This post is for Interior designers who already have a Google plus page and want to get the most out of their Google plus experience. I've listed some valuable resources at the end of this post for those of you who have no idea what Google Plus is or how to get started.
Image 1) Chris Brogan's book cover
Image 2) Breakfast area designed by Michel Boyd of Smith Boyd Interiors
Last week, I got a call from a design firm wanting help updating their Facebook page. The owner attend my keynote presentation at ADAC on "Facebook marketing" and wanted industry specific updates made to her page. I started by telling her: Although the tips I gave two years ago were still relevant , I no longer used Facebook to market my design business. " I'm now using and loving Google+" I explained.
I'm sure your reaction is a lot like hers. "Oh no! Not another social media site."
I get it. Social media is still in the early stages. Sites and services get introduced and phased out all the time. Just last week there were tons of articles about the changes Google made to Gmail.
Apparently they suck for those who use email marketing for their business. These new changes do not deliver the ad, or update directly into the primary email folder but categories incoming emails into one of three areas: primary, social or promotions. With these new changes and the ones I'm sure will come, I've learned to take the good with the bad and to continue to allow myself to change with the times. But it's not all "happy happy, joy joy." I too cringe when a feature or service that I've grown to love and depend on is discontinued.
Today I want to share how I use Google Plus for my design business. In Google Plus, like Facebook, you can set up both a personal page and a business page. I've learned from my Facebook days to keep it simple and not manage too many pages at once. I've decided to use my Kimberly Ward page for everything. There you will find all my loves in one place. That includes PinkEggshell and my work with the #AATop20 Interior Designers.
1. Start by circling the furniture companies that you use in your design projects.
This includes companies where you have trade accounts, as well as companies that are turning out products that inspire your designs.
2. Circle brands that offer tools that make your job easier.
I like Olioboard for 2D and 3D room presentations and Base Camp for project planning. By following them, I get updates on new features as well as tips on how to use the products more efficiently. I also have paint vendors and window covering companies in this group. Google Plus updates from them make it easy to stay up on the benefits and special features of their products.
3. Circle companies that are making waves in the interior design industry.
The Kravets have a fascinating company with strong family and historical ties. Because of their passion and unique approach to business, they are able to do some cutting edge events and have formed partnerships with trend setting designers. These events and partnerships set the Kravet family of companies apart for their competitors. You want to be where innovation is happening and it is happening at companies like Kravet.
Barbara Barry presenting her Indochine collection for Kravet at Blogfest
4. Circle the designers who inspire you.
It's OK to have a design crush. In fact, it's not uncommon to have a design idol whose style you love. These rock stars of the design industry are doing the projects that inspire you to keep on keeping on. Show your support on Google Plus by leaving comments and sharing their projects. Build relationships and ask lots of questions.
My design crush Designer Michel Boyd of Smith Boyd Interiors via The Atlantan Magazine
5. Circle your favorite shelter magazines.
This goes without saying. It's exciting to get information about upcoming issues as well as events sponsored by your favorite publications. I attended an event sponsored by House Beautiful earlier this year. I was surprised when I saw that I was included in the story about the event in the actual magazine.
6. Circle interior design news sources like Editor-at-large.
I love Editor at Large because of the up to the moment design information you'll find on their site. I use it to keep up with industry happening in the cities where I don't live. I'm obsessed with the behind the scenes video coverage of exclusive industry events.
7. Circle special interest groups or pages and join their community.
Pages like African-American Interior Designers or WITHIT provide industry knowledge that pertains to a specific sub-group of interior designers. In addition to pages, these groups often have communities. Communities are a fun place to participate in online hangouts or group chats. Circle any regional design groups or organizations under this category as well.
8. Circle decorative resource providers.
You should circle ADAC, America's Mart, ASID or any decorative resource center in your area in order to stay ahead of industry events, keynote speakers, or continuing education classes. Focusing on this group is important for the growth of your business.
9. Circle the page for the community or building that you live/ work.
I do a lot of business in my building. I've made friends with the Realtors who live here and we keep each other busy. Circling your community's page will not only let you know who's selling a great piece of furniture, but will help you to know who's new to the community, and what units and/or homes are for sale. If you follow the larger community or area near your home you might even find out about planned construction years before it actually takes place.
10. Finally, circle your favorite bloggers and magazine contributors.
Bloggers are always looking for original content, so they want to know what you are working on. They can also be a resource. The nature of their job keeps us them contact with people who are interested in interior design content. Follow them and interact with them. I always pass along a project that I think a print editor could use.
You can circle me here. I hope this helps. I know that once you give Google plus try you will love it. I just finished "Google Plus for Business" by Chris Brogan. It's a great book and covers the more technical side of Google Plus. Here are a few additional resources I think you'll find helpful. Good luck!
If you found this information helpful please share!