In a recent New York Times Magazine article, Blue State, John Herman outlines how Facebook-oriented political sites/posters/businesses are exploiting the vortex between political causes/positions, Facebook’s algorithms, and either(or) sincere cause-based social positions and crass business interests to reach millions more people than conventional media.
At some levels, the observations here are scary; at others they are reassuring. I especially enjoyed how some website operators are playing around with Facebook advertising arbitrage to attract people to manipulative sites with loaded with advertising. (Google observed — and cracked down — on this sort of activity a few years ago, helping to protect its AdSense program integrity.)
If you are like most architectural, engineering and construction marketers, you can observe this social media/marketing froth from a safe enough distance. I’m comfortable enough watching it as I blog on the final day of a cottage vacation overlooking a quiet lake from a comfortable cottage equipped, appropriately, with high-speed internet links. We really don’t need to “do” anything. No panic, no rush, no worries . . . but opportunities for some strategic thinking and decision-making.
First, recognizing that social media is effectively an extremely rapid and fast-spreading form of word-of-mouth, undoubtedly you will be in much better shape if your clients really love you than if they are doing business with you purely from habit or because there isn’t another alternative. (For the latter, look at the wonderfully negative Google user reviews at The Ontario College of Trades — a government institution clearly disliked by many people).
Second, a basic, soft social media presence doesn’t require too much effort; you can certainly set up a Facebook business page and Twitter feed within minutes. And you can link your content generation for your blog and website to the social media serves through equally free autofeeding tools (I do.) These measures, plus a reasonable set of tools for notifications about activities on your social media sites, should provide you with enough to be there where you need to be — and in a position to respond to client complaints and questions which might be posted on social media.
Yes, you can take it further, and some organizations do, but I don’t see a need to go wild here. Respect and care for (love?) your clients, share good news and worthy ideas and advice, and you’ll be on your way to success. No need for excessive and expensive advertising. (Wait, am I kicking myself in the foot? — My business IS selling advertising.)
You can respond with your own thoughts by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment — or if you wish, share this post on Facebook or Twitter.