Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What’s the Right Way for an A/E Firm to Use Instagram?

by David Whitemyer, AIA

Instagram should be part of your firm’s social media arsenal – especially now!

Facebook made big news back in 2012 when it purchased Instagram for $1 billion. They saw the social media tsunami coming. Now, only two years later, engagement on Instagram is 15 times that of Facebook. In fact, it’s the fastest growing of all mobile apps, having increased by 66% in 2013 to over 30 million users.

Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing app. It’s available for iPhones and Droid devices, but not for tablets or computers (however, accounts and settings are viewable on most browsers). It’s a great, easy, and fast way to share you firm’s projects and culture, and not just with current and past clients, but with everyone – your employees, your friends and family, the world.

You could use Instagram to showcase your firm’s portfolio, but that’s not really going to interest people and increase your “followers.” Keep in mind that Instagram photos receive around 1,000 comments and 8,500 “likes” per second – that’s 1.2 billion per day!

People that are drawn to your account don’t just want to see your firm’s work, they want to see your firm – your employees, your fun, your thoughts and ideas. In addition to posting gorgeous photos of your completed projects, here are seven other ideas for Instagram pics.

•     Projects in progress. Post photos from a construction site, of structural connections or of your employees interacting with the contractors.

•     Field trips. Do your employees periodically take trips to factories or materials suppliers as part of the professional development? Take pictures of those trips and post them.

•     Office parties. If your office is fun, tell the world about it. Posting pictures of your principals and employees being quirky at a party isn’t unprofessional. It’s human.

•     Meetings. Whether they’re serious or silly, internal or with clients, it’s nice to let people know that you work collaboratively. Take photos during meetings, and share them.

•     Sketches. Sometimes your work-in-progress is more interesting the final product. If someone in your firm does incredible napkin sketches, snap some shots of them.

•     Inspiration. You don’t always have to share photos of your own firm’s work. If you find another building or detail interesting, share of photo of it and let people know why you like it.

•     Your office and neighborhood. Where you work can be just as interesting as how you work and your projects. Post photos of your streetscape or frequented restaurants.

Don’t just post photos and hope that people will discover them. Use hashtags like #modernarchitecture, #officeparty, #newconstruction, etc. in order to grab more Instagram users. The more hashtags you use, the better.

Not many A/E firms have hopped on the Instagram bandwagon yet. Like any social media tool, it takes time to manage, and there’s really no way to measure its ROI because there isn’t any tangible profit from it beyond keeping your firm’s name and buzz “out there.”

If you’d like to see what others are doing, here are four small-to-midsize firms that are using Instagram. Check them out.

1. Dattner Architects (New York City) - @dattnerarch

2. Flavin Architects (Boston) - @flavinarchitects

3. Sorg Architects (Washington DC) - @SorgArchitects

4. Verge Architecture (Seattle) - @vergead

Does your architecture or engineering firm have an Instagram account? Please share it with us and let us know how you’ve been using it. Send an email to editor@psmj.com

David Whitemyer, AIA, is a Contributing Editor at PSMJ Resources, Inc., a licensed architect, and project manager at a Boston-area design firm. He can be reached at dwhitemyer@psmj.com

No comments:

Follow @PSMJ_Resources