Construction’s social network: How to build a community online as well as on site

by | Jun 15, 2021

While software such as BIM and integrated product development might seem a steep learning curve for some in the construction industry, to a great extent most companies from the big contractors right down to the SMEs are already building in the digital space – especially on social media which is essentially a free and vast space.

The online world of social media and the myriad platforms, from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram to LinkedIn and Tik-Tok, can when taken together sometimes resemble the Wild West.

They also provide an important space for sharing, networking and even collaborating. John Sisk & Son, the biggest contractor in Ireland by turnover, is also one of the most polished sites on social media.

While the engineering and construction company doesn’t attract the same number of followers as Taylor Swift or Cristiano Ronaldo, who has more followers on Instagram than Brazil has people, Sisk does use its social media effectively to communicate about some of the projects it’s undertaking.

Recent updates from the company ranged from the next phase of a massive regeneration project in Blackpool, to tree planting with new apprentices in Co. Wicklow and a fundraiser BBQ by its team in Wembley Park to support ongoing efforts to tackle the Covid pandemic in India.

Given the turmoil of the past 18 months, companies big and small are also using social media to promote initiatives run by mental health charities. On its social media channels Duggan Brothers partnered with The Lighthouse Club, the UK and Ireland-based charity which provides emotional and financial support to all in construction.

Similarly, Bennett Construction organised a fundraising event for Darkness into Light for the charity Pieta House and collected €1,700. The event was neatly documented on their social media platforms. Attracting talent Social media also offers a highly effective platform for recruiting talent, given that those looking for work turn to the internet as their first port of call.

Because shareability is built into the infrastructure of social media, users also work to help spread news of job openings and widen the pot of applicants. Recent posts by Stewart Construction provided an update on the company’s work for Aldi Ireland. The Killarney store will be the Dublin-based company’s 79th Aldi store in Ireland.

Another great aspect of social media is the ability to share an array of media content which includes images, audio, videos, charts and even memes. Dublin-based Flynn used their social media account to showcase a short video of a completed project from Mayfair in the heart of London.

The project at 14 Hays Mews was on a partially-listed building which was completely refurbished into a modern commercial office, including extensive works undertaken to create a new rooftop terrace. The short clip video gave an inside view of what the project looked like upon completion.

Promoting diversity

Furthermore, social media is a powerful means to hear from an array of voices within the construction industry. When Colm Burke, managing director of Hyperscale Directors at Mercury, the engineering firm which operates across Europe, spoke at a virtual panel, social media was naturally the first place to spread the word – especially when teams of workers have been working remotely for so long during the pandemic.

Social media is the place we meet. Likewise the company shared a post on its Instagram account on an interesting, but perhaps underlooked topic, what it’s like to work through Ramadan from the perspective of two of its employees based in Europe.

Social media also offers companies a way to reach the builders of the future. Jones Engineering uses its social media accounts to promote its partnership with ESB Science Blast, the annual event with STEM learning for primary school students at its core.

And then there are accounts such as Cork Crane Count, a Twitter account that tracks construction developments in Cork by staying up-to-date on the number of cranes across the city.

Like all the best social media accounts it’s a little bit nerdy and has a legion of fans and followers who help the account stay current and relevant by sending in images and information.

It’s the kind of account that social media was built for.

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