For many architecture and engineering (A/E) firms, digital marketing, specifically the use of websites, is still something new. Sure, a firm might have a relatively new website with all of the latest functionality and design bells and whistles (e.g., infinite scrolling, responsive design, content management, etc.), but the strategy behind the website and how best to use it for marketing and business development purposes (i.e., lead generation, thought leadership, brand building, etc.) is often lacking. Take, for example, what I observed while visiting New York-based ODA’s website.
When I clicked on the firm’s social media links (Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram) which are listed on the home page (see below), this is what I experienced.
First, the Instagram icon links to a page (see below) that says, “Sorry, this page isn’t available.” Because Instagram is driven by images, it makes perfect sense for A/E firms to use this platform to showcase their work. But, if no images appear then it all means very little.
Second, the Vimeo icon brought me to a page (see below) which had six videos posted and only 27 followers. The most recent video was posted about seven months ago. What’s happened since then? No other news to talk about or information worth sharing? With respect to number of followers, why so few? Not that the number of followers is the end all and be all, but if the idea is to socialize the brand among prospective and existing clients, and the population in general, what’s the strategy here? Also, why did the company choose to post to Vimeo, as opposed to You Tube? What’s the strategy there?
Third, the Twitter link brought me to a page (see below) that was hosted by Charles A. Tucker. Who is this person? Why is this page not branded ODA? Beyond that, there’s no content. I’m really perplexed here.
So, here we have three social media links and all three social media link experiences fail, miserably, and that’s a shame. What I find so interesting by all of this is that on the website’s contact page the firm lists someone as the person who handles social media and the website. While it’s great that the firm has the manpower to manage and support the website and social media platforms, how does the firm explain the strategy behind all of this? Are these simply mistakes and, if they are, where’s the quality control?
Companies in the B2C world have come to learn that experience, engagement and interaction between firm (brand) and consumer matters a great deal, especially in the digital space, and companies in the B2B world need to learn this too. Architects know the power of first impressions and perception, and they can’t lose sight of this when it comes to engaging and interacting with prospects and clients via their website and or social media accounts.