Build Your Network and Market Your Business with Twitter

I have a short attention span. I skip to the end of a book to find out the ending, and it’s difficult for me to sit through movies. I often tell friends and family, “When you tell me a story, just give me the highlights.” Maybe that’s why Twitter is currently my favorite social networking site. I can get the gist of what a person wants to say in 140 characters or less (including spaces).

Marketing and business promotion have changed; you can’t just build your website, put it out in cyberspace, and hope customers will come. You should be building relationships, participating in discussions and conversions, and helping people solve problems. Twitter is a medium for all of that, and you can use it to drive traffic to your website.

Why use Twitter?
Twitter is free and simple. You can reach hundreds in just a few clicks and point clients in your direction, all in a few minutes per day.

(See, you just got loads of information in 138 characters.)

Who’s on Twitter?
No, it’s not just celebrities. Organizations and publications you know use it, too, including: ASID, Big Builder magazine, ENR, Architectural Record, Professional Remodeler, Newsweek, and the National Building Museum. And you know what? They’re following me! That means whenever I post a new article I’ve written or twitter about a project I’m working on or what I’m teaching my students, those posts come up on their Twitter feed.

There are also real estate agents and developers, architects, interior designers, builders, sustainability specialists, attorneys, magazine editors and other professionals in the building industry who share their expertise with a short post. Most often, each person’s profile (160 characters or fewer) provides a link to a website which can provide a way to contact him or her.

Who to follow?
You don’t have to listen to (read) all of the Twitter chatter; choose who you want to follow. Upon registering, you can see anyone’s followers or whom they are following. Start by following me at (or as you might see it abbreviated @buildingsource). I typically do not follow anyone who does not post a profile, so click on a photo and find out a little about someone who intrigues you. You’ll find that I am mainly following people in the building industry, some marketing folks, a couple of news sites, and a few just for fun (like @cookbook who tweets recipes in 140 characters or less).

Once you choose a few from those on my page, select from the ones they are following. You’ll soon discover that you’ll gain followers because many are doing the same routine that you are. Also, try We Follow, a Twitter directory site that categorizes Twitter users and ranks them by number of followers.

What to post?
Post items of interest to those in the industry in general or those within your niche. What articles are you reading online? Tweet a link with an interesting introduction. What are you working on? Do a feed of the process of completing the project. Post your portfolio. Trying to sell a property? Tweet it. Got advice for colleagues or clients in your niche? Do a series of tips. Post a link to your blog.

From a conference or trade show, tweet information on the workshops you attend and the vendors and professionals you meet (they’ll appreciate the publicity, too).

Remember, as with all social networking, you should actively participate. Comment on the posts. If someone asks a question and you have the answer, respond, or try to refer him or her to someone who might be able to help. Share your professional experiences. Congratulate people on well-written articles or a creative online portfolio.

Schedule Your Twitter time
Finally, don’t try to read the entire feed coming onto your page; it can be overwhelming. Just take a few minutes each day and scan your page for helpful and interesting information. If you feel you’ve missed something valuable from someone you like to follow, put in their Twitter URL and check their profile.

Twitter can be a useful and productive method for promoting your services. Log on, be sure to complete your profile (with picture or logo), and start networking.

© Copyright – Karen A. Davis. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


AIA Convention Goes Virtual

The American Institute of Architects 2009 National Convention and Design Exposition begins Thursday, April 30th in San Francisco, CA with the focus on "The Power of Diversity: Practice in a Complex World." If you want to attend and have not registered, there will be on-site registration beginning April 28th at noon.

If you can't make it to San Francisco, there are a variety of ways that you can keep up with the happenings at the convention online:

1) Architectural Record's web editor, William Hanley, has dedicated a Twitter stream to the AIA Convention. Follow his reports at

2) Receive daily updates on all the convention events from educational sessions to parties by signing up for the Architectectural Record WebInsider e-newsletter. Find the link on the ArchRecord site.

3) Attend the convention from the comfort of your home, office or classroom. Register for the AIA Virtual Convention here. It's free! Get daily keynote addresses, attend continuing education programs (and, yes, you get AIA/CEU credits), and virtually visit the exhibitors.