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4 2月 2019

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.

Keep it relevant

Twitter and Instagram are now natural extensions of my working life. Twitter is such a great platform for meeting people in the industry, and for me in particular, to discover other women in the profession – I based my dissertation on raising the profile of women in construction. 

I find Twitter particularly useful for “pre”-networking events: doing the groundwork before you meet people face to face. I once attended an event in Bristol and it turned out I already knew more of the people there than my boss, who actually lives in the city. So if you’re not really a keen networker, connecting with someone on Twitter can be a comfortable way into making a new business relationship.

Last year, I began using Instagram to show young people what a career in construction was like, but it’s also had the surprising side effect of helping me secure supply chain contacts. I guess if people can see the projects you’re working on, it makes you more accessible to new tender enquiries.

Try not to post anything that you don’t think is relevant – it doesn’t matter if this means waiting for a while until something interesting comes up. People like a curated, thought-provoking feed – a dull photo of you out for coffee with a client will be forgotten pretty quickly. There needs to be a reason for a post, tweet or blog.

Be human – I find scheduled, self-serving business tweets are much less engaging than those written by real people responding to contemporaneous events.

Paul Wilkinson
PR consultant

Tweet from events and meetings

We’ve come a long way from the time when people used to dismiss social media as “not work”. Nowadays, social media manager is a fairly common job title. 

Using social media goes hand in hand with good working practice, because however you use it in relation to work, it is all business development. Using Twitter is also much better for simple exchanges than email – I’ve reached the stage where Twitter is often the first point of contact between colleagues and friends. In fact, I’ve gained work opportunities thanks to the immediacy of the platform.

Commuters with mobile phones
If you’re not a keen networker, connecting on Twitter is a good way into new business relationships

I make a habit of tweeting from meetings, conferences and events. As there is usually a hashtag promoting the event, I find it much easier to use this to tweet the thoughts and points you like, rather than writing down notes that will probably just be forgotten in a drawer. This way, I, or others who are interested, can easily search the Twitter feed. It becomes a way of sharing perspectives on an event, speaker or topic in real time, often widening the conversation outside the event itself. 

The key though, is to tweet something informative and useful. Above all, be human – I find scheduled, self-serving business tweets are much less engaging than those written by real people responding to contemporaneous events.

  • Paul Wilkinson is director of UK-based built environment PR consultant pwcom.co.uk.

Focus on the trends, techniques and ideas that interest you, and what you think will pique the interest of your wider network.

Nicole Beauchamp
Engel & Völkers

Master multiple platforms

I find Twitter to be one of the most effective tools you can use to market your business. Following journalists in your real estate niche is very important. I’ve been approached for television interviews as a result of sharing opinions and content on the platform. Our communications manager was surprised when I told her – she found it encouraging that an employee was taking the initiative to raise the firm’s profile.

On Twitter, you never want to be in the position where your firm only tweets about the transactions you’re doing, first because many clients value discretion and may not appreciate it, but also because these kind of updates don’t grab people’s attention. Focus on the trends, techniques and ideas that interest you, and what you think will pique the interest of your wider network.

People also severely underutilise Linkedin – I count myself in that group, too. It’s really evolved as a platform, and is no longer just somewhere to show your CV. From an individual publishing perspective, you can develop your voice with interactive blog posts and videos, of which I try to create a few every week. I’ve had people contact me after viewing my posts, which has then led on to a real estate referral.

Along with my blog site, Twitter and Linkedin all work together to reinforce and raise my profile as an expert in the market.

  • Nicole Beauchamp is a global real estate adviser at Engel & Völkers in New York.

This article was originally published in Modus magazine (September 2018).