Tuesday 18 October 2011

Web 2.0 for the Construction Industry

Today I attended the first of our two RIBA Insight Consultancy Day for manufacturers. In addition to speaking about BIM, I had the pleasure of listening to to "Web2.0 for the construction industry" presentations from Paul Wilkinson (@EEPaul) from pwcom.co.uk and Pritish Patel (@PriteshPatel9) from pauleycreative.co.uk.

Some facts/points of interest from Paul's presentation:
  • 74% of UK homes now have broadband internet access
  • 27% of individuals in UK now have smartphones. In our conference, the show of hands was nearer 80% (construction industry folk)
  • Q4 2010 worldwide sales - 100m smartphones compared with 94m laptops
  • In terms of pushing your online video material - YouTube.com receives 19m unique UK visitors each year (correction  - 1 month - see comment below).
  • UK has the third most active Twitter population in the world
  • Linkedin.com now has almost six million UK members. One third of all UK professionals.
  • Big decline in readership of printed construction news - and a shift to the web and a rise in new online media titles.
  • The importance of your hard copy PR/marketing and your online activity complimenting one another and sending a coordinated and consistent message
  • The importance of "thought leadership". So positioning your marketing and PR around key topics of interest in the construction industry
  • Don't be "anti-social" and know the "netiquette".
  • Authenticity is vital
And some more from Pritesh...
  • Each year Google changes its algorithm 500-600 times
  • Your Google rank is not fixed. It depends on who is searching, where in the world they are and what events are happening in the world.
  • An indication of how well your are promoting your company is how many people are Googling you - this can be monitored and tracked
  • 5 tips on getting good Google visibility: 1. Quality relevant information, 2. Promotion, 3. Get authoritive websites to link to yours, 4. Encourage visitors to share you content on social networks, 5. Measure your success and adjust efforts to improve.
  • Remember Youtube is second largest search engine - share your content through media such as this
  • SEO is not a 1 month project - it is forever ongoing
The final point discussed was the importance of getting your products and services promoted on the leading industry directories. So if you are an estate agent, ensure that your houses are on RightMove.com, if you sell cars, get your cars on AutoTrader.co.uk. In the case of construction products then there are a number of leading product directories, for example ribaproductselector.com. Being linked to on de-facto industry sites will further improve your Google index, standardise your product data for consideration by specifier and also cross promote your activities and services such as product information, catalogues, resources, case studies and CPD.

Two super presentations that make you analyse your own activities. If I had to try and draw three conclusions from my thoughts it would be:
  1. As a business concentrate on the quality of your original content and functionality and encourage others to promote this through their websites and social networks
  2. Embrace Web2.0 sites and make the most of them. Concentrate on Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube. ...in my humble opinion, if you're in the construction industry - forget Facebook. (If you are promoting the latest TV show or pair of football boots then FB becomes #1 priority though).
  3. Don't concentrate *just* on the traditional desktop computer. The world is changing. What is your smartphone strategy?


  1. Thanks for the write-up, Stephen.
    One small correction: the 19m figure for total number of unique visitors to YouTube was for one month (April 2011), not one year - which underlines even more the importance of even a modest video.

    Someone asked yesterday about advertising videos. I have seen lots of corporate videos (some of them incredibly cheesy!) on YouTube, but the ones that tend to get more views are instructional videos ("how to...."). This is a real opportunity for manufacturers/suppliers to demonstrate their technical knowledge in helping other project members understand how products are manufactured, how they should be installed, how they should be maintained, etc.

  2. Cheers Paul.

    I completely agree on the "how to" videos. I actually watched one a few months ago when doing some work in my garden...

    How to Lay a Block Paving Driveway. For this particular example I remember noticing that it was Marshalls who had put the video together. 115,000 views and 51 likes in a year or so - not bad going.