As a group of us huddled together at Gensler’s Midtown office, we joined Julie Huval, CPSM, and four other locations for an engaging, interactive webinar as part of the Creative Workshop Series. Focusing on the topic of Social Media and Web Tools, the online webinar format was wholly appropriate. As marketing in the A/C/E industry, and across all industries, is becoming increasingly digital, a firm’s online presence—through an official website, social media outlets, and email campaigns—becomes ever more important. Julie’s workshop laid out the argument for analytics, stressing the ability and flexibility of data to offer proof of whether marketing is working or not, guide strategy, and achieve buy-in from management. Furthermore, she offered tools and tips to properly manage and analyze data to shape strategies beneficial to each firm’s specific needs.
From externally-focused topics such as achieving brand recognition, creating client leads, and engaging your audience, to the internally-focused topics of organizing and analyzing data and crafting future strategies, the workshop outlined steps that all of us can take to improve our use of digital platforms and enhance our overall marketing efforts.
One of the main tools Julie offered was Google Analytics. It was a crash course in terminology and learning how to read data. Hits, visits, and bounces: What is the difference between a visit of one minute versus three, when traffic flow dead ends on “About Us,” or no referral traffic is coming from media outlets? Then, how to extrapolate and transform that data into action: Alert the firm to a potential new client, inform a website redesign, or re-negotiate sponsorship and media advertisements.
Julie provided not only the guidance to properly analyze data, she also explained how to tweak data so that it would be accurate and useful. By maintaining control of the data (whether via Google Analytics or a platform’s integrated analytics), tracking data points in relation to other efforts such as postings or email campaigns, and implementing strategies based on this data, the workshop showed how web tools can streamline the entire marketing process.
In addition to understanding the value of data for a website, the workshop also provided tools to understand the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of social media platforms, and how to tailor messages to each. There were simple tips such as using images to grab attention, highlighting personal stories, or presenting location-specific firm differentiators, and larger questions presented to each firm, such as which platforms to focus on and what to offer.
Probably the most important takeaway from the Social Media & Web Tools Workshop is that marketing (and online marketing) is not one size fits all. By tracking analytics and performing year-over-year comparisons, proactive moves can be made based on, and supported, by data. Rather than rely on existing content calendars, firms can define content and schedules specific to their office, audience, and platforms. Different strategies can be tested and others’ strategies can be mimicked using data as a guide and a gauge. Marketing is an evolving process, and web tools are an important means to advance and emphasize our digital presence.
“I am so happy I was able to attend the SMPS 2017 Creative Workshop Series: Social Media & Web Tools webinar,” said Courtney Heslin, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Gilbane Building Company. “I learned that it is extremely important to know your target audience and recognize which social media platform is most important for your business. It was cool to see all the data that can be gathered from Google Analytics and how to use that information to help guide a social media campaign.”
For pictures from the event click here