Guidance for Marketing Leaders
As marketing leadership, you know that your social media program relies upon fresh content. In some ways, that’s easy in the AEC world—your firm is constantly working on new projects, has hired new employees, and has plenty of newsworthy content to share. But “fresh” means many things. Marketing is successful when it garners attention and interest both effectively and efficiently; otherwise, it’s not going to draw in your audience.
Quantity is not the same as quality. Your social media cannot be scattered with disjointed, standalone posts. Social media marketing needs to straddle diversity and consistency to the point that it should always feel new and engaging yet cover all of your firm’s market sectors and other areas of interest. Take the lead for content creation from the objectives in your firm’s strategic plan. What’s your social media marketing plan? What elements of consistency do you need and who will execute them? What elements of diversity must you maintain, and how can you keep that new content coming?
Plan for Balance
Planning month by month is both simple and effective, but it can be even more effective when we look at the big picture. When creating your yearly plan, do you have content that is targeted at appropriate intervals? Are you planning to post every day, every week, every month, or every two months?
Consider the benefits of content like:
- Instagram stories, Facebook stories, LinkedIn and Twitter fleets at the end of each week showing sneak peeks of projects or behind-the-scenes content
- Instagram stories, Facebook stories, LinkedIn and Twitter fleets at the beginning of each week asking a short question or calling for action on that week’s events
- Biweekly project spotlights
- Monthly team member interviews
- Interesting AEC expert facts or quotes from your team given on a consistent day each week
- Educational topics that highlight your firm and team member’s expertise
- Client and/or consultant spotlights
Give these consistent posts recognizable titles, even if simple: "On the Boards,” “Behind the Structure,” “[Firm] Q+As,” “Team Spotlight," and then make them reliable content with those titles (and hashtags!) in view. This is a long-term commitment to consistency, and just a few are plenty. If you can get your followers to recognize your consistent content, they may even begin to look forward to the routine.
Balance Your Aesthetic
While we still have those big picture glasses on, how is your aesthetic? Are you consistent not only with your schedule but also with your visuals? Repeat viewers should automatically know that the post is from you either because they’ve seen you post new content consistently on certain days of the week or because your aesthetic is clear and uniform. New viewers should be able to get a sense of your brand and aesthetic from almost any post—whether from a border, ribbon, badge, or color palette. Consider the worth of high-quality, unmarked photography all on its own. If you’re posting high-quality photography once in a blue moon, try making it consistent enough to become recognizable for your viewers. Strive to be known.
Balance Your Themes
Let’s zoom in just a little. When planning each month, focus all posts on a theme. Social media posts shouldn’t feel arbitrary—they need to be focused and intentional. Isolate a theme for every month, whether that’s a firm value, market sector, service, expertise, or otherwise, that theme should permeate the assigned content to lend a sense of consistency and reliability to every content you introduce. If your month’s theme is higher education, make your employee spotlight focus on someone who is a specialist in that market sector and is recognized by those clients.
Balance Your Assignments
Recognize and assign the best candidate for each task in your plan. Do you have someone with a good eye and artistic skills? Is someone on your team particularly witty and creative? Is there someone who can be relied upon for more in-depth posts and articles? Who is the specialist for a specific project specialty? Use your team and draw on their expertise.
Three steps are critical to the success of your social media plan: Develop everything two months ahead if possible and adjust as needed. Keep to your schedule, posting consistently on regular dates and times. Have a system in place to reliably produce new content.