Tag Archives: Social Media

6 steps to make social media help your brand

Mark MacDonald

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

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6 steps to make social media help your brand

Social media is a communication tool that will make or break your business’s brand.

Our marketing-cluttered world is demonstrated on social media. Simply open the global Twitter feed, and you’ll see millions of people saying something. In real time, your feed churns so quickly you can’t keep up, and little breaks through.

But certain people’s and brand’s posts are “must reads” since you really enjoy their content. Imagine if your business was a must-read brand! It can be.

Here’s how:

1. Discover your thread

Stop trying to be something to everyone. Think about what your business does extremely well and for whom. How are you a solution to a major concern or a path to a specific goal?

Establish a communication thread with fences to keep every department focused on that thread.

2. Lock down what your thread looks like and talks like

Now, decide what your visual brand looks like. It starts with a professional logo/symbol that’s unique and simple enough to be recognizable as a small social media icon. Establish and lock down 2-3 colors that limit your designs.

Then — a more difficult task — create one voice for your brand thread. List keywords to use (check with Google to see if people are looking for them). Ensure your icons and descriptions are consistent across all your social media profiles and on your website.

3. Limit your words and outlets

Edit all content to the fewest words necessary to get your idea across. Use keywords, hashtags and links to give people more information if they want it.

Don’t try to communicate everywhere; limit the social media feeds to only ones you can do extremely well for your brand. Only have the bandwidth for one? Probably Facebook will work.

4. Create a reasonable schedule

Based on the amount of people who follow you and the kind of people you’re attracting, think about when they’re mostly free (before work, lunch, evenings, etc.), and post at those times.

Don’t overdo it; simply think about (or research) the lifespan of a post. Twitter is short-lived, so you can post a lot. For Facebook, not so much. Be consistent.

5. Entertain near the thread

Stop pushing information, and think about ways to entertain those who follow you. Make sure it’s not mindless entertainment (although occasionally that’s fun); instead build on your thread and get people to understand and expect certain types of posts.

Don’t surprise followers with content; if you jump the fence too many times, people will unsubscribe from your feed. Attempt to entertain 80 percent of the time with 20 percent being marketing or promotions.

6. Build an audience

When a certain type of person sees you’re helping them solve their concerns or giving them hope toward obtaining a goal (and you’re doing it consistently), you’ll gain followers.

People will start to rely on what you have to offer them (your thread). Your visual brand consistency lets them notice you in the cluttered social media world, and your posts will say, “Wait, I have something you must read.”

Just make sure you deliver. All the time. Every time.

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About the Author

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald is a Bible teacher, speaker, best-selling author of “Be Known For Something,” and communication strategist for He empowers churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book is available at and

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Social Media: The Free Ride is Over

AUTHORS Eric Schimelpfenig 

OCT 24, 2016

Social media as we know it hasn’t been around for that long. MySpace and Facebook, the first competitive platforms for sharing online socially, were founded in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Later on came Houzz, Pinterest and Twitter.

Let’s take a look at Facebook’s mission statement:

“Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”

Continue reading Social Media: The Free Ride is Over

Through the selfie keyhole: how social media is transforming interior design

WHEN The Great Interior Design Challenge broadcast its first series in the UK, it seemed like just another Great British Bake Off wannabe, a desperate bid to make swatches as ‘great’ as sponges, or plywood the new soggy bottom. But, with this year’s series in a primetime BBC2 slot, and interior design superstar Kelly Hoppen on the team, it suddenly started to feel like a genuine popularising force, bringing a new vocabulary of terms like maximalism, minimalism and mid century modern, to the British public.

Just as Changing Rooms defined a Britain of fast furniture and DIY makeover of the 1990s, The Great Interior Design Challenge seemed to be saying something about the new way we were relating to our homes.

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SCALE 2018: A Student Event Like No Other

SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit took place in the thriving, rejuvenated heart of L.A., February 23-25, 2018. Attracting more than 400 attendees from over 70 colleges and universities across the country, SCALE explored relevant, timely topics in design and included experiences created to ready students for their first professional positions. Through exclusive tours of top design firms and projects, students caught a glimpse of their futures and what they can expect from life as a working design professional.

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Social Media Marketing Is Failing Too Many Interior Designers



In a world where the rich are getting richer and many of those rich folks are freely investing in new homes and those they already live in, interior designers’ businesses should be booming. But sadly most are not. For established designers their client base is aging and they are having a hard time bringing in new clients to take up the slack.

For up-and-coming designers, selling their services is even more of a challenge as young people new to affluence have little experience with or understanding of the value of interior design services.

More over many young affluent homeowners tend to take the do-it-yourself route, encouraged by makeover shows on HGTV which make short work of complex and demanding remodeling and redecorating projects. Not to mention those show hosts make doing the work look like great fun. What couple wouldn’t want to try their hand at it after watching Joanna and Chip Gaines on their Fixer Upper show?

Finding new clients was interior designers’ number one business challenge , in a recent survey conducted among more than 300 professional interior designers by Unity Marketing in association with the Home Trust International.

That finding was brought home in a recent You Gov survey among the wealthiest Americans ($10 million or more net worth and household income of $350,000-plus) that found that only 10% of the wealthy “regularly” use the services of an interior designer.


Of course, that doesn’t include the wealthy that occasionally use designer services, yet it illustrates a huge gap. With some one million U.S. households among this wealthy class, that means only about 100,000 households are actively engaged with interior designers. What about the other 900,000?

The answer to reach that other 90% is is effective marketing, i.e. that brings in new clients. While word-of-mouth marketing is designers’ marketing method of choice, both most used and most effective, more designers are turning to social media in hope of attracting new clients, promoting their work and building business.

Social media fails in effectiveness

Nearly 80% of professional interior designers are active on social media. Yet among those designers using social media, only 17% rate social media as very effective in promoting their business. This compares with 85% of designers who say WOM is very effective. In other words, for 8 out of 10 designers social media over-promises and under-delivers.

Interior Designers Advertising & Its Effectiveness UNITY MARKETING

Recognizing the performance gap, Unity Marketing conducted a follow-up survey with some 200 professional designers to delve more deeply into their social-media challenges. That study, entitled Interior Designers & Social Media: Help or Hype?, found that designers don’t know the best platforms to use on social media. They don’t know how to measure its effectiveness, nor have most figured out how to monetize social media.

In marketing, customer perception is the business’ reality

With fewer than 20% of interior designers rating social media as very effective, for the remaining 80% it is failing to bring in new clients and build business. In thinking about social media, it is critical to focus not just on “being there,” but being there in the right places and in the right way that attract affluent clients.

“Designers are wasting their time [on social media]. It makes them feel good while they are going broke,” said one designer in the survey. And another said more pointedly, “Social media is for designers looking for other designers to cry with.”

One designer even found that being active on social media actually turned-off, rather than turned-on an otherwise happy past client:

All social media is too dangerous to my growth. I learned this after a client who was very happy with the results of his first home didn’t hire me for his Aspen home. They told me they loved me. But I was too ‘out there.’ They explained they lived private lives and after a Google search found me everywhere, they felt I was not who they wanted to associate with.

Find the best, forget the rest

Among social-media using interior designers, Facebook (75%) is by far the preferred platform, followed by Instagram (65%), Houzz (56%), LinkedIn (51%) and Pinterest (43%).

On the other hand, when asked which is their most important social media platform, interior designers rate Instagram (39%) better than Facebook (35%), and all the others trail far behind.

Interior Designers Social Media PlatformsUNITY MARKETING

Besides Facebook and Instagram, these other social media platforms may be a waste of time and money for interior designers. Further while Facebook may be the most used, it may not be as effective as Instagram.

Interior designers need to evaluate closely which social media platforms are actually working for them, i.e. attracting the right clients, and focus efforts there. Conspicuously absent from how designers measure success in social media is data – quantification that it is actually bringing in clients and growing revenue. While likes and share may make designers feel good, they don’t pay the bills.

Designers must be as exceptional marketers as they are designers

The critical problem for designers in marketing their services is making their value clear to potential clients. In 2013 the American Marketing Association redefined marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” The key word in that definition is creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value.

Communicating the value of interior design services is a particular sticking point for interior designers. A recent ASID survey found that 64% of designers believe the public does not understand the true value of interior design services.

If creating, delivering and exchanging value is the goal of marketing, then the measure of its success, according to marketing consultant Sergio Zyman, is selling more stuff – or in the case of designers, more services – to more people more often for more money and doing it more efficiently.

Designers need to be vigilant to hold their social media investment, both in terms of time and money, to those standards. If it isn’t helping designers reach those goals, then it needs to be adapted to do so or ultimately abandoned if it can’t deliver.

Hope is not a strategy

Too many designers are going on faith when it comes to their social media strategies. They are making the effort – they see likes and shares – therefore, it must be doing something, right?

But for this designer, belief in social media isn’t translating into measurable results through new clients gained and profits to the bottom line.

Right now social media for us is just one outlet for PR. I measure the success in simply getting our word out, though it is not necessarily bringing projects in. Currently the demographic of our clientele do not find their designer via social media.

Don’t throw good money, or time, after bad

Despite the lack of measurable success on social media, an overwhelming two-thirds of interior designers say they will focus more on social media next year. Fewer than one-third will keep their social media activities on par with the past and only 4% will pull back.

This may prove to be a waste of designers’ most limited resource: their time. Marketing luminary Philip Kotler, currently the S. C. Johnson Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said, “Strategy is indeed about choosing what not to do as well as what to do.”

Interior designers overwhelmingly find that word-of-mouth marketing is what produces results, everything else barely measures up. Finding creative ways to get satisfied customers to talk about their success from the services delivered by an interior designer is what is needed, not more self promotion or talking amongst one’s peers on social media.

Don’t be insane, be strategic

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” That perhaps is the most important takeaway for designers in thinking about their social media strategies. Doing something – in this case, social media – is not necessarily better than doing nothing. Since time is money for an interior designer, time wasted on ineffective social media is money lost.

Rather, interior designers must make marketing work for them. It must be effective. It must deliver new business. It must be efficient and fit into the budget. In many cases, interior designers see social media as low or even no cost, since it doesn’t require any budget to launch a Facebook or Instagram page. But it can be extremely costly in terms of the time needed to learn how to use it effectively and to maintain it.

For any professional – most especially for interior designers – time is money. All marketing, most especially social media, must deliver a return on investment of both. For too many designers, social media is a black hole that sucks time and resources away from marketing activities, like strategically used and implemented word-of-mouth, that could produce better results.

Continue reading Social Media Marketing Is Failing Too Many Interior Designers

Top 4 Multifamily Interior Design Trends

With the increase in home décor/renovation shows and influencers on social media, more people are being exposed to high-end design, which is what they are expecting in multifamily communities.  

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Design trends are evolving at an ever-quickening pace thanks to design-oriented television and social media, and 2018 promises to bring even more excitement and innovation to the interior design scene. Here are some of my top picks:

Mixed Materials
Be prepared to see a vast assortment of mixed metals, integrated color combinations, the use of lush textures and continued personalization to transform a house to a completely personalized home.


Looking for new employees? Find them on social media

If you need to add a new team member and fill a position before the end of the year, social media can help.

You already know how to work the platforms because you use them round the clock to market your business. More good news? You can find better talent quicker on social media.

Fifty-nine percent of recruiters say the candidates they discovered on social media are the “highest quality,” and employees hired on LinkedIn are 40 percent less likely to leave the company within the first six months. To top it off, 62 percent of organizations say recruiting on social decreases the time to fill the position.

Continue reading Looking for new employees? Find them on social media


Design trends are evolving at an ever-quickening pace thanks to design-oriented television and social media, and 2018 promises to bring even more excitement and innovation to the interior design scene. Here are some of my top picks:

Mixed Materials
Be prepared to see a vast assortment of mixed metals, integrated color combinations, the use of lush textures and continued personalization to transform a house to a completely personalized home.

The Hygge trend shown here in FrontDoor Communities, embraces soft, clean lines to create comfortable surroundings.
Lita Dirks and Co. The Hygge trend shown here in FrontDoor Communities, embraces soft, clean lines to create comfortable surroundings.

A popular trend you’ll see in 2018 is the mixing of different materials in lamps, statement lighting, and accessories. Additionally, for a zen-like state of living taken from the Dutch, Hygge (pronounced “hue-guh”) is becoming very popular. This lifestyle design embraces clean, soft lines to create comfortable surroundings, helping buyers escape from the hectic, outside world.

Cozy textures such as knit cushions, faux throws, fluffy woolen rugs, worn wood and natural stone help homeowners take pleasure in their space and relax in a peaceful atmosphere. In addition to the more comfortable approach, pretty patterns are also making their mark. Soft lines, botanical prints and airy colors are becoming more favorable today than the geometric prints and strong patterns of yesterday.

And, finally, elements of global fusion are continuing to gain ground. Tribal, Asian, and artisan influences will be especially prevalent in 2018. Splashes of international wares add personality and flair.

Spaces That Sizzle

Spaces specifically used to entertain friends and family are more important than ever, like this wine center from the Taylor Morrison NEXTadventure home.
Lita Dirks and Co. Spaces specifically used to entertain friends and family are more important than ever, like this wine center from the Taylor Morrison NEXTadventure home.

With millennials and boomers alike, we’re finding that experiences are driving space planning and design more than ever. As an example, with entertaining friends and family so important to these buyers, beverage bars, wine centers, and functional kitchen islands are more essential than ever. Also, designated tech-free spaces, disappearing appliances and thoughtfully designed storage spaces will be moving up the buyer’s wish list.

A Mix of Materials
Materials will make a bold statement in 2018 as we see an influx of backsplashes offered in graphic shapes, as well as iridescent, metallic and pearlized finishes. In terms of flooring, bigger is better. Large format wood (or wood-look) planks and tile help create an expansive and impressive space and assist in the ease of maintenance. Taking center stage in furnishings and accessories are deep and lush textures. Mixing velvets with fringe, fur or kilim bring warmth and personality to any space.

Colors Continue to Change

Deep purple creates an enticing and rich atmosphere that is sure to impress, shown in a Forum Real Estate Group home.
Lita Dirks and Co. Deep purple creates an enticing and rich atmosphere that is sure to impress, shown in a Forum Real Estate Group home.

Depending on the style preferences of your buyers, these color combinations will speak to an array of personalities. Warm neutrals, including taupe-tinted grays, are becoming increasingly popular for those who see home as a calming escape. For the dramatic buyer who prefers statements, deep exotic hues are on trend in 2018. Covering a wall in a deep purple, hunter green or rich navy tone creates an enticing and rich atmosphere that is sure to impress.

A modernized black, like this used in Beechwood Homes, is the most daring and fearless color trend of 2018.
Lita Dirks and Co. A modernized black, like this used in Beechwood Homes, is the most daring and fearless color trend of 2018.

If your buyer is looking to add energy to their space, bright and vivid color pallets are also completely on trend. Luminous hues such a “Millennial Pink” and “Gen-Z Yellow” are timeless but also very “now” as buyers embrace our visual culture more than ever.

Black is Back
Lastly, black is back, big time. A modernized black is the most daring and fearless color trend of 2018. With PPG paints naming “Black Flame” as their color of the year, and Glidden Paints naming “Deep Onyx,” black is a timeless staple that delivers a high level of sophistication to any space. Buyers wanting to make their space look expensive and sexy can turn to black to attain this objective.

Completing a space that your buyers feel comfortable in and love is the end goal now and in the future! When used thoughtfully, these trends can certainly help stimulate your buyer and help them visualize their new dream home. Therefore, keeping apprised of trends shows buyers that you are aware of what’s important to them, ultimately resulting in a very happy buyer.

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2017’s top social media marketing lessons

In a year, much has changed on social media networks. Facebook spent much of 2017 revamping its Trending section to squelch fake news. Instagram fared much better — as the company continued to celebrate the success of Instagram Stories (and the decline of Snapchat).

As you’re planning for 2018, dedicate time to analyze your own brand’s social strategy and see the changes for yourself. While you’re at it, keep in mind these 2017 social media marketing trends that show no sign of slowing down.

1. Organic reach continues to plummet for brands and publishers on Facebook

After analyzing 880 million Facebook posts, the average engagement rate for brands and publishers has dropped 20 percent in 2017. That impact is compounded because SocialFlow research found the overall reach per post from January through May of 2016 was 42 percent less than 2015. Yikes.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Facebook did a test and moved all non-ad posts from Pages in the News Feed to Facebook’s new Explore feed in six countries. As you would guess, Pages received four times less engagement and lost up to 75 percent of their reach.

Companies are having to spend more and more to reach their core audience on Facebook. Keep that in mind as you plan for 2018.

2. Images and videos, coupled with fewer words, continue to reign (except on Twitter).

While engagement with links and images suffered the most this year on Facebook, video engagement held strong. Videos on Facebook now have, on average, double the engagement rate of other content types.

To optimize interactions, post videos between 60 and 90 seconds — or broadcast 15-minute live videos.

As visual continues to dominate social, Facebook posts at or below 50 characters have the most engagement. But Twitter has challenged that trend. This year, Twitter expanded their character count from 140 to 280.

3. Raw, authentic video and content, like Instagram Stories, win.

Instagram Stories have been the runaway hit of 2017. Launched in August of 2016, Instagram Stories had more than 250 million daily active users as of August 2017. Those under the age of 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram, on average, while those 25 and older spend more than 24 minutes daily.

In short, Stories has become the reason to use Instagram. That’s why 50 percent of businesses have now created a story. Often, the unedited content that captures real-life outperforms the pristine photos uploaded to Instagram itself.

In 2018, budget more time to create Stories like these that are proven to perform. They’re what your audience most wants! Plus, Instagram Stories will continue to become a bigger player in 2018.

4. Be transparent about paid promotions and brand sponsorships on social media.

While less fun than the other trends, this is a major lesson for brands this year and in 2018.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent out nearly 100 warning letters to celebrities, cracking down on their social media endorsement policy. The policy states that if there is a “material connection an endorser and an advertiser, that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.”

Encourage those in your influencer marketing programs to follow FTC recommendations, which means including clear tags like #sponsored or #ad in the first three lines of copy while avoiding ambiguous tags like #sp or #thankyou altogether. Or use this intuitive Instagram feature, which adds a paid partnership tag to posts.

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