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.

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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.

First Post!

Hello Everyone ~ Welcome to the first post of InsideHomeDesign! I started this blog to review and discuss everything about home decorating and interior design. I’m going to be focusing on everything from ways to use Social Media to make money as a home decorator or interior designer to the best home design tips and tricks I pick up from the pros, to the progress of my own home renovations. This is going to be a great place to pick up home décor ideas, find out how to make money as an interior designer, and discuss ideas and…. well everything about interior decorating.

Before we really get into things, here’s a little bit about me:

I’m an advertising professional with a background in direct response, social media, and radio advertising. I currently work as the creative director at an advertising agency in Portland, Maine and I love my job! I’m also a wife and a Mom of two (a little boy and a baby girl). We live in Freeport, Maine in a ranch style home we bought two years ago. We love the town of Freeport and the general layout of our home (SO open, lots of square feet)…but our home is pretty dated, so we’ve been renovating it room by room for the past two years. We’ve come a long way…but we’ve got a l-o-n-g way to go and a strict budget to adhere to.

As we’ve renovated our home, it occurred to me that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE home interior design! I subscribe to a ton of great home interior decorating magazines and religiously visit many home décor blogs. I’m constantly doing “weekend warrior” home improvement projects. I’m a flea market, yard sale, Craigslist, and hardware store junky…it’s safe to say…I’m hooked! And I’ve picked up so many great tips and tricks along the way that I’m really excited to share here on this blog. As someone with an advertising and social media background, I would also like to share ways for interior designers or ANYONE who has a love for home décor to effectively market themselves online, via social media. I’m definitely always finding cool new ideas on this front along with new neat, budget friendly home decorating ideas and I’m so ready to share and discuss them…and pick up NEW ideas as well.