I was invited to be on a panel for the architecture group AIA last night, and found that not only is the Haworth Showroom a very nice venue, but also that architects, like many, are grappling with how to use social media, what one can do to raise one's image, get new clients, follow the "rules" and otherwise figure out how to works.
Some of the main points I raised were that it's important to experiment, cultivate and get better over time ("iterate" is one way of putting it). One audience member asked how to use social media like Twitter, which is quick and short bursts persistently, in the course of managing long-term architectural projects. "In the course of managing the project, don't you find yourself considering a lot of things, checking in often as you make decisions?" I replied, "Wouldn't it be nice if you could, for example, Tweet that you were considering a certain wood for a certain type of situation, say a damp environment, and get feedback from others in the community about woods they'd used that were particularly effective for your situation? Or cement. Or doorknobs." He made the point that you will not only gain interested followers who want to learn about your projects, and potentially pick up new clients that way, but also get "inbound marketing" intelligence that may be useful to your business.
Adam Lutz, facilities manager of Google, talked about how a niche brewery instilled passion among avid fans by being very participatory in social media. Mike Plotnick, Media Relations Manager, at the architecture firm HOK talked about how they'd started HOKLife and let 30 staff members talk about what they were doing around the world -- and that sometimes it was a risk (they said things in ways that weren't quite "on message") but ultimately the brand was carried by them,a nd spread more. Jessica Sheridan, Editor-in-Chief of eOculus, talked about how she'd found sources, stories and more on Twitter and other social media.
You can see more coverage by looking on Twitter at the hashtag #aianysocialmedia.