Kitchen & Bath Design News

FEB 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Social media-savvy industry professionals share their strategies for a successful digital presence. BY AUTUMN MCGARR Social Media Superstars y now, the vast majority of design professionals are well aware that cultivating a distinctive and engaging social media presence is one of the most crucial steps in developing a successful marketing plan. But where to begin? Anyone researching social media strategies will be confronted with a dizzying array of tips and tricks, an endless (and often inconsistent) barrage of how to post, what to post, when to post and where to post. The sheer volume of information and advice can be incredibly daunting. Perhaps the best place to start is figuring out what sets a successful kitchen and bath design social media presence apart from other industries. What platforms should designers focus their energy on in order to reach the greatest number of potential clients? What types of posts garner not only the most attention, but the most profitable attention? How can designers develop a distinctive voice for their social media in order to create greater brand awareness? This month, KBDN chatted with a few of the kitchen and bath design industry's savviest social media influencers in order to find the answers to some of those questions. JEAN STOFFER Instagram: @jeanstofferdesign / @stofferhome Pinterest: @jeanstoffer Few kitchen and bath professionals exemplify social me- dia success more than southwest Michigan-based designer Jean Stoffer, of Jean Stoffer Design. With well over 90,000 Instagram followers and counting, Stoffer has built her busi- ness almost entirely on social media word of mouth. "[Social media word of mouth] has been so key, I cannot overstate it," Stoffer says. "I moved to Michigan from the Chicago area three years ago. My business was solely word of mouth prior to moving. I did not quite know how to break into a brand-new market. Enter Instagram. I started posting pictures of projects, and it was picked up by some very large accounts and the work was reposted, and it has just been an upward trajectory ever since." Stoffer was naturally drawn to Instagram above oth- er social media platforms due to its visual nature. "Since Instagram is photo-centric, it made the most sense to choose that platform," Stoffer says. "With stories, [Instagram] is versatile and offers great cross-linking to our own website and collaborating partners." According to Stoffer, high-quality photography is one of the most important assets a design- er can bring to social media. "It would be impossible to overstate how important the quality of the photography is," she advises. "I have learned what compositions my audience likes, what type of lighting, etc. I have learned some valuable guidelines from my son and daughter-in-law (interiors pho- tographers) about how to set up a shot and how to edit it. You could have designed the most amazing space, but if it's not presented well, it will have zero traction." She adds, "I only present images of the kind of work I want to get more of. I send people to the contact page of our website, where we are able to quickly determine if they are a potential client." Stoffer's distinctive social media presence relies not only on a beautifully curated page full of project photography, but also on the Instagram "Story" function, a feature that enables users to post temporary content that is deleted after 24 hours, similar to Snapchat. "I 'story' about work in progress and per- sonal experiences. These can be still shots, or up to 15-second movies with each story," Stoffer explains. "My stories are more casual, more 'here's what's going on at this site, or at the offic- es,' etc. I never edit any photos that go on the Story – it's more raw and unfiltered." As for her feed, Stoffer endeavors to post five to seven high-quality photos per week. "It's much more professional looking [than the Story]. But I still keep the caption warm and personal. I have discovered that potential clients feel like they already know me by the time they make their initial contact. In a way, it's a little like a personal referral." B Jean Stoffer's posts feature polished, eye-catching photography paired with personable captions, with notable brands tagged in the images. Courtesy of Jean Stoffer Design; Photo: Stoffer Photography Interiors 64 Kitchen & Bath Design News • February 2019 NETWORKING

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