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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Social networking and construction marketing

Partial results from our survey on the use of social networking sites for the construction industry. If you wish to participate, just click on the image or this link. You'll be able to review the results of the survey overall once you complete it. Your identity will be anonymous unless you wish to share it.

How effective are the new "social networking" technologies including Facebook, Twitter and for construction industry marketing? And how can you use these resources most effectively.

I've decided to look closely into these matters for an article I'm writing for the Design and Construction Report, a publication born out of the social networking phenomena. The Design and Construction Network, started as a group last winter, now has more than 2,500 members and several local chapters -- and is growing rapidly.

But are people getting business from the initiative. And is the network degrading into a list of "selling" offers, with everyone just pitching their own product or service without much if any effect?

Yesterday, in addition to phone interviews with several people (yes, it was Thanksgiving in Canada, but also a regular business day in the U.S.), I distributed an online survey to about 5,000 people. The results from the 44 who have completed the survey so far are interesting. They show that a little less than 12 per cent have gained business from the new technologies, with being the most relevant and useful for businesses.

Notably, some early adaptors, people who have used these technologies from the outset as individuals, say their businesses have "bans" on their use within the office. However, a few have embraced them, and they say they are measuring real value in the process.

My perception, shared by others, is that the social networking operates on the same rules as conventional networking. If you focus on what you "want" rather than what you can share and give, you will fail. If you focus on how to provide real value to others within the network without worrying about your own needs, the principal of reciprocity ultimately results in return business and favours. In other words, you gain the most by giving the most without regard for immediate return..

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