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LinkedIn, Twitter and Web 2.0 for the Construction Industry August 19, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin, twitter, web 2.0.
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Yesterday I presented the seminar “LinkedIn, Twitter and Web 2.0 for the Construction Industry” at the American Subcontractors Association Arizona Chapter office. While well attended, I found the majority to be in the same boat as most B2B firms… still trying to understand just what Social Networking is all about and how these tools could impact their business.

Interestingly enough, one attendee was from a Lien Service and was successfully using LinkedIn for locating people that had stiffed their suppliers & subs. One designated Twitterer @smallgiants came to see how they could more effectively communicate with their customers with Twitter and Blogging…I actually suggested a forum or discussion group for their clients while using a blogging tool like WordPress.org or WordPress.com to give them easier updating and flexibility. 

The contractors present all had the “generation gap” syndrome and needed to understand that this Web 2.0 stuff is not a fad it is about a method of communication that creates a conversation. These conversations can be with employees, customers and vendors but depending upon your strategy you should focus on one group of people at a time in deploying any web 2.0 tools.  Another consideration before jumping in is addressing your e-policy to include such things as disclaimers on any employees “freelance” blogging as it is likely they have you listed as their employer.  If you haven’t created an e-policy yet I recommend “The e-POLICY Handbook” by Nancy Flynn.

Every construction firm should have their company profile on LinkedIn and at least a few employees, particularly business development and human resources connected to LinkedIn.  It is where unemployed construction talent has posted their resume, and it’s where savvy entrepreneurs are recruiting.  This morning I received my weekly update from the McGraw-Hill Construction LinkedIn Group and a discussion post included an 8 page summary of Jim Collin’s book “Good To Great” and applying it’s study and conclusion to the business of construction contracting.  I guess this just reiterates the message of my seminar, to get started you must first listen to people, then determine your objectives to create a web 2.0 strategy before you pick all the technology for a full court press of embrasing E2.0 or web 2.0 tools. 

Have you started a web 2.0 project?  I’d like to hear about your experiments, challenges, and success stories.  Leave a comment or contact me directly.

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Comments»

1. Cody Peters - August 19, 2009

Thanks Carol, the seminar was great! Very informative and we DID have several take-aways as you promised. I’ll be heading out to get the recommended reading: “The e-POLICY handbook” and “Groundswell” soon.

2. Paul - August 21, 2009

Interesting post, Carol. I have been reading your blog for a few months as your interests are close to mine in the UK.

As a PR/marketing professional, I have talked to numerous AEC businesses about adopting these tools if only to help them ‘listen’ and keep abreast of the concerns, interests and activities of some of their key publics. For example, I have talked to contractor-developers about how local communities have used blogs and Twitter to articulate opposition to new schemes or to highlight inconsiderate site practices. Awareness and familiarity with social media tools and techniques is therefore not just about promotion, but also about managing reputation in the face of potential criticism.

Working with blogs and twitter can also be a powerful way to boost traffic to existing corporate websites, and – during a recession in which sales leads are like gold dust – more traffic can often translate into more enquiries.

You may also be interested in an online community Be2camp – http://www.be2camp.com – that is promoting the adoption of Web 2.0 by AEC organisations (BE = built environment), and has held several ‘unconferences’ bringing together practitioners and the wait-and-see brigade. The debates you describe are very familiar from the conversations that have taken place at Be2camp over the past year.

3. Susan Moore - August 27, 2009

I agree about creating an e-policy for any company or association. Like our lawmakers, many companies fall far behind this need until disaster strikes. Great call Carol!

4. John Xavier - October 1, 2009

Carol – I see the “generation gap” all the time. My favorite explanation is “we call it social media, the kids call it fun.”


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