Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2014

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

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22 | Kitchen & Bath Design News July 2014 I get asked all the time about strategies for social me- dia. "How do I market my kitchen and bath frm on social media?" "How do I get the most followers?" or "How can I get the most leads?" The answer isn't a straightforward one. I'll answer all of those questions, but frst let's put the Internet in perspective. Years ago, the Internet was a very anonymous place. The only way your business was going to get known was through being listed high on search engines. This led to the rise of SEO (search en- gine optimization). This was a process where savvy nerds could optimize your site so it would climb its way up the rankings. This method involved tinkering with key- words, and purchasing space on search engine listings. Now the Internet is a very diferent place. Aside from being a fantastic resource for cat videos and baby pic- tures from your friends, it's very "social." Our virtual world is starting to mimic the real world. People share pictures and stories with certain groups of friends on Facebook. Large groups of people get together on Pinterest to scrapbook and trade DIY project ideas. Amateur photographers are focking to Instagram and so many felines have had their talent discovered on YouTube. To put this succinctly, the Internet is a group of real peo- ple, not people anonymously hiding behind a keyboard. To reach these people, you have to think of the Internet , the social Internet, as a big networking event. You can't just go to any event, either, you have to go to the right ones. By way of being savvy, friendly, engaging and genu- ine, you can meet potential clients and friends that way. So how do you navigate this big networking event we call the Internet? It's all about knowing where to go and why. Allow me to be your guide! INSTAGRAM Instagram is a place where people share pictures. Pic- tures can only upload one at a time, and special flters can be applied to enhance them. Many people tag pictures with hashtags that makes the pictures searchable. With your Instagram account, you can search for pictures with words like "design" or "kitch- en." There, you can engage in conversation with people about pictures they've posted. You can also post your own. With Instagram, you can really show of your sense of style with other like-minded people. Think of this as a con- tinuous interactive portfolio of your work. Don't be afraid to be yourself! Pictures of your pets, coffee and food are always popular and can really humanize you and your business. FACEBOOK Facebook has about 1.2 bil- lion active users. This is the most popular social network. If you're on Facebook, you know that it's a very personal experience. You communicate with close friends, and wish there weren't so many wed- ding and baby pictures. Come election time, you probably yearn for those baby pictures over political posts! I'm sure you've all seen companies ask you to "Like us on Facebook." This is a play for brands to get you to invite them into your personal feed on Facebook. This is a big thing to ask. Do you really want Super Mega Corp. posting coupons on your feed? Probably not. But how about if a local business posted updates on local news, sports and weather? Perhaps they posted interesting reci- pes and shared pictures of remodels in progress? That would be something that a potential client would welcome seeing in their feed. Act with your Facebook page as you would an event in per- son: You'd wear a name tag, but you'd keep the conversa- tion engaging and interesting. PINTEREST You may have heard of Pinterest before. It's essen- tially an online scrapbooking service. From Pinterest, users can "pin" pictures to difer- ent boards that they create. The pictures that are on Pinterest are typically design, DIY and food focused. Most of the pictures have links in them that lead to a Web site. If you see a tantalizing pic- ture of lasagna, clicking on it will usually lead to a recipe. This visual, design-focused way to fnd pictures can be a really fun and interesting way to browse the Internet. Now you may be asking yourself, "How is this going to help me market my kitchen and bath frm?" Well, let me answer with an example. There's an interior designer and color consultant that I know. She decided to create her profle in Pinterest. She uploaded pictures of diferent rooms and put them on many diferent boards. In addition to that, she went through Pinterest and found many related pictures to mix into her boards. So, for example, she has a board that's all about the color blue. Many of the pictures are of proj- ects she's done. In addition, she has many pictures that inspire the color blue. In a short amount of time, she has been able to digitize her entire profle and enhance it with Pinterest content. In addition, people who browse her portfolio can talk to her about it right on Pinterest. She will even work on clients' designs using Pinterest. You can create a "secret" board that is shared with only certain people. The designer and her clients will often "pin" pictures together to create the inspiration for a project. HOUZZ Facebook built a social network for everyone, every- where; Houzz built a social network for kitchen and bath designers and consumers interested in home design. Houzz wants people just like us to upload pictures of com- pleted remodeling projects. Each picture that is uploaded is carefully tagged and orga- nized. This makes it easy for consumers to log in and look for remodeling inspiration. They can drill down catego- ries to specifc style and color, something that you can't do elsewhere on the Internet. The ultimate goal of Houzz is more than just get- ting people the pictures they want; Houzz wants to be a consumer's "go to" source for remodeling advice. To that end, Houzz gives you more ways to share and engage. There's a "feed" that is akin to Facebook's "news feed" that allows you to post up- dates and share pictures and articles. There is also "Houzz Advice." This is a forum that you can go into and answer the questions of consumers who are looking for remodel- ing advice. This is a fantastic way for you to show of your knowledge. Houzz is a digi - tal networking event that is marketed directly at people who need your services. You should certainly be there! THE MAGIC BULLET The big take away here is to just be yourself. As with venues in real life, these different social networks attract diferent people for diferent reasons. If you go there, interact, engage and share, you'll make connec- tions – just like you do in real life. It's not about the most followers, Web site hits or "likes," it's about the per- sonal connections. You can always find a technical person to help you with the technical aspects of these social networks, such as apps and uploading pic- tures. But the most important part – being yourself – can only be done by you, and you're the best at being you. So go out there, get yourself online and be yourself. The Secret to Social Media The secret to social media is to treat the various platforms as you would a live networking event, interacting, engaging and making personal connections, rather than just chasing 'likes' or followers. "To reach people through social media, you have to think of the social Internet as one big networking event." Read past columns and features and send us your comments about this article and others by logging onto our Web site: Design Technology { Eric Schimelpfenig, AKBD } KBD_22-23_DesignTech.indd 22 6/16/14 1:45 PM

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