Sarah Matarazzo

Sarah is recognised marketer, energy lobbyist and fanatical blogger. Guest writer to alsecco Twitter @sociallygrownuk

Does Instagram influence architecture?

When considering whether or not Instagram is already influencing architecture, perhaps the real question is should it be influencing architecture - or at least the way that architects and those within the industry market themselves? And ultimately, the answer has to be yes. At first glance, Instagram can appear to be little more than a vanity platform or portfolio channel for showcasing work, however, that view ignores the mounting power of the platform. Social media is a hugely powerful marketing channel with incredible potential to engage, market and - ultimately - sell. Architects, agencies and manufacturers can all nurture the right followers, create engaging content and curate a powerful feed that gets results, from product adoption through to new commissions.

The benefits of Instagram

You don't have to be a global influencer to build up a successful following for your architecture content on Instagram. The trick is to start small and to grow incrementally over time. It's worth knowing that 70% of tags are related to branded content and there are eight million business accounts, many of which belong to SMEs. Additionally, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. It doesn't even cost anything to set up an account and start creating your following and feed!

How manufacturers can use Instagram to engage with architects

Manufacturers can post a variety of content that goes beyond the basic sales promotion. They can post behind the scenes views of the business, case study and explainer videos, inspirational storyboarding, event and trade show images, construction site images, stories from travels and 'day in the life of' videos.

How architects can use Instagram to engage with peers, recruiters and potential clients

Most architects still don't focus too heavily on marketing activity or see it as being a crucial part of their business. Often, studios and agencies focus on business strategy without considering marketing and communications as a vital tool to reach prospects and convert existing leads. There are plenty of ways to build a following as an architect, as images, videos and links can be used to share your philosophy and approach, your passions, background, inspiration - and, of course, your portfolio.

The trick to getting it right

Instagram users use the platform for myriad purposes, but primarily to engage with fresh content that offers them meaning and value. This means that businesses in the architecture industry must think strategically about developing their accounts with the end user in mind. There is actually very little room for 'vanity' content unless you are sharing beautiful images of end products that will inspire and intrigue your followers. The trick is always to think of your end user (with analysis of your followers as necessary) and to provide content that will give them genuine value.

The Alsecco Instagram account, for example, shares a mixture of product information, competitions, topical jokes and links to news content that its audience will find interesting. Manufacturers can mix up product information and details about new releases with images of customer projects and case studies, inspirational showcase images, competitions, lighthearted and topical jokes and light content, valuable industry news and 'how to' or explainer videos. They can also share content from partners where both parties will benefit from the share.

Growing followers

Follow relevant accounts in your industry to encourage a reciprocal share and always add plenty of hashtags when posting new content. Respond to comments and share content across any other social media accounts that you might have. Remember to include details of your Instagram handle on your other marketing and communication channels - from email signatures and business cards through to print materials.

Building engagement

To build engagement, consider using short videos and using location-based tagging. Research suggests that location-based tagged posts have up to 79% more engagement than those without. Use the platform's own features such as Instagram Stories to increase visibility - knowing that 70% of posts aren't actually seen because of the sheer volume of content being posted every day. Use a variety of content that extends beyond photos and videos, including memes and infographics.

Getting started

If you aren't sure how to start, a good approach is to set up your business account, then start to follow other businesses and leaders within the industry. This will start to create a feed of relevant content that will provide inspiration and guidance.

In conclusion, there is plenty of scope to make use of Instagram within the architecture industry - regardless of your professional and industry placement. The important thing is to start your journey, educate yourself at every opportunity and continue to learn as you go.