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Social media marketing is about developing great content in the form of blogs, articles, videos and images on the internet that can be shared with others using web based sites.
Creating content which can be shared using social media channels increases the reach of your messages and most importantly increases your exposure. The first step in creating a social media marketing plan is to listen actively to online conversations currently taking place on social media platforms and define where your prospects, customers and industry advocates are having conversations. LinkedIn currently has over 655,000 Architects and over 1700 construction companies on the social networking site, all with groups for you to join and connect with others. Hubspot conducted a survey to find out exactly how much traffic would be generated for companies that don’t blog against those that do and the resultswere an increase of 55% more traffic for those who have a blog. It is clear that social media marketing is about creating relevant and compelling content about your products, company, people and your brand for other members of your industry to share with their peers. Creating a content strategy is a must for any business wanting to use social media channels to promote and share content on the web. There are many social media monitoring tools out there, some free some paid for, and if you are not careful they will overwhelm with you tonnes of data. Social media has changed the way any company, small or large, should go about implementing their marketing campaigns and strategies. In June 2010 and 2011 we carried out an analysis of how the top 15 construction companies in the UK were using social media to connect with their audience online.
Although some growth in the use of social media and its execution were obvious between 2010 and 2011 many of the key players in construction were still to fully engage with their online audience. To save confusion, this year, we have decided to analyse these top 20 UK construction companies instead of a specific top 15 and to list them in alphabetical order and not by turnover. Nearly two years have passed since we last undertook any research into the social marketing efforts of the UK’s Top Construction Companies. Previous analysis of the top construction companies threw up some surprising insights about a lack of presence and the minimal engagement they have with their audiences. 55% of the top 20 companies have placed links on their company websites which links to their social media profiles. 2011’s analysis revealed that 13 of the top 15 construction companies (87%) had a Twitter presence, compared to 7 (47%) in 2010.
However, our research to date has found that some of the top construction companies may be over-using this function.
Mitie, on the other hand seem to be focusing more on their social media efforts as there’s an obvious change in the way they are using Twitter. Ruby is extremely active on social media and her strong presence and passion as a CEO in a male-oriented industry has gained much interest.
It seems that having an upfront, commanding, knowledgeable CEO (male or female) at the helm of your businesses social media marketing efforts can have a massive impact on the success of your businesses social media results.
As you can see from the findings table, the other 3 companies who are indicated as ‘engaging’ (showing a clear increase in replies, retweets and conversations over the last few months – a balance between broadcasting and sharing news and replying to follower mentions) on Twitter are BAM Construct UK, Kier Group and Laing O’Rourke. In our analysis, we found 87% of construction companies had a company profile page on LinkedIn (exceptions being Keller and Interserve). In fact there is roughly the same number (90%) of top construction companies using the platform now as there were in 2010 (87%).
Strong profiles such as Nicholas’s and that of Ruby McGregor-Smith on Twitter suggest that these CEOs are ‘leading from the front’ in terms of Social Media and PR, a tactic often seen amongst the biggest UK consumer brands (eg.
Companies such as Kier Group, Galliford Try, Keller Group Plc and Wates have a ‘presence’ but do not possess a formal business page and therefore no opportunities to engage with their audience. Businesses receive complaints and bad press (either internally or, because of the rise of social media, online) at one time or another (no business is perfect) but how these are managed publicly on social platforms will determine how devastating these complaints will prove to your brand. The longevity of the value of Google+ will become more apparent over the next year or so, however it is good to see some construction companies like BAM Construct UK, MITIE, Balfour Beatty, ISG and Interserve remaining ahead of the curve and attempting to build their brand presence across the internet on current social sites. Providing the popularity of Google+ grows and adapts to user trends over time, the desire and willingness of social media users to interact with companies in this way will also grow.
Out of the top construction companies we reviewed, 55% have links to their social platform accounts on their company websites, a fairly notable rise on previous years. Some of the companies offer no opportunities on their website to engage with their social profiles and, in some cases this may well be because the company are not active on the sites eg. Mitie have well-placed social media buttons that take the user straight through to a well utilised and designed page on LinkedIn. Despite MITIE’s slightly confusing approach to Facebook marketing, their embrace of all things social media is highlighted on their website where they openly discuss their social media objectives and policy.

95% (all bar one) of the companies we reviewed have the capability to measure their online efforts via the use of analytics. The same mistakes are being made in many areas and it is difficult to believe that many of the companies are reaping any measurable results from their social media activity. A lack of opportunity for the social media user to engage with some the companies or benefit from any high-value material or interaction that might aid their decision-making process is apparent. The results of our research into how the top UK construction companies are using social media marketing platforms has produced some mixed results. It is difficult to establish good cause as to why some companies are yet to engage in social media (a lack of dedicated marketing departments and commitment from strategic decision makers perhaps), however it is important that those companies make a decision on whether they choose to use social media or not.
Some of the top construction companies have clearly grown without the need for social media and it would be remiss to believe that social media marketing is a marketing ‘Silver Buillet’.
In fact, some of those companies are already reaping the benefits of a good strategy implemented and developed from 2 years ago, so the trend should already be clear to see. Remember, social media is not just a lead generation and brand exposure tool; it can assist you with a number of business objectives within and outside of marketing too and it can dramatically lower overhead costs and simplify processes. By using social media to recruit individuals you effectively have access to a free, high-traffic advertising board that highlights to the general public and your target audiences that you are experiencing growth and how you are investing in your human resources in order to provide better products and services. Almost all of the top construction companies have recognised the need for measuring their online marketing efforts – that is clear from the presence of analytics on their sites. The implementation of a social media time management plan can ease the fear that you could be wasting time and other resources on a badly managed social media strategy. How you divide up your social media activities will dictate the length of time it takes to complete your daily social plan, what types of updates and content you post, when you post and ultimately, the effectiveness of the outcome. The issues relating to poor social media take-up in the top companies, on the whole, are likely to reflect much of what was suggested in 2011; primarily a “lack of education and support from the exec team who fail to take any notice of it, fear of the transparency of social media, lack of resources or being overwhelmed at the number of available networks and platforms”. InSites concluded that while many companies have created accounts as a social media tactic, most have not strategically integrated social media into their business processes. The researchers found that companies from the financial and health industry are lagging and technology, telco and media firms are ahead. The most popular social network among business-to-consumer companies was Facebook, while business-to-business companies were more focused on LinkedIn. Barriers to more complete integration cited by the marketers included a lack of support from top management (39%), a lack of fit of social media with their product offering (42%) and the thought that social media integration offers no clear financial return (48%). Attend Marketing Land's SocialPro conference and learn fresh new strategies and tactics from some of the savviest brands and digital marketing agencies managing earned, owned and paid social media marketing campaigns across multiple platforms. Shift Learning works with some of the world’s leading educational, academic and medical publishers including BBC Active, Bloomsbury, Cambridge University Press, Cengage, Elsevier, Espresso Education, HarperCollins, Hodder Education, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Sage and Wiley-Blackwell. It is this content which will attract the visitors to your website using the leverage of social media platforms. Your blog will be the living soul of your social media content and therefore it is important to monitor and measure how well your blog is performing over time. There are many construction companies already using social networking sites to promote their brand and increase exposure. Since social media has become mainstream, smaller companies now have access to the same channels as larger companies. Although there is inconsistency between the two pieces of data (it is not immediately clear why), in terms of who ranked where, the two pieces of data combined comprise around twenty companies.
Where there had been attempts to talk to customers, this had been promotion rather than value-led, something that is now thought to be a cardinal sin in social media. In 2013, all but one of the companies were found to have a Twitter account, showing an encouraging trend toward companies embracing the Twitter network. Since 2010, tweeting amongst the top construction companies has increased from 20% to 90% of companies by 2014.
They manage to achieve a very reasonable amount of likes, comments and levels of engagement on their posts, more than any of the other top construction companies. We would advise construction companies to ensure they are active on Google+, to begin measuring the outcome of their efforts using analytics and to keep tabs on the value of the site over the coming year. It would be easy to make the assumption via the longitudinal results (over the past few years) that very few of the companies are using analytics to it’s greatest potential.
It can certainly be said that companies are responding to the move to integrate their marketing approaches. However, whilst some are executing fantastic online strategies compared to 2010 and 2011, others are yet to make a convincing move into the social media space.

In 2014, having a half-completed, out-dated profile or posting poorly-thought-through social media content is more detrimental than having no presence at all. The companies executing the best social media strategies are pro-active and not re-active in their approach to their social construction marketing. Simply having a social media plan in place can provide you with the basis (and the peace of mind) to expand your marketing efforts and bring your company to the bleeding edge of business online.
It’s interesting to see how contractors have embraced social media in last two years.
Integrating social media fully can have positive effects both for customer satisfaction and financial results, according to InSites.
Social media has been around for several years but has only just hit the mainstream over the last couple of years. Social media marketing is a way of leveraging online tools to achieve set objectives and goals, such as raising brand awareness and increasing lead generation.
Many B2B businesses develop social media marketing strategies just to increase brand awareness and increase traffic to the main website. Well, we have already talked about the fact that it brings visitors to your website from other social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube. For instance, construction companies can write about legislation or building regulations which impact your prospects or customers. Ten years ago smaller companies did not have large advertising budgets enabling TV advertising.
Remember, social media is always about trust; asking your customers to buy from you is a futile exercise if you haven’t clearly demonstrated value to them, as well as a high level of expertise and credibility in your sector.
The social media landscape can be an overwhelming place and oftentimes efforts become diluted in one or more areas. In order for construction companies to benefit from the value that Twitter offers for the industry, we hope to see a considerable rise in this figure over the coming years. Groups can assist you with your research- you can survey your community to inform your social media strategy and you can pose questions and respond to group members on areas in which your business specialises. It appears that analytics has remained a priority for these companies as similar results were found in 2011 when all websites were found to have Google Analytics code installed. Having clearly defined goals will give you a lot more clarity about your daily use of the social sites and how these can be linked with your website and other marketing tactics – there is a great post on Creating a social media strategy for B2B audiences by Rene Power on the SmartInsights blog. Blogging is by far the most valuable of any social media strategy but also takes some actual effort.
However, the survey of 400 senior marketing managers conducted by InSites Consulting found that 69% of companies did have Facebook pages, 57% have Twitter accounts and 48% have a company page on LinkedIn. Generally speaking, companies that provide services, rather than products, are more likely to use social networks, but product companies use YouTube in larger numbers.
She's a former managing editor of ClickZ, and worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing.
A trend that is repeated in our research this year is the number of companies not opting to set up an official Facebook page but instead opting for a Wikipedia ‘holding page’. Obviously, you will need to benchmark where you are today before starting on your social media adventure. Now using low-cost inbound marketing techniques and social media in particular, smaller companies are establishing themselves with a wider audience and engaging with their prospects and customers more easily and effectively. One thing that is apparent is that social media is here to stay and those that fail to adopt now will feel the consequences later. This requires assistance from other areas of the business so it is vitally important that your social media strategy involves as many departments as possible. Compared to other forms of marketing, social media marketing allows you to have one-on-one discussions, group discussions and as a result engage with others who actually want to hear what you have to say. The internet, websites, search engines and social media channels play a huge part in how construction companies and building product retailers will carry out their marketing in the future.

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