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Who's the twit?

Who’s the twit?

There have been two examples of the growing power of online social media this week. One involves a captain’s armband, and the other a packed basement in EC1.

The former is the one you’ve heard from the front and back pages - John Terry thwarted in his attempt to impose a super-injunction on all press about his alleged infidelities by the judge having already seen the dirt on Twitter. Lord Justice Fry ruled he couldn’t hush something up that was already in the public domain. The rest is (rather tawdry) history.

The basement was the venue for Construction News’ Social Media Day, which was a pageant of novelty and learning, served up with a dollop of return on investment.

The event rather successfully captured the zeitgeist, and the interest of a much wider group than those in the room, with hundreds of tweets for the day from a bunch at least ten times the size of the attendees. One presenter’s slides were viewed 800 times on slideshare by people not at the event.

This vicarious participation is not as good as being there. It’s a bit like watching the news on TV from behind a pillar in the pub with the sound turned off. But still, better than missing out altogether.

What it shows is that online social media are being used in the construction sector, and that they offer a great communication opportunity.

How can you exploit them? Well, you should have been there to find out. Luckily twitterqueen Su Butcher has
blogged the day, and provided links to the presentations. One of them even has sound. Watch them all and you’ll have some idea.

To help you though, I’ll give you the results of my ‘word bingo’ for the day.

In third place was ‘relationships’. Our Great Industry is about people. People have relationships. You can use online social media to start or deepen relationships.

In second, ‘conversation’: all online social media is a conversation, not a broadcast. Listening and responding is really important if you want to build stronger relationships. Imagine how many friends you’d lose if your conversations were only ever one way.

Leading the bingo was ‘engagement’. It’s the key really. It means your conversation has to be interesting in order to enhance your relationships.

And where’s the return? Well, we heard about  six figure contract won from a relationship created on twitter, an unemployed architect now making a living winning work by blogging, and more besides.

So that’s it. Success on social media platforms is about making interesting conversation. Oh yes, and it helps if you don’t cop off with your workmate’s girlfriend. Allegedly.

Ross Sturley is Principal of strategic marketing consultancyChart Lane, and a committee member forCIMCIG(the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Interest Group), who have agreat eventnext week for anyone interested in the Housing Sector, which the CPA and others are forecasting is going to grow. Hurrah!