Why your social media presence needs to be authentic and compelling

The below article is a piece I wrote for Archiboo, around the forthcoming Archiboo Web Awards - celebrating architects and clients using the online space to communicate great architecture. Entries are now open here

Ben Adams Architects winner of Best Use of Social Media in the inaugural Archiboo Web Awards last year was praised by judges for its “joined-up, bold and original” approach. They particularly liked its tone on Twitter “that makes it a practice you’d really want to work with”.

Marketing manager, Danielle Bowman, who joined the practice in December 2016, agrees that its lively social media channels had an impact on her becoming part of the team.

“Even before I joined, I was following its Twitter account. I can completely appreciate why its entry was recognised by the judges. As an outsider I already regarded the channels as different from all the rest. They felt design-led, authentic, and most importantly, honest.”

Ben Adam’s social media channels has an element of innocence, Bowman explains: “We’re committed to approaching our content with a fresh and open attitude and looking for opportunities to experiment with content and other creatives”.

“I think there are some practices out there that are still finding their feet and struggling to balance corporate language with creativity. By focusing on authenticity and being ‘real’ I believe we’ve moved beyond this.”

To build on this Bowman and the team have regular employee takeovers, with any member of the company being responsible for the social content for a week. “Everyone here has an eye for design and they each enjoy being able to engage and get creative on the social channels. It’s a chance for them to make a mark and show their style.”

One area that stood out to the judges last year was how Ben Adams was using social media platforms that many others hadn’t even begun to contemplate while recognising they each have different roles. Bowman said it uses Twitter for conversation, news and culture, whereas Instagram is focused on strong visuals and building their brand presence.

However she acknowledges the challenges. Confidentiality is one issue but she says such restrictions can enable creativity rather than obstruct it.“If we can’t discuss a specific project, then we’ll find a way to talk around the design or the inspiration. It can lead to ideas that are pretty compelling.”

So, with the 2017 awards around the corner, does Bowman have any words of advice? “First, don’t overthink, try to make your social content more natural. And second, if you overtly sell to people they won’t follow you. Don’t treat your social media channels like a billboard, treat them like a gift.”