Why Do Architects Think Social Media Marketing Is Wasting Time?

It happens all of the time. When pitching content marketing services to architects, the vast majority of them want to discuss photography, websites and print advertisements. At the mention of social media as an important part of an ongoing marketing plan, architects chuckle and then dismiss the idea with the often used "Why would anyone care what I had for lunch" comment.

If you’re a talented architect or oversee marketing for an architectural firm, it’s easy to focus all your energy on designing buildings and running the same old print advertisements in (Your City Here) Home Magazine. But Houzz has shown that with just a bit of effort and thinking outside the box, marketing yourself through social media can pay dividends. Social media provides additional locations for you to feature portfolios and to promote your design aesthetic. It feeds people interested in your work back to a landing page on your website where you can then capture contact information and engage with them using an automated email campaign. 

Documentation of your work is visual, and prospects get to know you by looking at portfolios of your work. Where are they looking for architectural images? They are often looking online and over the last few years, that means they are seeking your services on social media platforms Houzz, Pinterest, and BeHance.

Not all social media platforms are equal when it comes to marketing architecture. The networking giants Facebook and Twitter are often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of social media but we encourage you to look beyond Facebook and Twitter to three other platforms that have the potential to dramatically increase your visibility, and with just the right audience. Facebook, Twitter Linkedin and Google + can help your firm in a variety of ways including staying in touch with existing clients, improving search engine page rank and connecting with out of market architects. 

You’ve probably heard of Pinterest. It's one of the fastest-growing social networks out there and the third-largest in the United States with just under 73 million users. 85% of which are female. The site is overwhelmingly visual and lifestyle-oriented. Users create themed “boards” that are used to organize curated collections of images and videos, which are then seen by other users and “re-pinned.” 

A recent glance at the Architecture category on Pinterest revealed user-generated spotlights on a Greek residence by 314 Architecture Studio, the Wilkinson Residence in Oregon, by Robert Harvey Oshatz Architect. When users see an image they like on Pinterest and click on it, they’re taken to the photographs original home, which is often the architecture firm’s website, an online media source or their own Pinterest page. In each case, they are linked to a page where they can learn about the firm. To see the Pinterest page of an architectural firm that is using the platform with intent, take a look at PJHM Architects.

The online platform Houzz “connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world,” according to its website, which adds: “With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality.”

Houzz’s prominent “Find Local Pros” button allows users to find an architect within a location radius of his or her home, browse photos of the firm’s projects and read reviews written by clients. Firms can also directly interact with prospects via the “Discussions” section, where users post public questions and seek advice from other Houzz users.

Finally, Behance, “the leading online platform to showcase & discover creative work,” according to its website, is a must for architecture firms. Called the “LinkedIn for creative professionals,” Behance makes it easy for firms to showcase their projects. Each post prominently displays how many views it’s had as well as how many “appreciations” (thumbs up) and comments. Users clicking on a project thumbnail can then choose to “follow” a particular user or firm and to send a direct message. Adobe owns the BeHance platform. 

One firm successfully using Behance is Charles Rose Architects of Somerville, Mass. The firm, which has more than 4,000 followers, uses the platform to display a few dozen of its best projects, stunningly photographed. It also prominently showcases the firm’s commitment to energy-efficient design. The firm’s total project views on Behance? More than 20,000.

Social media allows architects to build an audience for their work using photography they already have and expertise people want. Posting portfolios on Houzz, Pinterest and BeHance will increase sales of your architectural services but like all marketing, time and frequency dictate success.