There are no gatekeepers to reaching your audience

I think that we all (especially landscape architects, designers, etc) need to realise that there are many benefits of the new media world (including social media). You now have the power to get your ideas, projects,  and message out to your clients, allied professionals colleagues,  and the mainstream audience far more simply and quickly than ever before. There are no gatekeepers to reaching your audience. It is you who has the power to promote your ideas and message, you have no excuses that you are not being heard.

Below are a few tips on how to get your message out in 2017/2018.

  1. Setup your social media accounts with the same name as it is then easier to remember for followers.
  2. Tailor the image and message for each platform and think of how much time you wish to commit to each one.
  3. use linkedin for your formal news posts and some events, treat it like a industry newspaper or magazine where you publish your news and articles to your company page.
  4. instagram – I prefer the to go more informal and show everything that i am experiencing on a regular basis (sometimes daily).  Use stories to show process such as site visits, sketching, workshop, construction site visit, etc. You can post professional images but be aware it gets a bit tiring see the same images over every platform from a designer. How you use it as a individual and company is different, but remember it is social media and whimsical not too serious.
  5. facebook – setup a company page and use it for light hearted social moments in your firm whether its celebrations or announcements and then projects.
  6. pinterest – get your account setup and link all your images from your website to boards that relate to your projects.
  7. forget twitter, unless you have a current following and have previously posted regularly. twitter conversations are getting lost in the noise. I have found it the most useful as an individual at conferences for seeing who is there and maybe sending a Direct Message to then meet up.
  8. select one or two platforms and commit to it. Also remember try other platforms to see if will be fun and benefit your firm. All too often people write off social platforms because their clients don’t use and then 6-12 months later are scrambling to get their firm account and connect with clients and other designers.
  9. your company is made up of many people, so let many people publish to the platforms (preferably those who use it often). Although you are a company remember clients often hire for the people and what you do.
  10. remember people use social media to be social not read publicity statements or look at reposts of perfect project images. Your company is made up of people so celebrate your people and what they create and be social.
  11. be consistent – if it is posting once a day, or once a week, keep the posting at a regular interval so that your followers have a understanding and expectation of how regularly you will  post.
  12. use known #hashtags – all too often people start creating #hashtags for a their firm or project. Unless it is known and widely used, you are wasting time. Known ones for landscape are #landarch #landscapearchitecture #landscapearch. Encourage your staff to use event hashtags when they attend. Events such as #ASLA2017 or #ULIFall etc attract thousands of people but it is also a way to network with old and new contacts as people see your there and want to connect and meet in real life. ( I have met people after 3-4 years after following them on social media and it is a real buzz to meet people in real life).
  13. don’t be afraid to test and trial different methods and ideas – there is no one right or wrong way to post, one post is not going to kill off your following and you can delete a post if it doesn’t work, falls flat or you realise later on it wasn’t appropriate.
  14. don’t go overboard – it is fun and exciting to start posting images, gain followers and show your hard work, but be careful not to go overboard in the first few days or weeks. I have seen some accounts start posting 10-20 images a day on their accounts and then drop off once they have expended all their professional photography. Remember to be consistent.
  15. have fun and be social – it is a two way communication tool and these platforms are fun so remember to post more than the finished perfect images and also remember to like, heart and retweet other firms or clients posts as being social and interacting on these platforms along with promoting others work helps everyone get their message out and gives you social currency.
  16. Follow, subscribe and share others work.

Remember there are two major concepts. It is not about the quantity but quality of followers – 100 great fans and collaborators are worth a lot more than 1000 followers who you have no interaction with. Don’t get sidetracked by trying to publish the perfect image and wording, it is not the nature of the medium.

I hope that this helps those new and old users of social media and new media. I have not discussed Snapchat or Youtube as I am not using them as main platforms. If you have any questions feel free to contact me on the my social media platforms or go old school and email me.

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes

Instagram -https://www.instagram.com/damianholmes/

Twitter [Landscape topics] – http://www.twitter.com/landscapearch
Twitter [Everything] – http://www.twitter.com/damianholmes

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/holmesdamian

Pinterest [WLA] – https://www.pinterest.com/worldla/

Email – damian@damianholmes.com

Book Review | The Social Organism by Oliver Luckett & Micheal J. Casey

social-organism-luckett

I picked up The Social Organism after watching Oliver Luckett on Gary Vaynerchuk’s #askgaryvee vlog and was interested in the concept of social (media) as seen from the lens of an organism. The book gives background of the Social Organism and how the seven rules of life (biology) can be applied to social media. Luckett explores social media through the many lens/ideas throughout the book including Darwinism, commercial printing presses, and more however, the main lens/idea of the book of organism/science is explored including Koestler’s model, cell organisms, genes, artificial intelligence. It may appear at first glance that this would be a boring read, however the book is written to allow the reader to understand at a basic principles and how they can be applied to social media.

Luckett uses real life examples throughout the book including #BlackLivesMatter, Spring uprising, Taylor Swift swifties, Oreo’s dunk in the dark, League of Legends and more to show the good and bad aspects of social media and how many still don’t understand that social media is not a fad, or just another platform or media but a part of social makeup of many places that jump local, state and nation boundaries and work at a international level. However, one criticism I have of the book is that it is very USA-centric in its examples and reference points with only a few international examples (platforms, movements) which are covered all too briefly in the book. Another criticism of the book is that it spends too long in the initial chapters explaining terms of reference and concepts which I realise is needed for those who have little to no background in social media. I think there are many ideas in the book that are covered only briefly that could have been further explored, but I think that also provides the opportunity for Luckett and co-writers to explore in a followup book.

Overall, this is a great book that I will read again over the Christmas 2016 break to gain more ideas for the future.  The main takeaway from the book is that social media has its good and bad sides and that we are living in an era when social media and the coming internet of things(IoT) is transforming the way we live, interact and govern. If you have any interest in sociology or social media I encourage you to get a copy and read it with a notepad or highlighter/marker by your side as it is full of great ideas that will trigger your own interesting thought processes. I am hoping that Luckett and co-writers have a follow up book in the making to explore ideas in more depth.

Businesses are treating social media like a webpage in the mid-1990’s

Social media is currently in the same place webpages where in the mid-1990’s where businesses where putting up their business webpage and expecting people to come and start buying. It wasn’t until businesses realised they needed to promote their website and integrate it with their existing marketing that their webpages started generating emails, calls and sales. Social Media is at the same point with many companies starting to sign up because its the latest way to gain customers and generate sales, however they are treating like a webpage by waiting for the likes, followers, and contacts but they aren’t coming. Like all marketing and promotion of brands and products it takes time, planning and effort to engage with your customers and let them know that your there and create a company identity and message.

So like the businesses in the 1990’s that realised they could use their website to gain customers through news, deals and integrating e-commerce, its time businesses realised that engaging with customers through social media and using it as a tool can create an brand identity and generate interest and increase sales.

Many businesses spent tens of thousands of dollars creating webpages and e-commerce platforms back in the mid-1990’s, but this time there is a difference – social media is unbelievably cheap in comparison to other forms of marketing and advertising. Businesses can spend just few thousand dollars to get your brand or product out across the world. Of course, it depends on the size and number of products but when comparing social media with advertising in trade magazines or attending expos businesses could save thousands with a social media presence.

 

 

 

 

Social (Media) – How to formulate your strategy

Today on twitter I saw a link to Design Victoria Social Media Breakfast presentation slides. It is probably the best set of slides I have seen on how, what, why of formulating a social (media) strategy for small to medium (SME) business.

Is Social Media now called ‘Social’? – I hope so

Current Social Media is about 4-5 years old depending on who you listen or follow but really didn’t start to gain traction until 2008. Over time its has been mostly referred to as Social Media but many people who are seen as the Social Media experts/gurus/advocates/insert your catchy name/  have not always been happy with the term Social Media as it really didn’t describe the arena of social interaction very well. People thought social media was just blogs or videos(youtube) or  facebook or twitter(micro-blogs) or gowalla (location based) platforms rather than the whole arena of social interaction.

Recently, I have noticed that many people in the Social Media industry have started referring to Social Media as ‘Social’ not in written form such as blogs but in podcasts and videos. Whether this is due to the recent movie about facebook called the Social Network or just a general evolution of  the terminology, only time will tell.  I hope it sticks because I personally don’t like the term Social Media I think its a little confusing in defining the numerous platforms that make up social interaction on the web.