“Social media, really?” That’s not an uncommon reaction when I speak to others inside and outside the construction industry about the importance of having a social media strategy. When “technology” and “construction” are mentioned in the same sentence, it’s often the use of a design or engineering software that comes to mind.
There is a stereotype that this “blue-collar” industry is slow to adapt to technology. But lets take a deeper look at how this industry is already finding success in engaging their customers and colleagues online.
97% of construction professionals use social media.
According to a survey conducted by the Construction Marketing Association, 97% of construction professionals were active on social media in 2013, a 7% growth from 2012. For the 3% not on social media, this means that their competitors have already began attracting leads while they sit idly. If there’s any statistic that should prompt construction professionals to begin using social media immediately, it’s this one, which shows their competitors are ahead of their game.
LinkedIn is the go-to social platform.
It’s not all that surprising that the construction industry gravitates towards LinkedIn – a site focused on building business relationships. After all, it’s the logical step for an industry where developing relationships is a prerequisite to developing a project. And while LinkedIn is used heavily in recruiting, it has evolved to allow businesses to showcase their projects, successes, and industry knowledge. When asked to identify which social media site is the most effective, nearly half of construction industry marketers said it was on LinkedIn. It’s the one social platform your company should be on.
Social media sites are creating sales opportunities.
While nearly all construction professionals use social media, the number of firms in the industry that maintain social media sites is much lower. Within the construction industry, the highest social media participation by company type is Construction Services (25%), Building Material Manufacturers (16%), and Commercial Construction (16%). While the representation is low, the successes for those firms who are actively promoting through social media are high. Successes like improved brand awareness, website traffic, and – the Holy Grail – sales leads.
All this information is to say that social media is a tool that has yet to be fully embraced by the industry. Early adopters of social media have found success in building their network and developing deeper engagement with customers and vendors. Those who have not yet adopted social media are missing out on opportunities to promote their success stories, have dialogue with customers, and, worst of all, generate sales leads.
The industry changes. Does your company?
Have you heard your customers say "Oh, I didn’t know you offered that?” or "I couldn't find you online?" If so, it might be time to reflect upon your audience, your services, and your brand.