It’s interesting how a few hard years can be a catalyst of change. Construction is a great example. The economic downturn forced builders to find new ways to grow business. Enter social media. Though construction has a long-standing reputation of being averse to new technology, widespread adoption of social media is changing the way builders get business done.
With more than a billion users on Facebook and no cost for company pages, it’s not hard to see why construction firms are boosting their brands socially. A recent study by the Construction Marketing Association confirmed construction’s move to social channels. The study shows a 7% rise in social media use by builders in 2013 and reports that 97% of construction firms are active in social media.
Finding the Secret Recipe
While 97 percent is not small. But construction’s life in social media is still in its infancy. Many firms are still trying to determine which channels are best for them. LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, Facebook and YouTube are now the seasoned veterans and remain the favorites. But a few newer networks are gaining momentum.
Despite continued criticism that Google+ is social media’s equivalent to a ghost town, Google’s digital hangout has swelled to 400 million users making it the third largest social network behind Facebook and Twitter. Not coincidentally, Google+ marked the largest increase with 16 percent more construction firms joining to the social platform in 2013. Twitter notched the second highest gain with a 13 percent bump, followed closely by YouTube at 12 percent.
Facebook followed by LinkedIn were at the bottom of the list, with gains of 2 and 3 percent respectively. As the largest social network in the world and the largest network dedicated to business, the nominal change is largely due to early adoption of these networks before expanding into more exotic networking locales.
As construction’s relationship with social media matures, it will be interesting to see how companies and individuals engage each other, at what level, and how much of today’s in-person interaction is replaced by content sharing, microblogs, discussion forums and instant messaging.
We believe both have a place in construction. There’s still no beating a good old fashion hand shake, though tomorrow’s handshakes may begin with social sharing today.
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