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Construction “Trades Hub” For Quality Content Across the Web April 20, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in communication, Construction Industry - Software, Construction Industry Hardware, Social Media Tools.
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Mike Rowe is passionate about the construction industry

Mike Rowe Works for You

The mikeroweWORKS Trades Hub just launched and pulls together blogs, articles and news stories relating to the construction trades,
It’s an easy to navigate site, to quickly find the popular blogs and websites that might normally go unnoticed if you’re not a regular subscriber. You may recognize the name, Mike Rowe as he’s been at apprentice in over 300 “Dirty Jobs” Episodes on TV. He’s passionate about the trades and the construction industry.

Building Up the Trades Community: “The skills gap is a real concern that’s getting more worrisome every day. Fewer skilled tradesmen in the workforce will affect us all. Younger folks need to have a better understanding of how they can benefit from learning a trade, and parents need to encourage their kids to consider this worthwhile and important path. mrW strives to reinvigorate the trades. The mrW Trades Hub will help us in that effort.”

Carol’s Construction Technology Blog is honored to be included in the Trade Hub. Here’s a screenshot of the Trades Hub and I hope you read it often!

Construction Technology in the Trades Hub

Carol's Construction Technology Blog in Trades Hub

Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please share this with your friends in the construction industry.

ConExpo ConAgg 2011: Social Media a Twitter in Construction March 24, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software.
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ConExpo-ConAgg is rockin with activity and as a techie and social media consultant it’s time to explain how visitors leverage all the social media outlets during a construction event. You must realize if attendees are looking on-line, they are seeking help, great content and suggestions as to what they haven’t found or seen yet. I noticed early on that the majority of Tweets using the #conexpoconagg hashtag were being used by media and vendors. The media was providing news but only a few smart firms understood how to serve the show’s target audience – contractors and aggregate buyers.

ConExpo iPhone and Android App Powered by CumminsSmart Firm #1: Cummins has advertising that’s smart. They provided the ConExpo App for the iPhone, Android and other smartphone users. It has maps, events and more which serves the attendees well, helping navigate through the huge volume of exhibitors and educational opportunities.

Smart Firm #2: Forcontractorpros.com looked at how they could serve everyone and has the daily recap of the Las Vegas Tourism and Convention Center Channels 6-10 am broadcast of what’s happening at the show 24/7. You can’t go wrong with news and great content that feeds the appetite of the construction industry.

Smart Firm #3: Ok, it’s me. I’m making this a teachable moment. If you don’t use Twitter, here are selected tweets from @carolhagen during the first two days that you probably wish you had read sooner:

Watch #conexpoconagg on the Las Vegas Tourism & Conv Ctr Channel, 6-10 am in your hotel room or 24/7 at http://bit.ly/eZvpqO

Anyone at #conexpoconagg looking for the best place to watch March Madness while in Vegas? Here you go http://bit.ly/f4Ehat

The oldest machine on display at #conexpoconagg http://bit.ly/gWWToP via @DoctorDiesel | That beats my ’29 Packard #aec

If you’re in technology @TomSawyerENR will be @ McGraw-Hill’s booth S-10519 @ 1pm today #conexpoconagg http://bit.ly/ezgXYv

Your first day at #conexpoconagg and own an iPhone? Grab the ConExpo App off iTunes – Maps, Events and More #aec Thanks @cummins

What associations are exhibiting at #conexpoconagg in Vegas? http://bit.ly/fUZHJ8 – NAWIC missing :(

Great photo, gives good sense of Conexpo construction equipment displays scope http://t.co/0KbSqC0 via @AGCofA #conexpoconagg

Have you seen the “I Make America” booth GL 3221 #conexpoaggexpo via @JanTuchman | Video http://www.am.org/ #aec

After #conexpoconagg tonight you might want to check out “Best of Vegas 2010″ http://bit.ly/h3O2Vc (2011 venues out March 27)

Have you been to the John Deere Chatterbox at #conexpoconagg? http://bit.ly/hCTC5Y Going social in construction #aec

The iPad giveaways are in full bloom at #conexpoconagg http://bit.ly/gJfTsR Other good prizes http://bit.ly/g4txGc

Free WiFi in Vegas near #conexpoconagg Maps of Starbucks http://bit.ly/hXU5An and other hotspots http://bit.ly/fp9zck

For those tweeting at ConExpo, it is my sincere hope you notice that these Tweets aren’t selling my products or services. It is all giving away information that real people, enjoying ConExpo might find valuable. A few were sharing interesting tweets from others. You can’t sell anything to someone that doesn’t like you and trust you first! That’s Sales 101 right? So how come so many vendors are just blasting out “come see me” …it’s like a shouting match for airspace. They’d do better if they tweeted about the booth next to them. Sharing is caring.

The construction industry is moving into social media but their skills aren’t yet tuned to the etiquette of the tools or the construction Tweeter (yet). Knowing that Twitter is underutilized (as 14% of the US population has a Twitter account), it is best to share this in a more traditional manner… Blogging, to reach the whole construction audience. A recap of sorts from one social media tool to another…to wet your Twhistle (that’s a Twitter whistle). Should I do something similar on the use of Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn? Let me know. And please follow me @carolhageon Twitter.

LinkedIn Loves Job Seekers November 10, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin.
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Job seekers are successfully leveraging social media, especially LinkedIn. But for many, this still seems a foreign language. Since I recently volunteered for Southwest Job Network at an event they held at Mesa Community College, it seemed appropriate to share some ideas with you. After all, social media is for sharing, caring and connecting.

First you need to learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile to make it easy for people to find you, establish yourself as an expert in your field, add skills, languages, publications in the appropriate sections of your profile and build trust by having recommendations. LinkedIn is where recruiters search for skills, experience and passion. It’s after they find you that they evaluate if you could be a potential match for a client. You can see who’s viewed your profile and the traffic you’ve attracted. Those that view can make their settings private to varying degrees so you may see a name and picture, just a job title or anonymous. Here’s a screen shot of what I mean:
Who's Viewed Your LinkedIn Profile, Trends and Visits or Appearances in Search
Take the time to evaluate the trends and examine who views your profile. You may find that you are not attracting your target audience…so rethink your keywords and re-optimize accordingly.

Also in LinkedIn, research the applications directory (found under the more tab in LinkedIn) as there are many tools that can be used for enhancing your profile. If you are a good writer, consider starting to blog about the 10-20 things that makes a [enter your career or ideal job title] great. If you’re a photographer the Creative Portfolio Display can help showcase your work.

Use LinkedIn Groups to connect to your peers, share an article you’ve found educational with the group, join in the discussions and start to engage your professional peers. You never know who knows someone that can help you.

If you are interested in particular companies you’d like to work for, LinkedIn offers the “Follow” option. By following a company you can get updates on new hires, promotions, employees and job postings. When you see the employees, LinkedIn shows you if you have any direct connections by putting a little blue 1st box next to their name. If you see 2nd or 3rd then one of your connections knows someone there and might be willing to introduce you. FYI-companies can see you are following them. If that bothers you, then just check to see if they have any job postings under the careers tab of the company profile.

Let’s help job candidates, especially Veterans and those in the construction industry, improve their LinkedIn profiles and give tips on how to use social media to attract opportunities. Please share this with the people you know to help them find a job. Also add your tips in the comments and let me know if this has helped you.

Google Loves LinkedIn October 13, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in linkedin, Software plug-in.
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LinkedIn Loves GoogleGoogle loves LinkedIn and I’ve been including this fact in many powerpoint presentations and national speaking engagements for over a year now. There’s more to this love than how Google searches LinkedIn profiles. We can now see the extent of the relationship with today’s LinkedIn blog post announcing LinkedIn Labs (sounds and looks like Google Labs) and the great new projects contained within Labs to prove my point. I’ve used filtering on construction as examples throughout to keep my focus on the construction industry.

First, let’s peek at NewIn. This is a plugin for Firefox (not yet available on IE), that integrates Google Earth with the users on LinkedIn. Not sure of it as a valuable application but it is very visual as seen in this screenshot:

Next, I had to try out LinkedIn Signals. The LinkedIn Blog post today offered the 1st 500 people to request a sneak peek access. I added it after 2pm today. Signals makes LinkedIn status updates from connections look similar to Facebook as seen here: LinkedIn Signal's is better than Facebook's Wall I have to believe that LinkedIn is answering Facebook’s copycat of groups with a more business-like copy of the Facebook Wall. Perhaps this isn’t so much Google’s love for LinkedIn, but their answer to a possible adversary.

Finally to prove my point about LinkedIn and Google is the introduction of INstant, a Google-like search for the LinkedIn User that displays the connections you have based upon your search criteria. I can’t believe that there are over a million instances of construction but this screen shot verifies that very fact! An instant search of your 1st connections on LinkedIn

Then there’s ChromeIn, which I didn’t try out, but then I haven’t used Chrome yet. Being able to see your LinkedIn connections’ status updates in your Chrome Browser must be a good thing for Google.

My take is that with all the Google love for LinkedIn, Facebook is none too happy with their Business to Business audience performance. What’s your opinion?

Social Media Policy or Police? September 30, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry Hardware, linkedin, twitter, web 2.0.
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Social Networking PoliceSocial Media Policy is a hot topic for most businesses. The larger the enterprise the greater the impact on the IT infrastructure. Bandwidth bottlenecks can occur quickly with employees all viewing YouTube, Vimeo and Viddler videos simultaneously. Reports on the reduction in employee productivity at work will lead you to believe that social media is a waste of time and that there’s no reason to be in Facebook on business time. Security issues are also a concern with the proliferation of social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter that offer apps, chat and email functions. So what should a company do?

Begin a Dialogue with Your Employees
Don’t just lock everyone out of everything! This reactionary approach will make your firm look like a dinosaur to your team as well as your customers. I’ve seen this implemented at large publicly held construction companies and I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot by locking out everyone with URL filtering. Determine which employees and social media applications can contribute to your company brand, market reach and customer relationships. Ask your marketing, communications and sales people including anyone involved with customer relationship management or customer support for their input. Check out your competitor’s website to see what social media applications and tools they are using. Often you’ll see a few icons listed somewhere on their site, an invitation to connect in the sidebar of a blog or perhaps an RSS feed of their social activity.

Establish a Social Media Policy
Start with defining what is acceptable and unacceptable when using social media sites as you do for email and cell phone usage. Yes, your Legal and Information technology teams will probably influence (scare) you enough that risk tolerance decisions will need to be made. My favorite book for addressing social media policy is The e-Policy Handbook by Nancy Flynn. You may have already decided that “we only allow LinkedIn”, period. Think again. The most popular Business to Business (B2B) network by far in the United States is LinkedIn and they’ve just added the ability to display Twitter feeds and blog posts on the Company Profile. Since blog posts often have videos embedded in articles, you may have just policed yourself into not being able to view your own marketing materials.

Get the IT Department on Board
With budget cuts across the board, IT is trying to do everything without spending money and often takes the “lock down” approach as the only thing they can do with the tools they currently have. Perhaps you should consider budgeting for new equipment, particularly firewalls that address social media. It’s not good enough anymore to rely on old technology. Traditional firewalls rely on port and protocol to classify traffic, allowing tech-savvy applications and users to bypass them with ease; hopping ports, using
SSL, sneaking across port 80, or using non-standard ports. It may be time to have your network traffic analyzed for applications, users and content, you need to know what bandwidth is used by social media and have a way to monitor and enforce your policies effectively. The Interface2010 Technology Symposium has this topic covered and while I attended the Scottsdale, AZ event last week, you can still catch them in a few other US cities this year.

We’re in the process of scheduling a webinar to help educate business owners and their IT departments on social media policy, monitoring and network security. If you’d like to receive a webinar invitation, be interested in a network audit or have questions, please ask us by posting a comment. Please share this with your business partners, IT friends, and customers.

LinkedIn Profile is Your Business Lifeline August 20, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in linkedin.
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LinkedIn is your web access to business connections and /strong> as such, you should keep it well tuned and make it work for you. One often overlooked item is important in your LinkedIn settings … adding a secondary alternate (personal) email address. I use gmail, but any of the free providers like Yahoo or MSN will do too. You configure this in LinkedIn under Settings | Personal Information | Email Addresses where you will see a screen like this:

Primary and secondary email addresses

An Alternate Email Address is Recommended


You can switch the primary address at any time and continue to receive all LinkedIn correspondence as well as send out email. This is your insurance policy should you experience an unexpected employment transition and need to reach your contacts, or more importantly that they know how to reach you! I’ve seen many people not realize the importance of keeping their profile up to date or remembering to change their primary address after leaving a position or getting a new job. Stay connected with your business connections and give them a way to find you. You’ll be glad you did!

LinkedIn Recommendations: The Service Provider’s Dream July 27, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in communication, linkedin.
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Recommendations are the life blood of most businesses. Somewhat hidden within the bowels of LinkedIn is the lair of the Service Provider Directory. It’s where you can give recommendations (even though you aren’t connected in LinkedIn). But more importantly it’s where the smart business people search for experts and read the recommendations of others.

You can find it under the companies search:

LinkedIn Search for Service Providers

LinkedIn Search for Service Providers

LinkedIn is a great place to search for service providers that your contacts or network recommends. This is particularly true if you fall into any of these categories:

  • Attorneys
  • Career Coaches
  • Chiropractors
  • Commercial Real Estate Agents
  • Consultants
  • Dentists
  • Event Planners
  • Family Physicians
  • Financial Planners
  • General Contractors
  • Graphic Designers
  • Insurance Agents
  • Lawyers Mortgage Brokers
  • Nutritionists
  • Optometrists
  • Personal Trainers
  • Photographers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Property Managers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Recruiters
  • Search Engine Marketers
  • Search Engine Optimization Experts
  • Tax Advisors
  • Travel Agents
  • Venture Capitalists
  • Veterinarians
  • Wealth Managers
  • Wedding Planners
  • Writers
  • LinkedIn Service Provider Recommendations for your 1st contacts The Service Provider Directory allows you to quickly discover, research, and reference check service providers in your network, in your circle of 2nd connections or the world.

    LinkedIn also includes the option to search locally to hone in on the closest, highly recommended specialists.

    Most of the IT and computer geeks I know have been using this feature but when speaking with business associates I find that less than 50% have used it. Guess LinkedIn has more training to do.

    Are you making the most of recommendations and have you given a recommendation on LinkedIn without someone asking? Please share what prompts you to give an unsolicited recommendation with our readers. If you found this tip useful, please share it, Like it or tweet it around the world.

    Social Media Safety Meeting Minute May 3, 2010

    Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin, records retention, twitter, web 2.0.
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    The idea of a Safety Meeting in a minute is a great idea, which I must thank Tim Greene of Networld for sharing in a PCWorld article yesterday. What’s different if you haven’t figured it out is this is not your typical construction site safety meeting. We’re talking about Internet Safety and I believe the idea is fantastic.

    The premise is if you had to take a 1-minute internet safety lesson before being allowed access to the Internet your employees would recognize just how important it is to protect their identity and the electronic information contained within the company. The article mentions many of the popular social media sites but doesn’t give you 10 lessons to kick start the idea. So why not make this blog post a place for everyone to share their ideas…and build a 100 or more “lessons”? I’m extending this to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter too (as I believe a 140 character tip will ensure the time constraint of keeping it to one minute).

    Safety Tips

    To get us started, here are a few of my one minute safety tips:

  • Know your company’s policy on Social Media use (Write a corporate policy on Social Media)
  • Make all your passwords more than one word in length and include at least one number
  • Never write (post) anything you wouldn’t want your mom or your boss to read (or see)
  • Text Messages from your Blackberry are “discoverable” so think of them as business emails
  • If you blog independently of work, make sure it is understood the contents are not the opinions of a past, current or future employer, but only that of the blogger’s
  • If you post while at work to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn make sure it is work or industry related (see corporate policy)
  • Never open attachments or click hyperlinks from people you don’t know and trust
  • Now that you get the idea, let’s hear your one minute (or less) lessons and Tips. I promise to share them with you all!

    6 Steps to Social Media Success January 26, 2010

    Posted by carolhagen in web 2.0.
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    Today I was speaker at the eWomenNetwork luncheon in Tempe Arizona. A group of women entrepreneurs wanted to understand how social media can impact their business.   This group is focused on the strategic plan and beginning  their journey minimizing their mistakes.  If you are testing the waters don’t be discouraged but recognize that “build it and they will come” is a misnomer.   Social media should be meshed into the heart of the marketing, branding and thought leadership of a firm.  Since many of you didn’t have the opportunity to be there, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of the presentation.

    1. Claim your brand (your company name, and your own name).  Your brand should be focused on your customers needs and as much as possible be controlled by you.  Now I use the word control loosely as this is not the corporate tower mentality of press releases and case studies from your Public Relations Department.  But your  brand conversations and those happening on the internet should be in your possession.  How do you do this?  Use Namechk.com to find if your preferred brand username is available.  Namechck.com will search what’s been taken in the social media realm.  Grab your names in the major social media sites now or they will be gone later!
    2. Listen.  You must know what’s already going on in your business niche.  Not so much what social media tools everyone is using, but listening to the conversation.  The majority are out creating facebook pages as extensions of their website, but forget that social media is a participation sport.  What are we listening for?  What is being said about our firm, our industry and our competitors?   What are our potential customers asking for? Careful consideration should be focused on who is participating.  Start your listening with a few searches on google about your company name…look for reviews, see  if you’re listed on the first  page of search results, etc.  Then move to some listening technologies like Google AlertsTweetDeck  and Social Mention
    3. Begin participating.  Perhaps you are a B2B so you start with LinkedIn.  I see more people who start here and never really get it.  They get a dozen friends in their network and nothing happens.  Here are three things you will all do today: Change your title under your name to more of what you do.  For instance if you are in sales say customer relationship and business development for the XYZ industry.  You want people to find you.  Add a few applications to your profile… Reading List by Amazon and Bloglink.   The reading list is for sharing, the Bloglink is for listening and sharing.  You can automatically see the blogs that your LinkedIn connections have and get to know what they are passionate about.  And join a few groups so at least you look connected and interested.  After all the do call this “Social Networking”. Post comments to their blogs, ask and answer questions in the group discussions and get your feet wet!
    4. Decide what the purpose of your social media participation is.  Perhaps you want to help a friend get a job.  Maybe you want to promote your philanthropic and community causes.  I bet you all want to market your products and services.  This strategy meeting is not just the owner, unless you are a sole proprietor.  Even then I’d say talk with a mentor, social media strategist, branding, marketing or PR firm.  Involve business development and sales then prioritize.  A few hours a planning will save weeks of effort.  Read a few good books like Putting the Public back In Public Relations,  The Long Tail, Trust Agents and Groundswell as they will  help you understand the social media craze and how to leverage it.
    5. Consider  a Blog.  I believe that a Blog is the most underutilized social media tool.  It can convey your passion, relay your expertise, reach into the emotions of your potential clients and start a conversation.  Oh, and it will help you climb the search engine rankings easily if done right.  There are two schools of thought for beginners.  One is I am afraid to jump all in, so they start a blog using Write4.net if they want it to be super easy, or wordpress.com if they are halfway convinced that this blogging thing is right for them.  Write4.net will tweet your blog post and give you a blog with a few nice features like the Retweet button.  Neither of these will ideally optimize search engine ranking but can help with website traffic.  I have to admit, I’m wishing I had just started with WordPress.org but hindsight is 20/20.  Problogger tried to convince me too but it looked like to much work to start.  He also has some many fabulous suggestions on copy, writing headlines, creating compelling calls to action, etc.  With your strategy in hand write a few posts that keep the focus on the customer and help them out (for free).  Write good headlines as they will determine whether anyone reads your blog. 
    6. Maximize your reach.  The best way to expand reach for most firms is with a combo attack.  Blogs, Twitter, newsletters, Facebook don’t only use one method - as you limit your reach.  If you are afraid to start writing a blog or concerned about the expense there are many free and easy choices.  The professional blogger will lean toward WordPress.org and rightfully so.

    Recognize everything you participate in can help you in search engine rankings, positions you as an expert or interested learner and improves your reach for authority.  Stay focused on the customer and building their trust.  I believe it was Chris Brogan who said social media is “two parts helping, two parts connecting and one part selling”.

    If you attended the luncheon, would you please add comments to this blog on what you learned and what your have planned as your next social media step.

    3 Social Media Twitter Tools I Recommend for Construction January 18, 2010

    Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, twitter.
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    5 comments

    The construction industry is known as a technology laggard, but not all construction companies take a wait and see approach. In the social media realm, many contracting firms have decided to get involved early, primarily being driven by the business development and marketing folks. They want to use LinkedIn to further develop their contact base and find prospects hiding in the contacts of their associates. Linkedin is the public version of customer relationship management (CRM) for B2B and for some, the only computer-based CRM available.
    What really astounds me is the misunderstanding of what social media brings to the table. Smaller firms are more nimble at embracing these technologies and still Twitter is the most underutilized tool in the bunch. Twitter seems to have an identity crisis when you talk with construction CFOs, CEOs and CIOs. Now that Google, Bing and Yahoo are searching tweets, Twitter should become part of your search engine optimization strategy at least.  

    Here are the 3 most useful social media twitter tools for construction, or for that matter any business:

    1. Blogging. Once a week someone at your firm must have something they could share that could help: Establish your brand, identify a new business niche, further the relationship with a client, improve the communications with your suppliers or empower your employees.  Why not blog about it and establish yourself as an expert!  Blogging will  assist in attaining higher search engine rankings and gives you the ability to create a unique voice.  Why is this a Twitter tool?  Because when you publish your blog article it should immediately post to Twitter.
    2. Twitterfeed or Feedburner.  Feedburner has been around the longest and was aquired by Google long ago.  They recently added the Socialize function to “push” your blog posts to the Twitterverse automatically.  It doesn’t have some of the reporting options that Twitterfeed does, but I suspect that will arrive shortly.
    3. TweetBrand.  I was so impressed I became an affiliate of theirs.  What it does is further your branding within your tweets.  There’s a timeline entry for every tweet that says how it was posted (via Twitter, Ping, Tweetdeck, LinkedIn, etc).  What if instead it had your company name that hyperlinked to your company website or URL of your choice? 

      Stop giving away your Tweet Real Estate

    For the B2B and B2C (Business to consumer) Facebook is also something to consider.  If the AGC of America, Turner Construction and ENR all have Facebook pages you’d think that there must be value there right?  As a social media strategist it still surprises me that so few construction  firms have even tried to dabble with social media tools. 

    Perhaps you think social media is a waste of time, that your employees would lose productivity, that there are only teenagers out there using Twitter to “instant message” their friends.  But social media can be used for much more.  What are your favorite tools?  Can’t wait to hear your comments. 

    Why not try out TweetBrand and tell me if your like it as much as I do.

    What a LinkedIn Premium Account Offers December 14, 2009

    Posted by carolhagen in linkedin.
    Tags: ,
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    The most frequently asked question in my social media consulting business focused on construction and B2B is “Should I pay for a premium LinkedIn account?”  Well you can decide for yourself with this video, the LinkedIn premium account welcome overview:

    So now that you know what you get, I am interested in hearing from you about your successes with these features, particularly openlink.

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