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For those of us in the brick-and-mortar business world, the very idea of using social media as a marketing tool can seem intimidating, time-consuming, or just plain nonsensical, but the numbers tell a different story. According to a report published by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), Canadians spend an average of 36.7 hours per month online, and 59% of us log on to use social media. We’re also there for general surfing (49%), shopping (46%), and product research (43%). Yet despite this strong trend toward online research and purchasing, some Canadian businesses are reluctant to embrace social media—and it’s hurting their bottom line.

As decorators and designers, do we need to be on social media? Like every other aspect of our work, this is a matter of making smart decisions about where to put our time and money. The answer is there is undeniable value of using social media in our industry. We all know buyers use social media to research and plan their projects. And we have great material to share: we trade in “look and feel” and research shows that images are more engaging, memorable, and shared than text posts. This means the very work we’re already doing transfers easily to social media, and often outperforms other kinds of content.

The question isn’t should we be on social media, it is which social media platforms should we be on. Here’s a rundown to help choose.

Facebook

Social media Unsplash igor ovsyannykov

Still the largest social media channel by far, Facebook should not be ignored. According to an Insights West report on 2016 social media usage, a full 71% of Canadians surveyed visit the network at least twice per week. That’s a lot of eyeballs and a lot more potential for sharing. Remember: Your messages have the potential to reach not only your target clients, but also their connections. Facebook has the ability to handle video, images, and text, and has integrated direct messaging which makes it dead simple for your clients (or potential clients) to find you.

Bottom line: Facebook is worth your time investment, and is absolutely crucial if you don’t also maintain your own website.

Pinterest

Despite (or perhaps because of) its reputation as a “women’s” channel, Pinterest is a very strong outlet in the social media landscape, attracting around 23% of Canadians at least twice per week. Built with scrapbooking in mind, Pinterest is an easy and visually appealing way to gather and present curated collections of… well, anything at all. Imagine a meeting with a client. To illustrate your ideas for a sitting room, you pull a paint chip, a fabric swatch, and a picture of some vases out of your bag. Pinterest is the digital version of that.

Bottom line: You should be using Pinterest in concert with Instagram (see below).

Instagram

Instagram attracts around 20% of Canadians at least twice per week, and worldwide, it’s got more than 500 million users. Instagram prioritizes imagery and offers a collection of gorgeous photo filters that easily make everything you shoot look incredible. And, whereas Pinterest boards are typically collections of other people’s images with links to external sites, on Instagram you post your own pictures. In this scenario, when you meet with a client you pull out a portfolio of high-quality photos of your previous projects.

Bottom line: Instagram is indispensable for engaging users and building loyal followers in our ultra-photogenic line of work.

YouTube

Worldwide, online video usage is up and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. In Canada, around 49% of us visit YouTube at least twice per month; it’s especially popular among millennials. Video is the perfect medium for how-tos, panels, and showings, but video production can be time-consuming.
Bottom line: Setting up a YouTube account is easy but keeping it fresh is not. Consider a YouTube account if you are already experienced at making videos and plan to produce them regularly.

Twitter

Twitter was made to deliver fast, brief bits of information. Although the original hard character limit has been modified to include image attachments and a 280-character count, its strength lies in speed and directness.

Bottom line: Skip it. Other platforms perform better for our industry, so you’re better to invest your time on those. Revisit Twitter if you get to a point in your communications where you need to make yourself available in real-time, you have the resources to make sure someone’s monitoring your feed.

LinkedIn

Different in tenor from the channels listed above, LinkedIn acts as a digital CV and social networking tool with a strong emphasis on professional networking.

Bottom line: LinkedIn is worth maintaining, if only to establish yourself as a Canadian design and decoration professional.

The key is to pick just one channel to start and keep it updated. Although there are dozens of social media channels, getting acquainted with one at a time will help you learn the “language” of the others. Once you have that profile thriving, then consider expanding your social media reach. Before you know it, you’ll have a firm grasp of this rich space, and a list of clients and potential clients engaging with you there.

 

This year DDA members toured High Point Market in style. Over the four-and-a-half days, we navigated the massive design show by way of a curated VIP tour. Ottawa chapter president and long-time member Deborah Casey captured these tour highlights:

Red capet rollout at Christopher GuyRed carpet rolled out at Christopher Guy

Bernhart furniture collection fall 2017
Design spotting: Stunning collections from Bernhardt Furniture

Colour and print trend fall 2017
Colour note: Colours of pale rose, mauve, cranberry appearing in combination

hardware3
Design spotting: Organic hardware steals the show

Colour trend pale pinks and mauves
Colour note: Lots of pale pinks, mauves used as neutrals

Design trend fall 2017 oversized
Design spotting: Yellow metals have returned

DDA members gather in the International Buyers' Lounge
DDA Canada members gather in the International Buyers' Lounge

Furniture desing - Organic metal
Design spotting: Organic metal hardware

Gabby showroomDDA Canada members touring the Gabby showroom

Design spotting: 2018 trend - Cabinet hardware
Design spotting: Cabinet hardware is oversized

DDA Canada members tour the Lexington showroom
DDA Canada members gather outside the gorgeous 100K sq ft Lexington Home showroom

Design trend fall 2017 hardware
Design spotting: Cabinet hardware is emphasized

DDA member event at Curry Company
Currey & Company welcomes DDA members for a private event "Canadians, Cocktails and Conversation"

Chandelier
Design spotting: Eye catching chandelier from Visual Comfort

Carpets at Feizy
Design spotting: Beautifully presented carpets at Feizy at Market Square
 

 

 

 

 

Sales isn’t rocket science, but it does require a bit of TLC. As sole proprietors, we are so busy focusing on client services that we don’t pay much attention to improving our sales process. We just do it “on the side”. Many small businesses share in this struggle, and also find themselves spinning their wheels trying to turn the leads into engagements.

If you haven’t developed a formal sales process, set aside an hour this week to follow these seven steps. They will help you reduce the time you are having to spend with leads, and get you closing more deals.

DDA_LogoOver the course of our nearly 25 years, we’ve grown in membership and expanded our programming and benefits. We’ve come to represent much more of the design industry than we did in our early days. Today, we’re an association of suppliers, students, educators, decorators and designers working together to advance the industry and ourselves.

DDA Canada-wall sign.jpgThis evolution has been a topic of conversation amongst our members and leadership team for the past few years. Over this time, we also gained valuable insight through member surveys and speaking directly with our members. This discussion culminated in a board vote this summer in favour of modifying our name as part of the brand update we had underway.

Renaming
Over the summer months, we announced our new name: Decorators & Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada). The process of arriving at this name was thorough and thoughtful. It was led by a marketing committee in partnership with our team from Hop Skip Marketing.

DDA Canada-bag.jpgNew design
Once we nailed down the name, we moved onto design. As people who work in decorating and design for a living, we were really excited about this task, and the notion of updating our tired logo. The new look ticks all the boxes on our list: it’s professional, sophisticated, reflects the creative industry we work in.

Brands evolve. This is our time, and we’re thrilled about it.

 

Award-winning family room interior designs

 

Whether you are a homeowner dreaming of updating your home, or a professional designer seeking inspiration for your next project, these award winning projects from the across Canada are a must see. The nine interior makeovers are standouts for creativity, thoughtfulness and design skill. They also show you what can be done with a small, medium and large budget.