still need to be professional. So remember, people need to know us AND trust us.”
It’s important to remember that point. As you’re expressing the culture of your firm on Facebook; as you’re having conversations on Twitter; as you’re giving people a peak into your world on Instagram don’t cross over into the world of TMI (Too Much Information).
If photos from the Pub at Beer:30 on Friday afternoon don’t support your image of professionalism, they shouldn’t show up online. If supporting the neighborhood where your office is located is part of your mission, stories about last weekend’s community festival should.
There’s a fine line out there somewhere. It’s impossible for me to say where it is. You have to make that determination. The trick is to draw it near where your ideal client tends to be.
How do you make human to human contact with clients or prospective clients? What ideas do you have to do better? 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.