Interior Designers & Social Media: Help or Hype? White Paper



When surveyed about their business challenges, interior designers report their number one challenge is how to attract new clients. This need is a critical one since a recent YouGov survey among the wealthiest Americans ($10 million or more net worth and household income of $350k+) found that only 10% of them “regularly” use the services of an interior designer. Of course, that doesn’t include the wealthy that occasionally use designer services, yet it illustrates a huge gap.

With some one million U.S. households among this wealthy class, that means only about 100,000 households are actively engaged with interior designers.  What about the other 90%?

The answer to reach those other 90% who are the best prospects for interior design services is marketing that is both effective and cost-effective. While word-of-mouth marketing is designers marketing method of choice, both most used and most effective, more designers are turning to social media as a way to attract new clients, promote their work and build business.

Social media is over-promised, but under-performing for interior designers

In a new survey conducted by Unity Marketing among some 200 interior designers, nearly 80% of professional interior designers are active on social media, with Facebook and Instagram being their most important social media platforms. Yet among those designers using social media, only 17% rate social media as very effective in promoting their business. This compares with 85% of designers who say WOM is very effective.

Interior Designer Advertising Strategies and their Effectiveness

In other words, for 8 out of 10 designers social media over-promises and under-performs. They don’t know the best platforms to use; they don’t know how to measure its effectiveness; nor have most figured out how to monetize their social media presences.

“Designers are wasting their time [on social media]. It makes them feel good while they are going broke,” said one designer in the survey.

And this designer found that being active on social media actually turned-off, rather than turned-on an otherwise happy past client.

All social media is too dangerous to my growth. I learned this after a client who was very happy with the results of his first home didn’t hire me for his Aspen home. They told me they loved me. But I was too ‘out there.’ They explained they lived private lives and after a Google search found me everywhere, they felt I was not who they wanted to associate with.

Hope is not a business strategy

Despite the lack of measurable success on social media, an overwhelming two-thirds of interior designers say they will focus more on social media in marketing their businesses next year.  Fewer than one-third will keep their social media activities on par with the past and only 4% will pull back.

“That so few interior designers are holding social media accountable and maintaining at least a steady pace or even pulling back is surprising, given that so few social-media active designers can measure real success in social media generating new business,” says Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and lead researcher in the study. “While many interior designers believe it is working, too few can point to real results. Rather they believe it is working and hope that it is producing results for the amount of effort and money invested in it. I however see little evidence to support this belief in the research.”

Download this 30+ page report in easy-to-digest presentation format now to get ideas about more effective marketing for interior designers.