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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media pages, as well as her blog, Mod Design Guru (mod- designguru.com), channel followers back to her Instagram page and website. For Alfano, social media is a means of not only putting her name on new clients' radar, but also a way to ensure that the partnership is a good match. "Instagram and Facebook definitely help future clients get to know who I am as a designer and as a person," Alfano says. "By the time a client is ready to hire a designer, they have a better understanding of who I am and can decide if we are a fit even before they meet me." VERONIKA MILLER Instagram: @modenus / #designhounds Twitter: @Modenus / #designhounds Pinterest: @modenus An experienced kitchen/bath and interior designer in her own right, Veronika Miller has made a name for herself as a design industry social media, networking and marketing expert. The founder and CEO of Modenus, a digital resource for designers and those seeking design inspiration, Miller is an expert on the specific social media and digital communica- tion needs of the design industry. According to Miller, what sets social media for the design industry apart from other industries is "the visual aspect, first and foremost. It's great for designers to be able to establish two things: their authority on the subject or a specific niche, as well as their aesthetic." Miller points to Instagram and Pinterest as two particularly powerful platforms for designers to utilize. "[Designers] can use the platforms to curate a specific aesthetic and a specific style to help people find them online…The other thing that we find that a lot of designers do successfully is that they actually show their process. So it's not just about the pretty face at the end, because a pretty portfolio is one thing, but you have no idea what the budget and the existing condition were." Additionally, says Miller, for designers seeking to court brands' attention and become tastemakers/influencers, "social media is a great way for them to let brands know what they're doing." Because major brands' marketing depart- ments are often so distant from the end specifier, Miller believes social media is an excellent way to bridge that gap. For a designer to have an Instagram or other similar social media presence "where they're saying, 'Hey, Miele, I'm planning on using you, here's the concept for a project I'm working on' – reaching out to brands early on – oftentimes can result in really meaningful collaborations," Miller be- lieves. For this reason, she encourages designers to tag their project photos with all of the brands specified in the project. MICHELE ALFANO: Instagram: @michelealfanodesign Facebook: @MicheleAlfanoDesign Pinterest: MAlfanoDesign Designer and trained architect Michele Alfano, of Michele Alfano Design, curates one of the most interesting and in- spiring Instagram pages in the industry – and at over 17,000 followers, potential clients are taking notice. Uniquely, Alfano's Instagram page consists not only of project photos, as is the industry tendency, but visually ar- resting detail shots and a selection of candid photos. "I have a kaleidoscope of interests and like to strategically feature my ex- periences in a patterned, ever-changing way," she notes. "I do not like to keep a strict schedule. So each day is different, but [there's] a consistent pattern of content in regards to design trade shows/events, design products or fashion I like, people I meet or images of my own artwork." Alfano, who holds a Master of Architecture, tends to share photos of striking architectural details, in particular. "I bring an architectural eye to all things design, whether it be at trade shows, or personal experiences. I think this is what makes me stand out," Alfano says. "I am drawn to each detail and gener- ally like to feature what I think is interesting about what I'm looking at. I guess what I think is catchy is also what catches someone else's eye while looking at my social media." Alfano largely credits her social media success to her understanding of her client base and potential audience. "I think designers first need to figure out what they stand for and who their client is," she advises. "Then curate images to attract the most valuable audience to potentially turn followers into revenue." She also has benefited from the more social aspects of social media: "Friends on Instagram and Facebook have helped me to grow my client base by either tagging me to answer their friends' design questions, or referring me to someone who is looking for a designer." More than just pretty pictures, Alfano's approach to social media necessitates diligent posting and scheduling. "I try to post one Instagram a day around 4-5 p.m. and stories a couple of times a week," she explains. Her Facebook and other social " [Designers] can use the platforms to curate a specific aesthetic and a specific style to help people find them online…" —Veronika Miller In addition to project photography, Michele Alfano often posts detail shots of architecture that inspire her. Courtesy of Michele Alfano Design 66 Kitchen & Bath Design News • February 2019 NETWORKING

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