Read our 2015 update of this post here.
One of the top questions when embarking on a social media marketing strategy is “Where are my prospects and customers hanging out?”. I originally wanted to focus on very niche markets, pick a handful of companies and analyse their profiles in order to then report on how they are embracing and utilising social media channels to enhance brand perception, improve customer service, educate and engage with the rest of the construction market.
I then found a very useful bit of data ‘Top 100 construction companies 2009’ published on The Construction Index website. What a great idea to analyse their presence on social media channels I thought! After all, these companies have turnover that runs into millions and in some cases billions so it would be worthwhile to check out how they are approaching and embracing social media as part of their marketing mix.
Firstly, I didn’t analyse all 100 construction companies, I just picked the top 15 (It would take too long to do all 100) and viewed their profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I also then went on to study their websites to see if they had social media links on their homepages, analytics installed (as you know I love analytics) and finally an RSS feed or e-mail feed.
Twitter – Do they have a presence? Are they Tweeting? Are they engaging? I based engagement on the ratio of outgoing tweets to incoming (mentions) tweets.
LinkedIn – Do they have a company profile? Have they setup any groups?
Facebook – Do they have a fan/like page? How many fans/likes do they have?
Website Links – Do the websites have clear visible links to their social media profiles?
Analytics – Do they have the ability to measure the success of their marketing intiatives and their social media activities?
Outbound Feeds – Do they include RSS or E-Mail feeds for people to subscribe to?
Findings (presented in table at the end):
7 out of 15 top construction companies are on Twitter
3 out of the 7 on Twitter are actually Tweeting
None of the top 15 construction companies are engaging with followers
12 out of 15 top construction companies have a LinkedIn company page
6 out of the 12 on LinkedIn have set up groups to join
14 out of 15 top construction companies have a presence on Facebook
3 out of the 14 on Facebook have more than 10 fans/like.
2 out of 15 companies have placed links on their company websites to a social media profile
1 out of the top construction 15 companies has no presence on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook (not that I could find anyway)
Out of the top 15 construction companies based on turnover in 2009 only 7 are present on Twitter, of which 4 have of those companies have only registered the Twitter ID and nothing more. The other 3 companies (Amey UK, Skanska UK and Mitie) are using Twitter to only broadcast news and cannot see any form of engagement with their followers. An example is the recent tweet by Skanska UK informing followers that they came 2nd in the Sunday Times Best Green Companies 2010 awards. I replied back to the tweet asking if they knew when the results would be published to which I got no reply. It is important to note that Bovis Lend Lease are using Twitter for internal communications only and have protected their tweets which shows another way of using Twitter for communications. Sometimes, it is best to get communications correct on the inside before targeting the outside. It also gives all employees a chance to get used to the Twitter platform and work their way around should they ever utilise Twitter for inbound marketing.
Bottom line, none of the top 15 construction companies are using Twitter to engage (creating conversations) with their followers. Merely using it to broadcast news.
Moving onto LinkedIn I found that out of the top 15 construction companies, 12 had a company profile page of which 6 had gone onto creating sub-groups for employees and other networks to join. Balfour Beatty has the highest number of groups and have created individual groups based on individual interests and business sectors which I find very encouraging.
Bottom line, LinkedIn seems to be where all the top construction companies are putting most of their activity. I just think with a little bit more creativity they could create more groups to engage with more professionals, gather customer or project feedback, service development and create discussions on industry topics.
As for Facebook, 14 out of 15 companies have a Facebook fan/like page. Laing O Rourke have the highest number of fans/likes (44). The downside to all the companies Facebook Fan/Like pages is that there is nothing more than a company profile from Wikipedia. Where are the videos? Links to case studies? The photo’s of recent projects? News stories of projects won? What about some environmental stories/topics to show their GREEN credentials? In the case of Laing O Rourke, they seem to be doing nothing to those 44 fans who like their company. It seems as though the top 15 construction companies have just created a Facebook fan/like page and again do nothing more with it and providing anything of value to its community.
Bottom line, Facebook just seems like a ‘do it and forget about it’ type activity. They have failed to realise that Facebook is a useful tool to publish less-informal news, videos and topics which may not be appropriate for the main website. C’mon….build some personality into your brands!
We move onto their websites. Out of the top 15 construction companies in 2009, only 2 companies have links on their homepage to their social media profiles. Amey UK have a tiny Twitter icon on their homepage but what about the links to their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles? Skanska does not have any icons or links to their Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn pages yet they are using Twitter for broadcasting so why not encourage more followings on Twitter for latest news and jobs? The one company which stood out for me was Mitie. They have links on their homepage to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and also include an RSS button and they are BIG icons too.Happy Days. I then clicked on the Facebook icon on the Mitie homepage and I was taken to a Facebook page for employees only! Darn, just when it was getting good. I then went onto find discussions taking place on their Facebook page. The discussions were about problems employees were having with their wages, payments and tax being too high. I mean c’mon. Where is your social media policy guys? If I was looking at a vacancy at Mitie I would think again about applying….I might not get paid. The question here is where is the moderator?
Bottom line, the issue here is ‘integration’. It comes across like each social media platform is treated like its own individual campaign. They show no signs of integrating Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with their main business website. No moderation is taking place and I just hope these companies have a reputation management strategy in place. Doubt it. The consistency of messages across all platforms needs to build the personality of the brand. These companies turnover billions! A little personality wouldn’t go a miss…..would it?
Moving onto my favourite topic, Analytics. 11 out of 15 companies have Google Analytics installed on their site which I find encouraging but the question is whether they are actually using it to make a) better business decisions and b) better marketing decisions. Surprisingly, I could not find the Google Analytics script on the Skanska site which indicates that the performance of their website and understanding how people find them is not important to them. I suppose a big brand like Skanska are already well known within the construction industry but I personally would want to know how I can best serve visitors to my website right?
Outbound Feeds Analysis:
7 out of the top 15 construction companies (Carillion, Morgan Sindall, Kier, Sir Robert McAlpine, Interserve, Amey UK and Mitie) have an RSS feed on their website for the latest news published by each company. I was also surprised to find most of them have an option to subscribe to the latest news about the company, what I would like to know is what value over and above what news is already published on their websites are the subscribers receiving. I might just go and subscribe to a few.
So to summarise, it is encouraging to see that the top 15 construction companies are making an effort and progressing with social media. I personally think that the brands could just do a little more and go a little further by engaging with a wider, younger and innovative audience through the use of Facebook and Twitter and adding value for their online communities. Current state seems like ‘we must do it because everyone else is doing it’ type attitude with very little strategy implementation or integration with other business objectives. Simple rules have been missed such as the implementation of social media policies in the case of Mitie and their Facebook discussions. The moderation of these channels seems non-existent. These are all big companies and they all talk about CSR policies, brand characteristics, how they give back to the community, how green they are and how they look after their people. Erm…..come on then…..show me!
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on why engagement might be a problem for some of these companies and why they don’t seem to be marketing-led. Is it a fear of social media? Change? Adapting to new technologies in which case is it to do with education? Do they realise that it is not a ‘set and forget’ type activity? Social media is a process, a strategy and it has objectives. Are you seeing any value here?
Here is a table showing the full analysis:
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