7 Tips on Winning Hottest Architect Competition with 7K Votes

Early this week, Curbed National, a website focusing on interior design, decor, and real estate news located in the country’s vibrant urban centers, announced:
“It’s Official: Lira Luis is Hottest Designer/Architect of 2011!”
(It does look like there's dandruff on my hair, but really, it was snowing outside when my photographer Chris Vaughn took this. Ask my stylist Lillian. She was there. Now don't I sound defensive, do I?) Image from Curbed.com
Lira Luis' 7,538-to-Lindsey Coral Harper's 2,307
Whoa, how did that happen? Some probably asked. I asked myself the same question.

At the commencement of the tournament a week earlier, I had just finished a strategy meeting with my business coach. As I was skimming through the Tweets of the day, I saw one of my Twitter friends mention about voting for me in a contest. I wondered what it was and so clicked on the link. I nearly choked on my lunch when I saw that I was one of the 32 nominees at Curbed’s Hottest competition. It turns out, a well-meaning colleague had nominated me but failed to inform me quickly enough before I picked up the news via Social Media. I read who else was in it. Right off the bat, I recognized some of my competitors.

Tom Kundig -  I have heard of his firm, Olson Kundig Architects from a colleague. He said their work is one of the most interesting in Seattle. I’ve been following their work ever since.
Bjarke Ingels - I met him personally in Chicago during an Architecture & Design Film Festival earlier this year.
Neil Denari - His name and his work have often been mentioned by industry colleagues. I happen to like some of his work too.
David Bromstad - I may have seen him on an episode of the show HGTV Design Star on HGTV cable network.

My theory: Social Media can even out the playing field for all 32 contestants.

Here are 7 tips that made it happen:

  1. Do an inventory of Social Media tools you have.
  2. Identify your audience. Categorize them in 3 levels. Level 1 will be those who will most likely vote for you with no questions asked. Level 2 will be those who will probably vote for you if you give them a good reason why. Level 3 will be those who will vote for you because your Level 1 and 2 audience asked them to.
  3. Fully engage your audience.
  4. Make the process about them, your audience, and not about you.
  5. Allow for freedom of speech. Learn how to handle and accept criticism.
  6. Make it fun to vote for you.
  7. Share the victory (and possibly) the limelight with your audience.
Beginning on Labor Day Monday, with subsequent blog posts the following days, spread out in 7 days, I’ll illustrate in detail, with matching graphics, how the process led to a landslide victory and how it has helped my business now. Still think engaging in Social Media is a waste of time? Follow my posts next week and see for yourself.


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