How to make social media work for you
Struggling to make social media work for your business? Three highly effective built environment influencers share their secrets.
4 APR 2019
The B1M is a YouTube channel focused on sharing “the best of construction”, with the aim of helping the industry raise its game and attract new talent. It is now the world’s largest video channel for construction, with more than seven million views per month. We speak to co-founder and director Fred Mills.
My original career path was in design management, starting at Willmott Dixon, and then later at Osborne. I was at a barbecue and someone asked: “What do you do, Fred?”. When I said I worked in construction, they replied: “You’re quite broad shouldered, you must be good at laying bricks.” It struck me that, if that’s the way the world sees the industry, how are we going to attract the best new talent?
We need to change perceptions. Construction underpins how every other business operates on this planet. For example, in the context of climate change, cement manufacture accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions. If we addressed that, we could make a huge difference. We don’t want the best talent to go into law or banking, we need them to come and shape the world we live in.
Construction underpins how every other business operates on this planet. For example, in the context of climate change, cement manufacture accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions. If we addressed that, we could make a huge difference. We don’t want the best talent to go into law or banking, we need them to come and shape the world we live in.
Co-founder and director, The B1M
Typically, we’ll produce content both in the UK and internationally, whether in California, Nevada or Australia.
I also have a lot of meetings with commercial partners and do a lot of industry speaking, again both in the UK and globally. It’s like a 100mph train.
People message us saying “do this”, which is great. We have an editorial team who always have their ear to the ground, and we’ve built relationships, so are in with people before stories come out.
We’re also privileged as we get to speak to lots of different people in the industry, whereas some organisations will only talk to people that they are working with, or in their immediate sphere.
The one we did on Norway’s $47bn coastal highway achieved 2.5 million views in six days, and was mentioned by the Norwegian foreign minister in parliament.
The videos with over a million views – the world’s most remote buildings, hyperloop explained, New York’s Billionaire’s Row – are those that capture the imagination.
It’s hard. The stuff we do with technology is one thing, but getting the right people to make it work is crucial. Since going full-time on The B1M by myself, we’ve brought in seven others doing specific roles. We’ve got a really good team now.
Before that we had our fair share of churn, but you have to make tough decisions and move on. That’s the most difficult part I’ve found of running a business, aside from the accounting and the rest of it. Letting people go is the worst.
We live in an age where you can broadcast about anything – but people want more substantive, useful information and social value. There is a huge opportunity to use today’s media to share the message about what the industry really is. It’s robots, drones, AR, hyperloop, smart cities, creating infrastructure that transforms lives. It’s so much more than men in white vans laying bricks in the rain.
This article originally appeared in the Good Issue of Modus (April 2019).