How Much Money Does Inefficiency Cost Your Interior Design Firm?
I’m so excited to introduce you to our Guest Blogger, Faith Sheridan.
Besides being an absolutely lovely person and a good friend of mine, Faith is also a very accomplished interior designer. Her firm, Faith Sheridan Interior Design is based in Seattle. She is known for her signature style, ‘Elegant Restraint’.
Faith also doubles as a prolific blogger and a speaker on design and social networking. She’s been around long enough to know who’s who and she is a very well respected member of the interior design community. She also has more knowledge than any other designer I know about social media and its players.
Today she will be sharing with us a bit about Social Media.
Everyone, please welcome…drum roll please…. Faith Sheridan!
Growing your business
Are You Socially Connected? Why You Need a Social Media Presence
So exactly what is social marketing and why must designers quickly adopt a strategy? Social marketing is all about connecting with people on a human basis through conversations and messaging about shared interests. Unlike commercial marketing, social marketing’s primary focus is on the consumer and learning what people want and need instead of trying to persuade them to buy what we happen to be selling.
We humans like to engage with others who share our interests, even when we haven’t yet met. Social marketing concepts include sharing of yourself through user-generated content, sharing your thoughts and building social currency through blogging, connecting to people you don’t know yet through messaging( Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), and providing feedback through comments.
Because of readily available programming on HGTV, many consumers are participants who attempt to produce their own design solutions (with varying degrees of success), and can now appreciate the professional training and practice necessary to accomplish great designs.
Designers who encourage and share with consumers and welcome their thoughts and comments quickly gain admirers (fans) and in turn the designer gains respect and trust. Respect and trust are crucial to successful design projects, both from repeating clients and new ones.
David Bassett, founder of Ava Living says there are three tenets of the new social marketing paradigm we all need to accept:
Like all companies that have successfully retooled for web 2.0, interior designers must do the same. Having a yellow page listing and email address is so basic; you might as well say you have an abacus and a pencil. As David notes, consumers don’t shop for your services at YOUR website; they go to where other consumers are talking about you. And if no one is talking about you, then for them you really don’t even exist.
2. Share Information
Designers maintain an encyclopedia of design knowledge in their brains. Sharing our knowledge earns us expert status and gets the design project. We need to let consumers get to know us and build connection.
3. Develop Fans
If you speak to designers they say their business is from referrals. While this represents an instant endorsement, it fails to recognize the larger audience waiting to get to know you beyond the smaller fan base. With social marketing you engage with people you don’t know, represent your knowledge and personality and build a fan base that extends your reach to new potential clients. Using social media, we share the knowledge, personality and attitude that are a window to our design skills and talent.
Thank you Faith.
We will be talking much more about social media, websites and the interior designers’ online presence in future blogs.
As a matter of fact, MMG will be letting the cat out of the bag in a few weeks. You will want to have your seat belt on for this one…
See you next time!
– J. Molloy