President, Precision Executive Search, Inc
Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com
View Matt’s profile & connect with him on LinkedIn
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I wanted to discuss the topic of the utilization of social networking and Web 2.0 tools when it comes to the civil engineering industry. We have discussed this topic on a number of occasions not only here within our blog, but on our LinkedIn discussion board…but from what I have seen out there, the conversation is worth continuing.
Chances are, if you are reading this blog it is as a result of learning about it via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, so I get it that you get it. But the question remains, does your company or your employer or those associations you are a member of get it?
With the modern era of the internet beginning in the early 90’s, it was greeted with excitement and skepticism. As many organizations jumped on the bandwagon, many sat back and waited…and waited…and waited. As we sit here now, approaching the year 2011, if you don’t have a website you lack credibility. Eventually most folks caught on to this concept and it is very rare to find a company that does not have a website. As web 2.0 technologies mature, how much longer can your company afford to sit on its laurels before it’s too late?
Failure of civil engineering organizations to embrace social networking tools will not have a crippling impact on the way they do business, but it will impact them in some way, shape, or form. I’ve taken the liberty to do some exploring on the internet of some great examples of how organizations within and surrounding the civil engineering community are taking advantage of web 2.0 tools. Let’s take a look:
Washington Department of Transportation:
- Twitter– with over 10,000 followers, WashDOT is able to advertise all sorts of job openings, including civil engineering jobs; they are able to tweet lane closures and construction projects that will effect traffic; they are able to provide project updates and meetings to the public.
- Facebook – same idea as Twitter – it’s about keeping the public informed
- YouTube – videos showing emergency response, civil engineering planning and design plans for upcoming highway projects, and bridge demolition video
Texas Department of Transportation:
- Facebook – with over 2600 followers of TxDot’s Facebook page they are able to advertise open civil engineering and construction jobs, discuss politics, traffic congestion and post videos and photos of events that effect transportation across the state
- Twitter – each TxDOT District has their own Twitter account as a tool to share information with employees, vendors, residents, and the travelers.
- YouTube – dozens of videos showing how concrete barriers save lives, what the statewide long range plan looks like, and proposed highway concept plans, just to name a few.
- Podcasts – weekly podcasts are produced and posted on their site on a wide variety of topics
- LinkedIn – to help promote the company and advertise civil engineering job openings
- Facebook – to promote press releases regarding employee promotions, company awards, project wins, etc. They also are able to post videos that specifically relate to their company – like their spot on the CBS Evening News.
- Twitter – to promote company news
- YouTube – Ulteig has their own company YouTube Channel
- Facebook & Twitter– used as a marketing tool promoting news articles, press releases, promotions, and video featuring Pennoni and Pennoni employees
- YouTube – Used as an avenue to post all news video relating to Pennoni projects or associates
- LinkedIn– Used again as an avenue for free PR, but also provides an avenue for other LI members to learn more about the folks within their organization. They also have their own group where current Pennoni employees can network, collaborate, and share ideas!
- Facebook – used as an avenue to promote upcoming events, to share photos from events, to promote membership and share informative videos.
- Twitter – used to share jobs from their job board, to promote upcoming events, and to share interesting and relevant articles
- YouTube – Interviews with NSPE members and engineers discussing the relevant issues and topics that NSPE members want to know about.
- LinkedIn – used as a way to further develop their NSPE brand and as an avenue for discussion of relevant topics among group members.
- Facebook – Used to promote news items, events, membership drives, etc.
- Twitter – Same as Facebook, also able to retweet news worthy items from the industry or from other local SAME chapter Twitter accounts.
- Blog – SAME’s “Bricks & Clicks” blog is yet another communication tool used as a potential discussion outlet for any newsworthy items relating to members
- LinkedIn – A great recruiting and networking tool that has over 4000 members!
Social networking tools are beyond the infancy stage. They are fantastic tools that are used for branding, recruiting, collaborating, SEO, advertising, promoting, marketing and communicating, and failure to recognize and act may leave you a step behind. If you can, take a team approach to implementing these tools with your organization; involve Marketing, Human Resources, and Technical Professionals…and most importantly, come up with a plan and stick to it. There are plenty of civil engineering organizations who had the right intentions, but have dropped the ball, tarnishing the validity of their internet presence and their ability to effectively use web 2.0 technology. If you are going to make the committment, do it right!
Don’t miss the boat folks, resistance is futile.