Hello, I’m Su Butcher and I have a digital media consultancy called Just Practising. We work exclusively in the Construction Industry.
What is Social Media?
Social Media is people having conversations on the Internet.
It is the Conversation that makes social media different from other traditional forms of media, which are broadcast in nature, one to many. Social media is many-to-many.
It is the process of discussing and sharing that amplifies your message. Without conversation, social media doesn’t work, and you end up shouting into a bucket.
Social media is also a type of Digital Media – a type of Publishing. You need to publish as well as talk.
Publishing is what makes good social media work. Without publishing your own things, you won’t have anything for people to talk about, and you’ll end up talking about everyone else.
So to be successful in social media, you need
the SOCIAL – Be prepared to have the conversation; and
the MEDIA – Make something worth sharing.
Social Media must be a key part of any effective strategy for marketing, growing and maintaining the reputation of any business. Whilst a good website has been an indispensible tool for some time, social media now helps you turn that website into a machine to generate targeted leads, engage with your stakeholders, recruit and look after your customers and advocates.
Why use Social Media in Construction?
The Construction Industry is notoriously conservative, and take up of social media has been slow and patchy. But this new technology has a quality that makes it an ideal medium for construction professionals to use and for companies to use to generate business. It is about people.
I worked in architects’ practices for most of my career, and have been involved in generating business helping practices become successful. I’ve also seen how construction professionals across the industry choose whom to work with, which products to specify and which projects to be involved in. It all comes down to human relationships; construction is a human business.
Social media enables us to build, strengthen and develop new relationships with construction professionals that would be impossible to sustain with just a telephone and face-to-face meetings. As human interactions are the key to successful construction business, social media is an indispensable tool.
What about the risks?
Social media is changing the way people learn, build relationships, research products and services and evaluate companies. It therefore has the potential to affect how a construction firm is perceived, presenting opportunities for marketing and lead generation, and also potential risks to a company’s image. These impacts need to be understood and managed, but they can’t be ignored.
Google your employees and find out what they are doing. You will be surprised.
The Internet is a huge, noisy place, full of information of varying quality. Every time we visit Google, we are looking for information and making choices about it. Social media, by enabling human interaction, makes it possible for people to make these choices based on human relationships, not simply anonymous websites turned up by a search algorithm.
Good and bad, social media makes the Internet human, and overall I think the Internet is better for it.
How to Begin?
If we are to develop an approach to social media in our company, we need to understand what it is, what it can do, and then we need to set out a strategy for it. Find out more about social media strategy here.
If you’d like me to come and talk to your board or partners about what social media is, and why it is important, please get in touch.
Images (Creative Commons):
Cafe conversation by Jo Guldi
The conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3
Jablite Breakfast at the Gherkin by Su Butcher