60% of respondents feel that social media is not being used appropriately by the construction industry

I recently stumbled across a report [link at bottom] called “Inspiring the next generation” which had just been published by the Construction Industry Council following a survey they conducted earlier this year to find out if people are satisfied with working in the industry and what inspired them. They gathered views in four key areas:

  1. Attitude to the industry
  2. Progress on Sustainability
  3. Social Media
  4. Innovation

Over 700 people took part in the survey representing a good cross section of professions including FM’s, academia and sales and marketing.

Key Highlights:

  • Attitudes – only 33% are inspired by the achievements of their organisation on diversity; adoption of flexible working practices would ensure the industry continues to appeal to both genders up the career ladder. There is a desire for more extensive collaboration between disciplines in the construction process.
  • Sustainability – not enough is being done to improve environmental sustainability and further progress is needed around water and biodiversity. Reuse and refit of existing buildings is seen as important.
  • Social media – use of social media could be better and could help with some of the key communication challenges for industry.
  • Innovation – materials, ICT and prefabrication provide scope for further innovation. BIM is seen as an important tool for further innovation but not the only domain.

Social Media Drew Significant Differences in Opinion

As expected, the subject of social media drew lots of differing opinions in usage. More than half (60%) of respondents said that social media is not being used appropriately by the industry. Over half the industry also said that social media could help improve the image of construction industry.

Here are couple of negative opinions provided by respondents on social media usage:

“Social media is largely trivialising. I’m not sure that it helps with an issue like this [inspiring next generation].”
“I don’t think it’s relevant or to be encouraged in a work environment. It is highly unregulated, unmanageable and a potentially serious risk to reputation….being bombarded with information, most of which is not relevant to you personally, is one of the pitfalls and drawbacks of modern communication systems. No one even gets email training, let along social media training so it is ripe for misuse and abuse”.

What if you were a marketer and this was your boss or MD? Ya, scary eh?

Love this quote which comes to mind….

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about”

[blockquote type=”testimonial” author=”Wayne Dyer” role=”Author” image=”http://priteshpatel.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Wayne-Dyer.jpg”]

There’s loads of training opportunities for social media and email marketing – this is what tells me that the person who gave this opinion is ignorant.

Those that use it regularly and use it in such a way that helps them learn, work better and collaborate with like minded people all around the world will only say positive things about it.

Here is a super post backing this up by @caseyruland (Associate Director @Arup) who writes about Construction Culture and Social Networks.

Casey says: Allowing your staff to (responsibly) express opinions whether professionally or socially can extend the depth of trust current and potential clients have in your company.  Whether it’s via photographs on Instagram, shared on Twitter, G+ and Facebook or blog posts on a personal site announced via your professional LinkedIn account, we can all choose how we share knowledge and experiences and filter those we want to share with family and or our work peers.”

Key things to note here is ‘trust’ and ‘culture’. Without these, it’s no wonder that social media has such differing opinion.

Question to ask yourself is, does the place where you work, trust you and does it have a culture of sharing, teaching and learning?

Those who are ignorant will obviously dismiss it. Right? Without actually learning how to use it?

Anyway, now let’s see some positive comments:

“The public are fascinated by construction. We need more videos and photos ‘behind the hoarding’. There could be YouTube videos of projects showing how things are done, and why things are done in certain ways.
Photos of sites, images, progress, project Facebook pages where ‘boots on the ground’ can upload their photos.
Sites could have videos on the internet showing what the project will achieve, how it will be done etc. It is great for stakeholder involvement, manages their expectations and gets them excited about how the project will benefit them.”

You only have to talk a look at the recently launched Born to Build campaign to see this: Born to Build.


Why Do People Leave the Industry?

It’s interesting to note that the survey also touches on why people leave the industry.

I’ve seen far too many marketers leave the industry because they have bosses like the person above who spoke negatively about social media.

reasons why people leave the construction industry

Pay is always going to come up trumps in my opinion – but graduate engineer starting salaries aren’t that bad. They start at somewhere around £25k I believe and the opportunities are massive.

So, what are your thoughts? How could the industry improve it’s image? There are lots of campaigns around using social media but are they falling on deaf ears? Where are the leaders to carry on this message? Who are the leaders?

Oh so many questions…..

[button link=”http://cic.org.uk/news/article.php?s=2014-10-28-cic-2050-group-publishes-the-results-of-its-national-online-survey”]Download the Results of the Survey Here[/button]

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