Here are a few suggestions if you want to obtain more followers and reach a wider audience using social media:
1) There are no key words that I know of to find potential/future clients, developers, and builders so I consider everyone I meet a potential contact – present or future – so I follow most people back. So don’t just follow the professional organizations, other Architects, and allied professionals, instead broaden your fan/follower base.
2) Become the Go-To Guy / Gal for Architecture (or your profession) within your own social network (be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, etc). I get all sorts of emails related to the profession which leads me to believe that the people I associate with and see me tweet about Architecture associate me as an “expert” in the field.
3) Expand. Don’t just tweet / post about Architecture. My father tweets about Sports and gets 10 times more hits on his blog than I get. This means that some professions like Architecture have less appeal, so tweet / post about other things you enjoy, be it art, music, culture, etc.
4) Change your tone – I like to post about hanging out with my children or visiting my family when I am on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn I try to keep more professional. I think it is fun and benefitical to show your personal side, but just be aware of what you are posting where. Try to keep your posts on LinkedIn more professional (i.e., related to the industry or allied industries, like Real Estate, Energy Conservation, Codes, etc for Architects) and be more personable on Facebook and Twitter.
5) Don’t forget to recommend and connect people within your network. I was very excited when I recently saw that a fellow Architect member of the Architects LEague connected a photographer to another Architect member in our group. Everybody wins when you are able to connect two or more folks. Make Social Media work for you by making these connections possible.
6) Don’t be scared to send a shout-out to your Followers on Twitter. People want to be mentioned. Whether you include others in a tweet about a story you saw or whether you include someone on a quotation you found people will want to interact with you more and be more engaging if you engage them. So far the only people who have complained about me tweeting too much or not wanting to be mentioned (ironically) have been other Architects. Everyone else I have encountered online has ben grateful when they are mentioned and 9 times out of 10 they will retweet my post so my message is reached even further to their followers.
7) Who do you want to emulate? Make sure you check out and follow other professionals who you see as your competition or colleagues so that you can learn from their success. Retweet / repost what they send out and be sure to enage in a dialog with them even if it is just clicking the like button or posting a short message. Trust me, as someone who knows, I absolutely appreciate and value those who interact with me.
Hope these help you make the most of your experience online and I hope you share your ideas with me as well.