Yesterday I spoke at the Norwich Forum for the Construction Industry’s conference, which was entitled ‘Recession + Recovery – Challenges facing the Construction + Property Industries over the next Decade’. I’d been asked to talk on ‘Making Use of The Social Network’ and chose to take the view that this was an opportunity to show non-users of social networks how they are changing the way we work in construction, in particular through our relationships.
The key points I made in my talk were:
- Many of the technologies that we think of as ‘futuristic’ are actually already here and already being used;
- Social Media requires people to talk to each other online to work, so you must use your people;
- People will find your people online – what they find must be managed;
- People are using online tools to demonstrate the traditional qualities of credibility, authority and trust;
- Construction Professionals are learning from each other on social platforms. You should not prevent this or you won’t have many employees soon;
- Recruitment and Retention: Humanise your business – this means getting people on your website.
- Your employees can be responsible. If you expect them to be responsible, help them to do it and don’t ignore them.
- Collaboration isn’t about complex, expensive technologies; it’s about culture. Its about simple, even free technologies, with real people communicating with each other;
- People talk to each other a lot on the Internet. This is not a bad thing; they are actually saving your time and money by doing it.
- Social media will help you understand your customer. This is an opportunity, not a threat. Those who take it will be the winners.
- Architects want to talk to human beings who are technical specialists, not your PR agency; and lastly
- Your board members don’t have to learn the nitty-gritty, but they do have to understand the principles, and support the process.
Here are the slides, as promised. I’d like to thank everyone who commented on this post last weekend, who emailed me about their thoughts and experiences, who shared the questions I asked with their peers. I hope the conversation will continue; no doubt it will. We’re all a part of it, so please join us.