Social media provides opportunities for companies to share their products and services like never before. The challenge that many construction industry firms have is how to leverage social media to benefit their businesses. While marketers and communication specialists are quick to jump on the social media bandwagon, weary construction company leaders question its effectiveness within an industry known to lag in technology.
To illustrate just how powerful social media can be for a construction industry firm, let’s look at a real-life example of a coordinated social media effort and the benefits realized through this team effort.
Find the opportunity
Just as your business makes decisions that affect your firm, choosing the right message and platforms to share that message are just as important. At Barton Malow Company, an opportunity arose with the construction of Severstal’s Pickle Line Tandem Cold Mill (PLTCM) and Hot Dip Coating Line (HDCL) in Dearborn, Mich. These two projects totaled over $200 million in construction and also featured many of Barton Malow’s capabilities including concrete, equipment installation and building information modeling (BIM) services.
The scale and relevance of the Severstal project provided Barton Malow with many possibilities to share information on the company’s various social media platforms. It also highlighted the resurgence of the manufacturing industry in Michigan after the economic meltdown. With the owner’s permission, Barton Malow team members began to develop a plan to fully leverage its social media presence and share the story of building for one of the largest steel manufacturers in the world.
To determine what needs to be talked about online, it’s important to set goals of what needs to be accomplished and how to meet those goals. In the case of Severstal, Barton Malow wanted to share the incredible amount of work and manpower that goes into building the most state-of-the-art steel mill in the world. This included showcasing the planning and coordination effort as well as the installation of more than 1,300 pieces of equipment into the processing facility, all of which took place in an extremely tight time frame.
Through effective teaming with the owner and other parties involved, Barton Malow also wanted to share the benefit of working together early to realize savings and schedule enhancements that benefit a well-run construction project. All of this could be accomplished via social media platforms and online engagement if done correctly. The Barton Malow team set these goals to determine its success:
- • Build a trust-based online relationship with Severstal where both firms would cross-promote each other throughout the project’s progress.
- • Effectively share the project’s progress to the industry and Barton Malow’s online following.
- • Recognize the comeback of the manufacturing industry in Michigan.
- • Realize a publishing opportunity about Barton Malow’s work at Severstal.
Build a plan
Upon outlining the goals for covering Severstal through Barton Malow’s social media platforms, Barton Malow team members worked closely to build a comprehensive communications plan. The project’s schedule with major milestones were shared to determine opportunities for photography, filming video and developing content to share on various social media platforms.
Barton Malow had established its social media presence in 2008 with platforms that included Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn. Given the complexity and scale of Severstal, Barton Malow team members developed content for each of the platforms as well as the company’s external newsletter and website.