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!

 

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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.