29. May 2009 17:00
I had a chat today with Elaine Knutt, editor of Construction Manager magazine. She's researching an article on the use of social media (Twitter, Linked In, blogs, online discussion forums etc) in the construction sector.
Elaine has just joined Twitter (you'll find her at @CMElaine), and she was looking for advice. So here's what I sent her - my 10 Twitter Tips for anyone who is new to any of this:
- Follow the Twitter rules of etiquette
- Put up a photo on your profile so we can see who we’re listening to.
- Use the ‘Search’ facility to find people who are tweeting about topics that interest you.
- Find a few people to follow who you think have something interesting to offer (not celebrities though!) and ask for their tips on how to make it work for you, who else you should follow and why.
- Listen sensitively to what people are saying about your business sector. You will gain useful insights.
- In fact, listen more than you tweet. But don’t stay silent for too long, otherwise people will get bored and stop following you.
- Never think of Twitter and social media in terms of ‘getting a higher profile’ or blatant advertising for your company. Always think of Twitter in terms of sharing something of value. Give, and you shall receive.
- Only retweet (RT) someone else’s update if you think it’s great and worth sharing with your followers. If it contains a link to something on the Internet, make sure you’ve read what you’re retweeting!
- Keep genuinely personal stuff private. We do not want to know you've had a row with your partner. Do not tweet while drunk.
- AND THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: All the best communications happen face-to-face. So use Twitter (and all social media) to help develop business relationships offline.
July 09 POSTSCRIPT: Here is the article in Construction Manager about social networking in construction featuring, among others:
10. May 2009 09:30
If you have been interested in my previous blog posts on environmental claims in business and the best ways to avoid greenwash, you might be interested to hear that Defra, the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the ISBA (another advertisers' body) are hosting a series of free workshops this month to get input into their planned revisions for the Green Claims Code (last revised in 2003).
Unfortunately, there is not a workshop dedicated purely to property or construction (a serious oversight IMHO, given the huge surge in interest in low and zero carbon buildings and communities, ecotowns and all things 'sustainable').
But the event in London next week (15 May) will cover utilities, energy and energy-using appliances, construction and industrial and... er, furniture.
The workshops are aimed at:
"getting businesses to contribute to the new green claims guidance which will help businesses understand how to make truthful and transparent claims about the environmental credentials of their products."
The events will apparently cover all aspects of advertising and marketing communications.
Defra's press notice on this came out just days before the first workshop, so I hope they still manage to get a reasonable turnout. I can't be at the event next week, but if you can I'd be fascinated to hear how it goes. The 15 May workshop will be at Wallacespace St Pancras, 22 Dukes Road, WC1H 9PN. Registration and breakfast at 8.30am. To request a place, email email@example.com.
9. May 2009 12:13
I was delighted to hear the other day that Graham Norwood has published a new book - the well-timed title 'The Housing Downturn: Picking up the Pieces'.
It sounds like it's full of useful stuff:
- The first book to analyse the effects of the housing downturn
- Comment from a range of senior industry figures on what they believe led to the downturn
- Structured guidance for estate agents and property developers on how to survive and grow their business.
Graham is a well-known and highly respected property journalist, author of several books, and a regular contributor to The Observer, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, FT and an equally impressive list of foreign papers and property industry journals. He has kindly covered a host of stories for our clients over the years, and has been a thoroughly nice person to work with to boot!
Graham also has an unique insight into the property world, so I have great pleasure in publishing this guest blog and helping to promote his book. My copy's on order. I hope yours will be too!
From Graham Norwood
9 May 2009
There are looks of deep concern on the faces of estate agents and developers all over the country. They've had an extraordinarily bad time with no sure end in sight.
But talk with them - as I do all the time, as a property journalist - and sooner or later a smile will appear.
The reason is this. The housing market’s runaway train, with its prices soaring from 1993 until 2007, has finally stopped. But it was not down to the estate agents.
A few tabloids and their readers may still think agents and developers are the devil incarnate. But most of the country – no, make that the world – blame the banks and not the property industry for the slump in house prices and the broader economic malaise gripping the globe.
But surely there is something that the property industry can learn from what has happened? Well yes, there’s plenty to learn, and that is why I have written a book setting out how many agents and developers fell by the wayside in the downturn following late 2007.
Did these agents and developers have to fall? Were they as well prepared as they could have been, ahead of what was an inevitable downturn? Of those agents and developers who struggled through the slump, are there lessons they could teach the rest of us regarding their business models, their attitudes and their skills?
I think so, because it would surely be a mistake to simply wait for an upturn and assume all will then revert to the same world that we inhabited in the decade to 2007.
My book does not pretend to have complete answers but is perhaps most useful in raising questions, the classic role of the journalist during the ages.
Luckily I have been able to speak with most of the country’s leading developers and agents, and draw on some international examples. I come up with some suggestions about how the residential industry in the UK can move forward to avoid reinventing the wheel – and tripping over it when the next downturn comes.
Will you agree with my conclusions? Possibly not. But now is the time for all of us to think how we can move forward from now.
Click here to see 'The Housing Downturn: Picking up the Pieces' on Amazon.