April 2014 Newsletter

Hey Friends and Supporters!

First, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who have helped our color graphics department grow. We have had a wonderful start to the year in all of our business areas, but especially in our graphics printing area. With the addition of solvent-based inks we have been able to produce work that we were unable to take on previously. I’d love it if you have pictures of projects we have done for you that you are willing to share. Construction site banners, event banners, pop up display signs, event signage… your images will say more than our words do.

Along the lines of “graphics printing,” please also be aware that we do now sell canvas and higher-end papers for use on your printers; until recently we USED the materials, but did not sell those supplies. Webb Fox, introduced later in this email, is our “go-to guy” for all printer supplies and sales.

Happy spring to you – get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while the temperatures are still reasonable!

Luci Miller
luci@millerblueprint.com
512.381.5266

 

Five Social Media Tips for A/E/C Professionals

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Surf the web and you’ll find thousands of architects, engineers, and contractors trolling for clients on Twitter, Instagram LinkedIn, Facebook, and countless other social media sites. How do you make your social media efforts stand out in this crowded field? Here are a few tips that apply to key social media sites used by A/E/C industry professionals.

Tip 1: It’s not all about you

You might think bragging about all the great work you’ve done is the best way to promote yourself on social media, but think again. Nobody wants to work with an architect who thinks he’s the greatest thing since FL Wright, and many social media posts these days seem to indicate that.

Instead, reveal through your social media that you pay attention to the design community at large, that you’re interested in conversation, that you listen to what others say and pay attention to what they post. Do all this by re-posting interesting items and discussing important issues, even those that don’t apply directly to your work.

Read this post on Dezeen for more ideas on using social media for something other than bragging.

Also, when you develop your social media strategy, pay close attention to the platforms your prospective customers use. Do all of your future clients use Twitter and Instagram? Probably not, so keep other platforms in your mix. But don’t overshoot. It’s better to start on one or two platforms that you can really manage than seven platforms that you’ll ignore after the first week.

Tip 2: Content matters

The point of just about any business-to-business social media campaign is to get attention, so you want content that will put your company’s name in front of your potential clients. This isn’t necessarily news about yourself – see Tip 1 above. The content that matters to your potential clients depends on what industry they belong to. If you specialize in healthcare architecture, tweet about healthcare design issues or healthcare issues in general. If you specialize in residential architecture, post photos of interesting of home furnishings or artwork that homeowners might be interested in. You get the point.

Many professionals use YouTube to reach potential customers. Don’t make a marketing-oriented video about your great projects, unless you want to put potential customers to sleep. Instead, focus on one project you did, what made it special, and how it came to fruition. Check out this video from Santa Barbara architect Barry Berkus.

Tip 3: Discipline your time

It’s easy to spend one or two hours a day on your social media, and many A/E/C industry professionals do so. That’s a big investment in time, and you could probably get away with less, but don’t make the mistake of posting lots of content for a few days and then ignoring your campaign for the next six months. That’s worse than not starting a campaign in the first place!

What will you do for one or two hours a day? You can post new content, obviously, but you can also visit your clients’ social media sites and comment on or “like” their posts or re-tweet their Tweets, respond to comments on your own Facebook account, or find new potential clients to follow on Twitter or Pinterest.

A useful blog post from Jeff Echols emphasizes that discipline is the key – decide upon a schedule for maintaining your social media, and stick to it.

Tip 4: Lay the groundwork

Don’t expect someone to see your Facebook post, call you up, and say “Hey, nice post, I want you to design my next house.” That only happens in Fantasyland! What social media does is put your name in front of your potential or existing clients, hopefully repeatedly. Think about Coca-Cola advertising – everybody is already familiar with Coke, but the company repeatedly advertises. Why? Not because they think consumers will see the ads and suddenly run out and buy Coke, but because they want to keep Coke in front of consumers’ minds, so when they’re thirsty, they’ll want to drink a Coke.

The same goes for your social media campaign (or any promotion) – You want your firm to be top-of-mind so when they do need a project designed, they’ll remember you. Or when you call on a new prospect, that prospect will already be familiar with your firm. Social media lays the groundwork for the sale.

Tip 5: Control starts with measurement

You may never know exactly what the impact of your social media campaign is, but you definitely should measure it regularly so you can tweak it as needed. Assuming you have limited energy and time for measurement, just do these things once a week: Check Google Analytics to see how traffic to your website is trending and where that traffic is coming from; visit your Facebook Insights page to see what your Facebook traffic is and what posts are drawing attention; see who is following you on Twitter; and ask your sales staff to ask clients if they see your social media posts.

Naturally, you can get way more complex in your measurements – a quick web search will give you dozens of reports and services — but if you just do these four things you’ll be far ahead of most businesses that use social media.

Conclusion

Social media should be a part of your strategy. You don’t need a million people following you, but don’t ignore the impact you could have if a handful of the right people follow you.

“Don’t ever think that it’s not important,” says Chris McNally, vice president of Memphis Reprographics and manager of that firm’s social media. “Social media is here to stay no matter what anybody says.”

 

What Germs Surround You? It Depends on the Architecture

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Architecture can affect mood, productivity, healing, and countless other aspects of human life. Now a researcher at the University of Oregon has discovered that architecture also affects the kind of germs found in various parts of buildings.

Jessica Green, a professor in the University of Oregon’s Institute for Ecology and Evolution, specializes in researching the biology of buildings.

“Although humans in industrialized countries spend nearly 90% of their time in enclosed buildings, we know very little about the biology of the indoor environment,” Green writes in her website. “Airborne microbial communities are intimately connected to human health in many ways, for example through the spread of acute respiratory disease and the increase of asthma symptoms. Despite the obvious significance of the indoor environment to sustainable well-being, little is known about the causes and consequences of microbial biodiversity indoors.”

Green notes that ample evidence shows that building design is closely linked to indoor air quality. For example, how air flows in a building, what surface treatments are used, and how human traffic moves through a space all influence the type and quantity of germs in a building.

For example, in one study Green and her colleagues vacuumed up dust samples throughout a university building and analyzed the bacteria found in each sample. The researchers discovered that rooms that had frequent visitors, such as classrooms and restrooms, were populated with bacteria commonly found on human skin. In contrast, offices had more bacteria that live in soils, especially offices with windows. And spaces that were mechanically ventilated had higher quantities of a bacteria called Deinoccoccus, which evidently grows well in hot, dry air.

None of these findings is particularly surprising, but the study makes clear how building design affects the microbes living within them, and in turn may affect the human inhabitants.

For more information on this topic, read Green’s website or read an article about her research here.

 

Meet our New Equipment Sales and Account Manager: Webb Fox

Webb Newsletter

Please welcome the newest member of the Miller Blueprint team, Webb Fox. Webb will be heading up our large format equipment, supplies and service sales. Webb will be spreading the word that Miller Blueprint is here to help with HP, Canon, and KIP equipment and supplies (paper, inks, toner). With several successful years in the A/E/C and graphic equipment business, as well as previous experience in customer sales and service, Webb has proven to be an asset to his customers. Please contact Webb with any large format equipment, supplies or service needs and for an analysis on your in house printing to help with costs and workflow in your office.

May Promotion – Upgrade your old HP plotter and receive up to $2500 CASH back from HP!! Call Webb Fox for details.

Webb.Fox@millerblueprint.com
Cell: 512.200.6549

 

Tips & Tricks: Repositionable Adhesive Prints

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If you have indoor signage needs, consider repositionable adhesive prints as an alternative to traditional foam core mounts.  Printed on high quality fabric, these signs can be placed, adjusted, and removed from interior walls and other objects with no damage or residue.  Adhesive prints are especially useful for:

  • Temporary signage, like for a special event or indoor renovation project
  • Art / wall collages
  • Sponsor signage
  • Interior wayfinding signage
  • Tradeshow booths
  • Rental spaces where avoiding nail holes is desirable

Adhesive prints eliminate bulky foam core materials and allow the user to reposition the print multiple times without creating unnecessary wall damage.  These prints are ideal for temporary installations because of their ease of use, but the quality of the print is also appropriate for more permanent uses.  To learn more about repositionable adhesive prints or to get a quote on your next project, contact Ian Cousins at 512.381.5276 or cssr@millerblueprint.com.

Photo credit: Nimai Malle

 

News You Can Use: Austin

Money Raised to Save 125-year-old Tree in Construction Zone

East Austin Mixed-Use Development Project Set for This Summer

Memory Care Construction Project Underway in North Austin

Data Center Breaks Ground in Greenspoint Area

Construction Employment Up 500K from Lowpoint

AIA Billings Index Up Slightly in February

 

Amazing Architecture: Green Roof Edition

Check out the garden on the roof of City Hall in Chicago, whose motto is “City in a Garden.”

Ever wonder how to mow the lawn on a green roof? Goats provide one solution.

Airplanes flying over Tufts University can quickly identify the school’s green roof.

Here’s a nice residential usage of a green roof.

 

Being Green: Roofing Materials Edition

Boral Roofing Clay Tiles have earned “Cradle-to-Grave Gold” designation.

The CoolRoof system from Braas Monier optimizes a roof’s thermal performance.

This spray polyurethane foam coating from Bayer MaterialScience might keep that old roof out of the landfill.

EnviroShake is made from 95 percent recycled materials and looks like cedar.

 

Five Most Recent Pritzker Architecture Laureates

  • 2014: Shigeru Ban, Japan
  • 2013: Toyo Ito, Japan
  • 2012: Wang Shu, China
  • 2011: Eduardo Sourto de Moura, Portugal
  • 2010: Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, Japan

 

April Coupon

April Coupon-OutdoorBanners

Mention this ad to receive discount, or click here for printable version.

For more information or to place your order, please contact Ian Cousins, at 512.381.5276 or cssr@millerblueprint.com.