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Jul 07 2009

Blogs, Twitter, social networking: your new business tools

The latest issue of Construction Manager magazine, the journal of the Chartered Institute of Building, CIOB, has a feature by Stephen Cousins and Elaine Knutt on using social media in the UK construction industry.

The feature is well worth reading as it is full of insights from some of the sector’s most well-known bloggers, Tweeters and social networkers – and me (hence the shameless plug) – and includes a wide variety of AEC firms, from architects to contractors, project managers to PRs and product manufacturers. They include:

  • Capita Symonds – who have a digital marketing manager Louise Reed leading a team devoted to blogging, Tweeting, and posting on Flickr and YouTube (“We don’t want to be seen as another faceless company.”)
  • Hull-based contractor Hobson & Porter – who use free blog site Blogger.com to set up blogs for each project and will be encouraging its supply chain to sign up to Twitter for progress updates and tender information.
  • Ipswich-based architect Barefoot & Gilles – where my friend and fellow blogger Su Butcher uses Twitter to spread the practice’s brand online.
  • Niven Architects – where Jonathan Moreels does much the same as Su, expanding into Facebook and Flickr and doubling its website traffic.
  • Liverpool contractor 4K Construction – where Kirk Smith blogs, also boosting traffic to the company’s website.
  • Another friend and fellow construction PR consultant Liz Male – talking about using Twitter to arrange meetings in the ‘real world’ (see my post on this).
  • BRE – where senior consultant James Goddin says online conversations in discussion groups on LinkedIn can be converted into new business initiatives
  • Willmott Dixon – where planner Rubas Kutty has used LinkedIn to find tips on construction, planning and project management (“Kutty uses the site with the blessing of his employer, which sees its business-only profile as preferable to Twitter”).
  • RCK Architects, Morgan Sindall Fit-out – both are a bit sceptical about the value of social media, but admit LinkedIn helps reinforcing their image and could grow in importance – and Shepherd Construction marketing manager Gail Gillatt – keen on LinkedIn, but admits it won’t replace face-to-face networking events.
  • HOK – already the subject in this blog of one post plus a guest post by John Gilmore – which has benefited from dozens of requests through the blog email box about job opportunities, and an enhanced presence in the news media.
  • Crittall Windows – where IT manager John Keleher is helping the company take its first tentative steps into the blogosphere, aiming to “improve our page ranking on the Google search engine … as well as to drive traffic to the website” (disclosure: Crittall has been a client of pwcom 2.0 – see also post).

You will see that some businesses remain cautious about adopting social media while others have begun to incorporate the tools and techniques into their business communications. I look forward to seeing how members of the CIOB react to this article and whether it prompts any upsurge in take-up of the various channels used by the AEC businesses in which they work (and if you want any advice on integrating Web 2.0 into your existing AEC PR and marketing, please let me know!).

1 comment

3 pings

  1. Bryan

    Yep, I’ve been telling clients about this stuff for awhile, you can find more info in my book, The Contractor Image

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