Twitter? Why would you waste your time? If you've ever thought this, welcome to the club. This post is for you. And here's what we're really wondering: Is Twitter worth our time and resources as architects?
When researching this post, I came across the popular Internet psychologist Graham Jones and his thoughts on the subject. Well, believe it or not, he was among the first few who suggested what we were all thinking back in 2010 – “Don't Use Twitter for business” (in our case the Business of Architecture). It’s quite a gutsy thing to say in this day and age when there are plenty of examples of companies making money using Twitter. So why not architects? We too got curious and decided to dig in a little.
His logic is simple, but whether Twitter is for you or not, we’ll let you decide. In the olden days, when it came to getting new customers, what did businesses do? They’d take customers to lunches, dinners, pubs, bars, and golf courses without mentioning much about the business itself – sometimes not even a word. Instead of filling their minds with “buy this” messages you sat down with them, chatted with them, and asked them questions about themselves. You were trying to extract as much information out of them as possible to see where you could “fit”. I see a close example of this in AMC’s drama series called Mad Men, if you’ve been following it, you’d know what I am talking about. The encounter with potential clients was always social, not “salesy” and despite that you got your business from these clients.
The lesson here is that business has always been about building relationships and not so much about hard selling. If you as an architect are seeking to influence potential customers on Twitter, you are probably wasting your time. People aren't shopping for architectural services on Twitter (yet). Prospects would rather rely on word of mouth or turn to their local Craigslist. So if you are hoping to get directly connected to clients on Twitter, perhaps Twitter is not the best way to go. I’d suggest you spend the same time on other social media channels such as Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram that are more graphic, pictorial, with no complex terminologies or word limitations.
However, if used effectively, Twitter can lead to potential business gains even in the field of architecture. So, before we dig deeper, identify and share with us what is your goal for being on Twitter, what ROI are you seeking?
- Finding new customers
- Establishing your company brand
- Networking with industry peers
- Keeping up-to-date with technological/design advances in the field
- Being more visible in the design community
We hope to see you in Part 2 of this ‘Twitter for Architects‘ series where I’ll be talking about best practices and creative ways to use Twitter as a designer. We’ll see how we can increase chances of improving our ROI through this powerful social media tool.