SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING AND SOCIAL NETWORKING MARKETING FOR ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS, ENVIRONMENTAL NON-PROFITS, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS, URBAN PLANNERS, SOLE-PROPRIETORSHIPS, AND SMALL-TO-MEDIUM SIZED COMPANIES

Social media marketing, also known as social networking marketing, can take on many forms such as internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or images, video, rating and social bookmarking, and more. To date, it has been shown that there are six different types of social media, which include collaborative projects, blogs and micro blogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual games worlds, and virtual communities.  The technologies that keep these mediums working include blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music sharing, crowd sourcing, and voice over IP, just to name a few.  These social mediums can and are often integrated via social networks.  And this is where you and your architecture, engineering, environmental non-profit, landscape architecture, or urban planning company comes in …

There are individuals surfing online, joining social media and networking sites, and interacting.  If you are not exposing your company online and becoming a member and/or authority in your field, you are missing many opportunities for new business. As a sole-proprietorship, small, or medium-sized company, perhaps you have heard these two myths:

2 MYTHS OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

MYTH #1: SOLE-PROPRIETORSHIPS, SMALL OR MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANIES DON’T NEED SOCIAL MEDIA

Sole-proprietorships, small companies, and medium-sized companies can benefit from using social media and social networking to create a buzz and branding, just like large corporations. Social media and social networking should be an integral part of any sole-proprietorship, small, or medium-sized business and marketing plan.  With very little cost, and with a little patience, your company can use social media to boost its appearance online.  In turn, creating more business opportunities.

MYTH #2: BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING DOESN’T WORK WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

Does your architecture, engineering, environmental non-profit, landscape architecture, or urban planning firm work directly with other businesses, in either the private or public sectors?  Then, you may have heard that social media or social networking is not the ideal place for business-to-business marketing.  This could not be further from the truth.  Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin are excellent resources for architects, engineers, environmental non-profits, landscape architects, and urban planners to sell and promote their services to other businesses.

Read below for seven smart ways to utilize social media successfully.

7 SMART WAYS TO UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKING SUCCESSFULLY

1. MAP A CLEAR OBJECTIVE

Imagine that you’re goal is not to get higher search engine rankings – in fact, this is not the key to social media.  Instead, consider your company’s’ overall objective.  Some may include:

  • Branding
  • Networking
  • Exposure
  • Relationship/Trust Building
  • Customer Relations

2. CUSTOMER COMES FIRST

While mapping out number one, your objective, consider what your customer, or your ideal website visitor, wants to see from you.  Get an image of that ideal person clearly in your mind, and consider what their perception of you and your company are.  And remember, what impresses humans, also impresses search engines.  So, when you’re shaping your content, appealing to your customers should come first, always.

3. CONSISTENT AND QUALITY CONTENT

The content (text, images, video, etc.) that you post to your social mediums should be consistent in timing, meaning regularly updates that are timed accordingly. You do, after all, want your audience to anticipate or expect when your next post will be.  And you also want your overall message or objective to be consistent.  For example, as an architecture, engineering, environmental non-profit, landscape architecture, or urban planning firm, you want to ensure your content speaks to your specific audience.  You shouldn’t be an engineering firm offering gardening tips …
This will assist you in achieving your branding objectives and will shape the perceptions that individuals will have regarding your company.

4. FOCUS ON CONTENT

If you focus on valuable, high-quality content then that content will do the marketing for you.  So, focus on content, not marketing. If you want to increase your presence online, your job is to write, and provide easy access to social media services where your readers can share your content with their friends and groups.

Below, you can see how Global Site Plans has the option to share and save The Grid blog entries.  You can share Global Site Plans’ The Grid blog entries through Facebook, LinkedIn, Delicious, Google Bookmarks, MySpace, WordPress, Twitter, Digg, Google Buzz, and Reddit.  You can also share content through email and bookmark entries by “add to favorites.”

When you have written something that people like, they will share it.  It is that plain and simple.  And when they share it, the search engines will take notice.  So, write something great and watch the magic happen, naturally.

5. DIVERSIFY YOUR ANCHOR TEXT

We all want our company to top the search engine rankings for specific keyword phrases. Think about having your architecture, engineering, environmental non-profit, landscape architecture, or urban planning firm come up first on the search engine ranking when someone searches for “architecture,” or any of the aforementioned environmental design fields.  That would be great for your business, right?

Well, there is one sure-fire way of not getting there and that is over-optimizing.  When you over-optimize your are using the same anchor text everywhere you link (or request a link to) and your site will leave a digital footprint that will create a red flag. In fact, search engines may think you’re trying to manipulate the search results.  Therefore, to avoid this you need natural variations in anchor text for the links that point back to your primary website or the other pages you are leading potential clients to.  Be sure you diversify your anchor text!

6. STOP LINKING TO YOUR HOME PAGE

While it’s important to have links directed to your home page, “deep links” that are pointing at internal pages, increase the authority and credibility of your website. The website with the most deep links win!  - That’s important, write it down. – Bookmark this page. Find a way to remember that the website with the deepest links wins!  This will also assist in search engine rankings because the internal pages will begin ranking for specific relevant keyword phrases.

One great tip to start with … Consider providing social networking and social media sites your “about me” or “about the company” page instead for a more personable introduction to your website and your company.

7. BE A VALUABLE RESOURCE

Become a valuable resource in your niche of architecture, engineering, environmental non-profits, landscape architecture, or urban planning.  If you have ever been on a blog and seen comments that look like spam, those individuals have lost their credibility to the reader.  They have lost or never had value to the person who is reading the comments.  The same holds true for those who are content providers, like you and your company.  Don’t write noise. Remember who your audience is when you are writing and do not self-promote. Instead, provide content that is valuable to your readers.  If all you do is self-promote, with links and requests then your readers will naturally filter you out. You will become noise that, they’ll avoid.

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