In 1439, Johannes Gutenburg invented the printing press, revolutionizing communication forever. Eventually, the printing press was improved, turned into typewriters, then computers, smart phones and more. Thanks to the technology and the burst of the Dot-com bubble, it would usher in branding’s new secret weapon—social media.
Like the printing press, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat and others were created with the goal of changing communication. Some 16 years after the Dot-com bubble popped, social media has been integrated into almost every facet of everyday life. Unfortunately, AEC, a B2B industry, is virtually invisible on social media compared to B2C industries such as jewelry, clothing and automotive.
The best use of social media for a B2B oriented business is to network. Networking essentially means to share information, whether it is contact info or insights.
The Marketing Handbook for the Design and Construction Professional advises
professionals “to have information to share in order to receive information in
return.” The easiest way to do this is to stay up to date on current trends and news through “blogs, wikis and other Internet-based information.”
Statistically, the best place to network is LinkedIn, a gathering ground for
professionals. In 2015, LinkedIn controlled 94% of B2B marketing compared to 88% on Twitter and 84% on Facebook.
Like any conversation, starting is one of the hardest parts of networking; it can be difficult to muster up the courage to approach another. All this is made infinitely easier online rather than conferences and other networking events, where it’s easier to find the perfect person to network with all while significantly lowering the potential for devastating human error.
According the Marketing Handbook, some of the best types of people you should
begin networking with are:
- College alumni: Whether they’re old friends, acquaintances or complete
strangers, it’s amazing how far you can get into business negotiations. Fellow
alumni can also lead to partnerships, recruits and new work opportunities.
Focus on people who are in a relevant industry to you, and vice-versa.
- Associations and societies: Every group has aspects of culture and
insights valuable to others. Connecting with members from the American
Institute of Architects (AIA) for example can help give you new insight to an
aesthetically pleasing 3D printing interior design you’d like to incorporate
into your next project.
- Suppliers of products: The larger the supplier, the better. They’ll have
large marketing budgets you can piggyback on to get your name out there as
well, and teaming up with companies is a great way to earn credibility to the
public and the rest of the industry.
- Suppliers of products: The larger the supplier, the better. They’ll have large marketing budgets you can piggyback on to get your name out there as well, and teaming up with companies is a great way to earn credibility to the public and the rest of the industry.
Lastly, it’s easiest to build a relationship with a business (or anyone) by treating social media like a two-way conversation, not an online bulletin board. The best way to develop discussion is by answer questions quickly and being completely personable. The number one rule is to keep in touch.
No one really knows the next big leap for communication. Whatever it might be, the art and enterprise of media and communication have come impossibly far from the Gutenburg Press, and they’ll only go impossibly further.