I've been to countless SMPS events talking about how AEC marketers can leverage social media. Even as an AEC marketer myself, I wasn't entirely sure how to harness the platforms. Here's why - the AEC industry is slow, especially for a general contractor, and creating valuable and engaging content is not an easy task. Also, as a rule of thumb I never want to post something for the sake of posting. Marketers want to share information that their audience is going to find valuable. After a few years of learning about the tech side of the industry, I see partnering with technical staff as one solution to building engaging and valuable content. Here's how:
A note about AEC Technology
What is BIM?
BIM is short for Building Information Modeling. This is the process (or processes) of AEC firms using 3D models to efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure.
What is VDC?
VDC is Virtual Design and Construction. This is different from BIM - we look at this as the means and methods to building.
I lumped BIM and VDC under AEC Technology for a reason - at EvolveLAB we believe the future of AEC technology extends well beyond BIM and VDC. Like generative design.
How can you use AEC Technology for marketing?
Storytelling and Educational Video Content
Storytelling might seem obvious, but most tech teams aren't communicating with their marketing teams on how they solved issues using technology. You may tell your clients in proposals that you plan on saving them the most two valuable things: time and money. But most of the time this is difficult to prove. Show your current clients and prospects what your team is doing that will benefit the end user.
A great example of this is for contractors to show off clash detection - eliminating issues in models before they happen in the field. This makes the project run more efficiently and benefits all parties involved. However, focus on how this benefits the client, not your team.
Demonstrating your firm's skills and knowledge will educate your clients and also be a form of thought leadership. Are you worried your competitors are going to learn too much about your workflows or secrets? Don't be. Give away enough information to be exciting, but leave the secret sauce out.
360 Imagery for Facebook/Google+ or Your Website
Not every platform allows for this yet, but 360 imagery can be a cool way to show off your designs or constructed projects. Now, proposals will probably have to remain 2D, but you can use the 360 panoramas in your proposals as a cool element or you can link your proposals to blog posts with the 360 imagery. The more immersive of experience you can provide the client the better they will understand your projects and value. There are Wordpress applications that allow you to embed such imagery on your website so your clients can actually view it in VR.
There are mutilple ways to create this imagery:
1. If you are working in Revit, you can export a 360 panorama of the project you're working on and upload it to facebook. Here are the instructions: https://pano.autodesk.com
2. 360 Camera's aren't the most useful piece of equipment you can purchase for $300, but you can use it to capture your project's social media. With that said, the image quality is not as high as it could be. Here is the tool I suggest: Samsung 360 Gear
3. 360 Images from reality capture are higher resolution and of much better quality than using a regular 360 camera. Check out this blog post explaining how to create a 360 image from your Matterport Scan with On Point Scans here.
Reality Capture Video and Walkthroughs
Reality capture refers to 3D laser scanning or documenting building with photogrammetry. If a picture says 1000 words, then a 3D walkthrough tells an entire story. Let clients walk through your finished projects to get a feel for the quality of your design and construction. It's super easy to host these HTML walkthroughs on your website. It's just a bit of embedded HTML code that can be hosted by Wix, Squarespace, Wordpress, or whatever platform you're using. Here's an example, for more visit On Point Scans.
Use Autodesk Infraworks
Yes, Infraworks is primarily a tool for civil engineers, but if your firm has the Autodesk AEC Collections, you also have access to this cool tool. Infraworks allows you to create a 3D representation of your project site so that you can look at your building in the context of the real world. Here are a few applications I see for it:
1. Your team can show off a Revit model of a proposed building in juxtaposition to the real world, let stakeholders understand how that new building will fit in. Say you have a five-story apartment building going in and the neighboring single-family homes aren't exactly excited about it, with Infraworks you allow to see what that building is going to look like from their kitchen window or front yard.
2. Illustrate how you overcame an issue on a past project or how you plan to overcome a problem on a proposed project. Infraworks lets you illustrate scenarios and record them in a video format. I highly recommend this to help out your storytelling, presentations, and other video needs.