How are the Top Contractors using Twitter in 2018?

Based on our popular research back in 2015 on the top contractors use of social media, our recent blog post re-evaluated how Instagram usage and tactics have changed in the last three years.

This week, we’ll be looking into how a range of contractors are now using the ever-popular social platform, Twitter.

Has their social presence and behaviour changed since 2015, and ultimately, does Twitter still reign champion for one of the most popular platforms?

As part of an up-to-date review, the following questions will be answered:

  • How are contractors using Twitter?
  • Have engagement tactics improved?
  • What significant changes in behaviour have taken place?
  • What can we learn as construction marketers?

Comparison Overview

Let’s start with the stats…

While a high percentage of contractors had a presence on Twitter and were tweeting back in 2015 (88%), three years later and ALL of the same companies reviewed are now regular Twitter users. What is more, while 71% were engaging with their audience back in 2015, 88% are now finding ways to interact with their followers.

It’s great to see that four of the main contractors, BAM Nuttall, Keller Group, MACE Ltd and VINCI, who demonstrated little engagement back in 2015, are now showcasing stringent tactics for encouraging conversations around their brand.

You can view the summary of results in our table below, which demonstrates the key behavioural changes over the three years (as highlighted in green).

FYI – we measure ‘Engagement’ as the ration of outgoing to ingoing tweets, mentions and comments.

Key activity changes since 2015 analysis

The most considerable change since 2015 is the way in which contractors are now choosing to ‘engage’ with followers. Rather than posting direct comments to a single person, there seems to be a heavier reliance on mentions from other Twitter accounts that are then retweeted, with a ‘comment’ added for further reach. Similarly, a lot of contractors are simply ‘liking’ or retweeting any direct tweets they were receiving rather than responding with a comment.

While this can be an effective and let’s face it, quicker way to respond and enhance your brand presence, it would be great to see this mixed in with more direct, personalised comments to further ‘humanise’  your brand.

The second noticeable change was the shift away from responding to negative comments online; out of all construction companies analysed, not one of them had managed to respond to any negative comments. This can be tricky business – and one that can feel easier to avoid altogether. For further advice on how to manage negative comments effectively, view our blog post here.

Time to focus on the positives! (There’s plenty of them!)

All in all –  we did find that the top contractors are now using a fantastic range of tactics to engage their audience across Twitter; here’s a little summary of how Twitter is being used to establish brand presence and enhance their reputation:

  1. To display the completion of large projects through quality photography & video clips
  2. To showcase their expertise as the ‘go-to’ company by sharing ‘mentions’ from other posts
  3. To demonstrate their passion and involvement for shaping the future of construction
  4. To highlight & incentivise job opportunities 
  5. To showcase attendance & involvement with the latest construction events and awards
  6. To respond to Twitter followers who have specific project queries
  7. To ‘humanise’ their brand by building a sense of community 
  8. To support current marketings campaigns through the implementation of hashtags

Top Examples of Contractors using Twitter

We’ve handpicked a few great examples from the top contractors’ Twitter accounts, to demonstrate how they approach their day-to-day activity…

  1. The Future of Construction:

Balfour Beatty are passionate about helping students build the right skills for the construction sector; they post regular updates on creative workshops and apprenticeship schemes, using relevant hashtags and enticing imagery.

 

A particular favourite of ours – we love how BAM Nuttall have incorporated the buzz around #WorldPoetryDay to promote recruitment opportunities for Engineers – a refreshing change that stands out from more generic tweets!

Willmott Dixon have shown their support for the campaign around ‘Women in Construction’, and have taken the time to personally respond to a satisfied visitor! This makes a fundamental difference to a brands reputation and helps to establish key relationships with your audience.

On behalf of International Women’s Day, BAM Nuttall are using the hashtag campaign #PressforProgress to show the importance of closing the gender gap. From all of these examples, we can see the importance of being aware of industry-related issues going on and key dates to bear in mind to support your social strategy.

2. Awards

Awards are important across the construction industry to gain recognition for your project work and allow your voice to be heard above the crowd; while Twitter shouldn’t be used solely for self-promotion, these tweets do tend to drive engagement as other construction professionals show their support for one another. Just bear in mind to congratulate others too rather than talking about your own success! 

3. Project completion updates

In order to effectively utilise this social media tactic, sourcing high quality photography and video content is crucial to prompt an action from your followers; if used in the right way using stand-out images, this can be the most popular and successful way to drive conversions, by encouraging contact enquiries or product information. Laing O’Rourke have also taken the time to directedly respond to RSHP Architects- it’s all about cementing these key relationships to encourage further sharing of future projects.

 

4. Promoting site tours

Twitter is a great way of demonstrating that all-important ‘added value’ to your target audience. To encourage further mentions across social media, promoting site tours and demonstrating their effectiveness is a great way of keeping followers up-to-date with business activities and upcoming dates.

5. Personality-led posts

BAM Construct and BAM Nuttall have done a great job of showing recognition for their Twitter followers by incorporating a simple branded image to demonstrate the numbers they’ve reached over Twitter. Similarly, they’ve worked hard to steer away from self-promotion and have covered important everyday topics surrounding the health and wellbeing of their followers. A simple and effective way to create a memorable and approachable brand!

6. Directing conversations to the right place

If you are struggling with how to approach certain comments, it’s always best to respond politely but take the conversation away from Twitter. Skanska UK have used a ‘Private Message’ box in their responses to show that they’re willing to resolve the issue in a professional manner. This is a lot better than ignoring something you’d rather not respond to at all!

All in all, we’ve reviewed some great examples of how contractors are currently using Twitter to engage with their audiences, and it’s interesting to see how their presence on the platform has risen further since 2015! If you’re thinking of improving your own social media efforts across Twitter for your construction business, remember to:

  1. Engage with your audience on a personal level – show that you can do more than simply retweet somebody else’s social media efforts!
  2. Respond to all comments politely and direct the follower in the best direction for resolving their issue – consider a private message box or allocate these tweets to a team member who can best support their query. Silence is not always the best approach!
  3. Ensure your tweets aren’t just self-promotional; BAM‘s tweets cover a range of relatable topics that aren’t always promoting their services. Ultimately, they’ll be remembered long-term for their friendly, approachable nature.

For further  advice on enhancing your social media strategy, download our Essential Guide here, or give us a call on 01908 671707.

Melanie Wright

About Melanie Wright

Mel gets involved in all areas of marketing for our clients, helping to develop effective social media strategies, email campaigns, SEO implementation and the creation of website reports to analyse the effectiveness of different marketing tactics. Mel has completed a Certificate in Professional Marketing (Digital Marketing) and is continuously looking for ways to learn, develop and grow.

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