Future Implications

The social media landscape is evolving more and more each year – presenting interior designers and home decorating pros with exciting new opportunities to connect with their customers. Today’s post will discuss a few key future mobile social media trends for interior designers to stay on top of. ikea-2011-dining-room-ideas-8

Keep an Eye on Mobile

From iPads to Kindle Fires, iPhones to Androids, consumers LOVE their mobile devices. In fact, 91% of all people world-wide own a mobile phone – with over half of those phones being Smart Phones. For interior designers, this presents some great opportunity. Not only can work easily now be shared on a tablet (rather than bringing full scale drawings to client meetings), but consumers can now be communicated with while they’re in the middle of their purchase process (while browsing a big box retail store, for example). Interior designers should be able to reach these mobile consumers through continued use of traditional social media tools, like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Designers should also keep an eye out for mobile social media developments such as WhatsApp, which allows users to send photos, messages, and videos to each other across Smart Phone platforms and without using SMS services.

Keep the Visual Content Coming

People seem most drawn to social media with visual content, like videos and photos. Sites like Instagram, SnapChat, and Pinterest are extremely popular with a large variety of age groups and all evidence points to the popularity of visual content to continue to grow. This is great news for interior designers – as home design is such a visual industry. Videos and photos give designers a chance to shine – to display their style and creativity. And it’s great, because at the same time, you’re giving customers the kind of content they want to view. So – Showing off awesome projects you’ve completed on Instagram and Pinterest, or posting a quick tour of a space you’re really proud of or inspired by on YouTube are going to continue to be fabulous ways to connect with prospective clients and to build your brand as a design expert. Making sure to add a visual element to your blog, Twitter, and Facebook posts will be key in social media marketing through 2014 and beyond.

Keep up the Engagement

Modern consumers expect authentic engagement from the brands they interact with via social media. This is especially true for interior designers who may be looking to connect with new clients through social media efforts. Always make sure to stay engaged with your audience. If a client tweets a shout out to you about a job well done, remember to re-tweet them and let them know how much fun it was working with them. If people are commenting and/or asking questions on your YouTube page, jump into the discussion. Like I mentioned, people want engagement – especially when it’s from someone they may work with on something as personal as designing their home. Keep your engagement strategy strong and your social media efforts will likely pay off for years to come.

What social media predictions to you have for the future? Leave a comment and share!

 

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Differentiation

QAwithPadmaLakshmiThis week’s (LONG overdue…I know) post will compare the social media campaigns of two major interior design/home décor e-commerce sites.

Two of my absolute favorite websites for finding awesome things for the home are Joss & Main and Wayfair.com. Both of these sites have amazing pieces and prices start at levels I can actually afford (win!)

Joss & Main is a member-only flash sale based site (very easy to sign up) that has different really limited time sales on all kinds of cool home décor items. I’m in love with their collection of graphic print rugs

Wayfair is a discount site that has an absolutely HUGE selection of everything for home. I love their selection of fun table lamps.

Now that my rather opinionated description of the websites we’re discussing is out of the way…let’s dig into the social media strategy for these two online design resources.

Joss & Main is active on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.

Their Facebook account has a strong number of followers at 251K Likes. There are several posts within this page and it looks like posting happens daily. One thing I noticed when looking through their Facebook page is that other than the initial posting, Joss & Main doesn’t seem to be interacting with their fans. It would be interesting to see if their amount of Likes increased if they took the time to check back into each post and respond to the conversations they sparked within their community.

Joss & Main’s Twitter account doesn’t have a very strong following at less than 10K followers. This is disappointing from an interior designer stand point, as Joss & Main does such a great job at curating works from seasoned as well as up and coming designers to feature on their site. I’m sure they would love the extra exposure Twitter can provide.  Joss & Main seems to Tweet fairly regularly, but again, they aren’t really engaging with consumers. I think they could really find better use of Twitter by engaging with their customers – actively re-Tweeting design related posts from their followers and Tweeting content of interest to consumers other than just current sales could go a long way in enhancing engagement.

Their Pinterest & Google + accounts have a lot of really great content with tons of pictures and ideas. But again – Where is the consumer engagement?

Let’s move onto Wayfair. These guys are on the exact same social media networks as Joss & Main. This makes sense, given they have the same target audience. Wayfair.com actually has a huge presence on Facebook, with over 1 million Likes. However, like Joss & Main, they don’t engage in the discussions they start on their page. Imagine if they took time to even just check in once and respond to any sticky themes.

Wayfair’s Twitter account is also quite comparable to Joss & Main, but Wayfair has double the amount of followers. And Wayfair’s Pinterest and Google + also has the same themes and overall feel as Joss & Main – just with a larger number of people following.

I’m surprised that both Wayfair and Joss & Main aren’t active on YouTube. Selling such visual merchandise, it seems like YouTube would be a great way to connect with potential customers.

All that being said – Both companies seem to be doing a decent job with social media. With more follow up on ACTIVE engagement, I think they would each have great SM campaigns going.

What home décor/interior design stores get social media right in your opinion? Leave me a comment to discuss!

Blogging Best Practices for Interior Designers

Interior Design Blogs offer interior designers a ton of opportunity to connect with potential clients. And it’s no secret that numerous designers have great interior design blogs that are growing in popularity. This week’s post will review a few of the interior design blogs that are excellent examples of blogging best practices for interior designers. Material Girls Photo

Design Sponge – This is an awesome interior design blog that is updated 6-8 times per day with fresh and interesting design content. With blog posts ranging from Before/After projects to Spaces & Places, to DIY projects and more, there is plenty of content within this blog to keep readers engaged. One neat way Design Sponge makes their content super user (and SEO) friendly is with the “I Want To” icon, which has links to popular content categories, such as “Look at Homes,” “Start a Make Over” and “Get Crafty”. Posting fresh, interesting content on a regular basis is a blogging best practice that Design Sponge definitely is getting right.

Decor8Blog – This bright and colorful interior design blog is full of amazing images and eye catching graphics. The blog appeals to the very visual nature of interior design, with large, bright photographs of interior design ideas/inspiration, the interiors of amazing homes, and DIY craft ideas. This blog is a great example of the blogging best practice of incorporating graphics within each post. The graphics on the blog really make each post come alive and help to set the overall tone for the blog.

Material Girls – This is a really fun blog that’s written by multiple interior designers across 5 major cities in the United States. Something really cool about this blog is the high level of encouragement the writers give users to interact with them via social media. At the top of the homepage are links to connect on Facebook and Twitter, and on the left sidebar is another invitation to connect on Facebook, along with an icon with a link to follow the blog on Pinterest. Additionally, each post has numerous social media and social bookmarking icons clearly labeled for easy sharing. Incorporating social media and encouraging reader engagement is a blogging best practice Material Girls is doing extremely well.

A few words about blogging and Twitter~

One great way to quickly get the word out about your interior design blog and connect with potential clients is by using Twitter to engage with your audience. Here are a couple of interior designers who exemplify best Twitter practices for interior designers.

Debbie Travis – Debbie Travis is a great example of how an interior designer can use Twitter to establish themselves as an authority on design, and build a loyal following. She posts often (at least 3x per day) and she interacts with her followers in a timely fashion. She has well over the recommended 200 followers (she actually has over 10K!), and her personal picture is incorporated into her account.

Yanko Design – This interior design Twitter handle is an excellent example of how a designer can build a following by sending out helpful Tweets to their audience. Easy DIY projects, design ideas, and product recommendations make this interior design Twitter feed a prime example of how followers will come if one is posting truly useful content.

What are some of your favorite design blogs and/or Twitter handles? Comment & Share!

Social Media Mistakes to Avoid for Interior Designers

Houzz.com - A Great Interior Design BlogIf you’re in the interior design industry, you should be using social media. It’s a great way to connect with current and potential clients, and get the word out about yourself without having to go door to door begging people to review your portfolio. What’s really great about social media for interior designers is that you don’t have to risk a lot of money to reap the benefits of adding it to your marketing mix. The risks associated with social media for interior designers have more to do with pitfalls that can occur if you don’t follow best practices with your social media campaign. This post will outline some of the risks that can be associated with social media for designers (and how you can avoid them!).

Unprofessional Blog: In this day and age, your website and blog are often the first look prospective clients have at you and your work. Your blog represents who you are and what your style is all about. As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is extremely true regarding your interior design blog. A blog that is poorly thought out, lacking images, and without a cohesive design theme can send the wrong message out to potential clients.  It is so important for your blog to be professional. This means, high quality images, stylish font, and a general theme that carries throughout the blog. Additionally, your blog should give consumers a general impression of your overall style. What’s your signature style? Traditional? Modern? Eclectic? Your blog should reinforce your design flavor to potential clients. And reflect your professionalism and creativity. If your blog causes people to question these points, you could lose out on a lot of potential business. So, bottom line – Make sure your blog is of A+ quality.

Unrealistic Expectations: Because social media allows for instant interaction practically anytime/any place, it can be easy for clients to have the expectation that you’re able to communicate with them 24/7. This can lead to you spending time communicating with clients, and less time actually working on their projects. Managing this aspect of social media will take some offline work. Make sure that you’re keeping realistic timeframes in perspective for your clients and managing the times you’re interacting with them online. You could be proactive and send clients quick thoughts on how their project is coming along using a social media app on your mobile phone. A quick “The new wall is up and we’re starting to paint! Offline until 3pm!” mobile message sent to a client via Google+ or Facebook chat could go a long way. While it’s great that social media gives clients the chance to reach out to you with ideas/questions/etc, it’s important to manage your social media communications with clients so that you’re engaging effectively, rather than wasting valuable creative/design time. If you spend an entire projects feeling rushed or distracted, the end result won’t be likely to make anyone very happy.

Not Using Social Media: This one may seem obvious, given the nature of this post, but it’s really worth noting what a huge mistake it is for any interior designer to NOT be using social media in 2013. Social media has so many great, visual networks (Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube) that instantly show consumers your excellent style and design technique. How else can you (virtually instantly) show your best work samples to thousands of potential customers? Not only does social media help build awareness, but it can also help you build or confirm a great reputation. Everyone looks online to learn more about professionals they may want to engage with. A word of mouth recommendation is likely to trigger a web search for your name and company. If you don’t have a strong web presence, that word of mouth recommendation may go no further than just a passing conversation. Lastly – Not engaging in social media is a huge mistake for interior designers, because practically all of your competitors ARE using social media. This means, their names and design ideas could be reaching thousands of potential customers per day, they could be generating great leads, and establishing themselves as authorities on design. Plus, a strong social media campaign can have SEO benefits, which could put your competitors ahead of you on search engines. Any way you slice it – the potential pitfalls of social media for interior designers are strongly outweighed by the risks of NOT using social media. So if you’re an interior designer who is on the fence about starting your social media campaign – get on it TODAY!

What are some of the major risks/pitfalls of social media you’ve experienced or seen? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

Interior Designers: How to Use a Mobile Application to Gain New Clients

Mobile applications are exciting social media tools for interior designers. There are a lot of opportunities for interior designers to use mobile apps to build reputations and gain new clients. This week’s post will cover how to use a mobile application by the popular online design community Houzz.com to help build your interior design business.

Houzz.com is a very cool online interior design community made of interior designers, interior design experts (like bloggers, photographers) and interior design enthusiasts (consumers).

The website itself is a great resource for designers to showcase their work share their expertise, and show off  their design flavor. It’s also a great resource for consumers who are looking for everything from design ideas and inspiration to local architects and interior designers. As such, it’s a wonderful place for interior designers to connect with potential customers.

The Houzz.com mobile application allows interior designers to upload idea books, showcase complete projects, and general design inspiration. There is also a tool interior designers can use to provide references for others they have worked with in the field (such as flooring specialists, and furniture makers). Consumers can view these references/reviews others in the field have given interior designers to see how each designer is regarded by their peers. This can really help establish how experienced and professional you appear as an interior designer. Consumers can also browse through reviews of designers done by past clients. This offers home decorators the chance to display their strong work ethic to consumers in real time.

Another really cool benefit of this mobile app for interior designers also ties into a benefit for consumers. People are able to create idea books of design ideas and styles they would like to incorporate into their home décor. A designer can view a potential client’s idea book using this app and get a feel for the person’s style and the kind of look they’re working towards for their home. This would be a great tool to use if you were an interior designer meeting with a potential client for the first time. By pulling up the Houzz.com app on your iPad or other mobile device, you could see exactly the kind of flavor the potential client is looking for and you could pull up examples of your work (also using the Houzz app) that speak to the client’s individual taste.

Another really great aspect of this mobile app for interior designers is that you can participate in real time discussions via the discussion boards. This could be an interesting way to gain really warm leads on new clients. By participating in discussion forums, you could easily set yourself up as an authority on any given design topic. This is great, because if you’re an interior designer giving consumers valuable information on topics they need help on, you could really establish a name for yourself as helpful, creative and knowledgeable. This could easily translate into more clients. For example, you could answer a design question you notice someone has in your local area. The person would likely be very appreciative and they could even (hopefully) inspired by your great ideas. From there, you could offer them a free in person design consultation, where you could use the idea books as noted above to really tailor the discussion based on the potential client’s personal style. It’s a way to get a really warm lead and potentially gain a new client.

Lastly, Houzz.com is a great mobile app for interior designers, because it ties into other social networks. This allows potential clients to share interior design ideas (hopefully yours!) with their entire network of  friends. Consumers can “Like” your photos and profile within Houzz.com and on Facebook. They can also Tweet your idea books, profile, and even discussions you’ve been a part of as well. This is a really easy way for your name and reputation to be shared organically among potential clients.

There are so many mobile applications out there that can be useful for interior designers. If you’re an interior designer or home decorator, the Houzz.com mobile app is one you don’t want to miss!

Be sure to check out next week’s post covering the challenges and risks interior designers face when engaging in social media.

Social Media in the Interior Design Industry

Social Media is a great resource for people in the Interior Design Industry. This really makes sense, as interior design is a visual art. Interior Design clients want to be inspired – to have new, exciting ideas triggered about beautifying their homes. Social Media and Interior Design are the perfect match, because designers can connect with prospective clients with visual ideas and inspiration. This post will focus on some of the cool ways interior designers are using social media to connect with consumers.Interior Designer on Social Media Networks

Blogs

Blogs are one of the major social media tools for interior designers. They give designers a chance to show off their best work and interact with potential clients in an informal manner. And they give consumers a chance to be inspired by new ideas and find a great local interior designer. Good interior design blogs are full of crisp, clear images of a designer’s interesting work, posts about the latest trends in the design industry, tips and ideas, links to other social media networks the designer is on and of course, contact information so interested clients can hire the designer.

Pinterest

With interior design being such a visual business, the highly visual social media network Pinterest is the perfect forum for interior designers to connect with potential clients. Visual images are such a powerful tool for interior designers. Images can convey the quality of a person’s work and a designer’s overall style and flavor, without saying a word.  Interior Designers are using Pinterest to showcase their best work, new ideas, and decorating tips/tricks they’ve picked up along the way. The best Interior Designer Pinterest pages take consumers on a visual journey of ideas and inspiration, giving prospective clients a flavor for their approach to design.

Instagram

Instagram is another extremely visual social networking website, where interior designers are sharing ideas and connecting with prospective clients on a very personal level. Interior Designers are posting everything from recent projects and new ideas/trends to pictures from their personal life (cute dogs! amazing vacations!) on the picture sharing Instagram and consumers seem to be loving it (proven by the THOUSANDS of Instagram followers the best designers on Instagram have). What’s really interesting about Instagram is how interior designers are sharing bits and pieces of their personal lives with consumers on this platform. This gives prospective clients a look at not only what a designer’s style is, but the kind of personality they could be working with if they were to hire the designer. A great working relationship is so important – Instagram gives interior designers a chance to show they not only can produce good work, but that they’re fun, creative people to work with.

YouTube

YouTube is an interesting resource for Interior Designers, because it gives them a chance to show their projects off in real time and it also allows prospective clients to get to know their personalities – and even to feel as though they already know them a bit. Effective Interior Design YouTube channels offer advice, tips/ideas, and showcases of projects completed by interior designers. Some designers even use a reality show format to engage with consumers and show them the behind the scenes aspects of interior design, which seems to be a great way to attract viewers (popular Interior Design YouTube channels have over 100K subscribers!) and show prospective clients their style and personality. Other interior designers produce detailed how-to and before/after videos that provide consumers with ideas, and that also showcase the designer’s work.

No matter which social networks interior designers choose to be active on, it’s clear that social media is a valuable tool in the Interior Design Industry. From the number of follows, likes, views, and comments on these various networks, it’s clear that consumers are eager to engage with interior designers via social media. Interior Designers and Home Decorators should examine the social media resources available to them and start building their SM presence today – prospective clients already are and so is the competition!

Stay tuned for next week’s post on interior designers and mobile applications.

Social Media Tools for Interior Designers

Interior Designers and Home Decorators have many more self promotion options available to them today than of the years past. With the proliferation of social media, interior designers are able to promote themselves online to prospective clients by posting photographs, tips, question & answer sessions…the possibilities are endless. This post will discuss two popular social media networks that home decorators can use to grow their business – Pinterest & Twitter.

Pinterest

Although it is relatively new (founded in 2010), Pinterest has become incredibly popular, gaining over 25 million users and growing. Around 1.36 MILLION people visit Pinterest every day!

Pinterest allows users to share images of interest from around the web, by “pinning” them onto boards shared with their followers. Users can then organize their “pins” into boards in categories of their choice. Pinterest is one of the most popular social media networks in the United States. It also has a significant global presence in the UK, Japan, Canada, and Italy.

Pinterest is extremely popular among women aged 25-44 in the United States; in particularly with the Mom crowd (Moms are 61% more likely to visit Pinterest than the average person in the USA). And many of these Pinterest users are well off (making $100K+).   Of note to interior designers and home decorators: Referrals are highest in Home & Furnishings categories on Pinterest – it accounts for 60% of all social traffic. If you’re an interior designer and you’re not on Pinterest, you definitely should be!

Here are a couple of tips:

Install a Pinterest Button on your website. This will allow your web visitors to pin images from you that they enjoy. It will also help you build up a network of followers.

Pin the best images from your best work. Did you just design an incredible living room? Pin it! Are you working on renovating a bathroom – pin the pics of the process (for non-top secret jobs, of course).  Be sure to attribute any work that isn’t yours to the correct person or company.

Follow other pins and interact within various communities. Use hashtags (#) to participate or start public conversations and the @ icon to address a pinner directly. This is a social network after all! One of the best ways to get people to follow your boards is to follow others and be an overall active member of the community.

Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging community that has become a wildly popular global social network. Users share everything from thoughts to news, to images, video links, and much more – all within 140 characters or less. Hashtags and @ symbols are popular on Twitter, just as they are on Pinterest, as they enable people to communicate with each other. People all over the world use Twitter to keep in touch with friends, promote their business, stay current on the news, and to be entertained in general.

There are over 100 million active members on Twitter. While Pinterest is certainly growing, Twitter is a much larger social network to date.

Unlike Pinterest, Twitter has a broader split between male and female users. It also is popular with a younger target demographic (the 18-29 year old set), while Pinterest appeals to a slightly older crowd. Also most Twitter users live in an urban setting geographically. With Pinterest, your audience is made of suburban Moms who shop. With Twitter, your audience is made of young, urban trend setters who are early adopters. Both audiences are incredibly valuable – though quite different.

For an interior designer or home decorator, Twitter could be a great space to connect with local vendors and artists, and an excellent way to keep on top of fashion trends that can be used for fresh ideas in home décor.

Here are a couple of tips:

With Twitter, you absolutely must follow people in order to gain a following yourself. Otherwise, no one will see your Tweets! Start by following friends, clients (as appropriate), industry leaders, artists, etc. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many of them follow you back.

Reply to conversations. This is another great way to build followers and to get people interacting with you. When people are talking about home interior design, chime in with your thoughts, ideas, and tips. You’ll introduce yourself to the Twitter community, and people will love getting your useful information.

Be real. Let your personality shine through. Tweet images from your latest project, or a new tip you just learned. Host a Q&A session. Twitter gives you a chance to really set yourself up as an expert on home design.

I hope you’ve found this discussion of Twitter and Pinterest helpful. Make sure to check out next week’s post, where I’ll be talking about the current state of social media in the interior design industry.