VHB/Eng-Wong, Taub and PB: Building Client Relationships with Social Media
Similarly, Jason McFadden, project manager with contractor Barton Malow (www.bartonmalow.com), built a great working relationship with a client at Georgia Tech during the design and construction of its new football practice facility, completed in August.
Throughout the project, McFadden worked with Georgia Tech’s social-media and athletics departments to post project milestone updates via Georgia Tech Athletics’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. It was a cross-promotional opportunity: McFadden built excitement about the project with followers on Twitter and Facebook, and posts were then retweeted and posted by GA Tech as well. The project also won public notice from mainstream media when it was featured on the local Atlanta television news, adds Dana Galvin, Barton Malow communications director.
Galvin also is one of the authors of a white paper called “The Client’s Use of Social Media and Social Networking,” sponsored by the Society for Marketing Professional Services Foundation and written with co-authors Holly Bolton, director of marketing at CE Solutions Inc., and Adam Kilbourne, director of marketing for Tec Inc. Engineering & Design. The authors did a survey that received responses from 165 construction professionals, 60% of whom said their firms used social media. Respondents said social media “is neutral to somewhat effective in building personal relationships between owners and consultants.”
A Positive Case Study
But the paper included a highly positive case study of the intenational architectural firm Ware Malcomb (waremalcomb.com).
CMO Ruth Brajevich used Twitter to “foster a goodwill relationship” between her marketing group and its counterpart at ProLogis, an industrial and real estate client, which also was using Twitter. After Ware Malcomb started retweeting ProLogis’ tweets, it in turn started to retweet Ware Malcomb's content. That action led to a client testimonial via Twitter.
“Prologis retweeted a message from Ware Malcomb about its expertise in LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] service and added that the firm is professional and knowledgeable," the white paper reports (see screen capture).
Mark Schumann, a director for Davis Langdon, an AECOM company, said he has witnessed some “big benefits in my short time on Twitter, and I am finding new things all the time."
In collaboration with @DesignMENA and with help from @Studio EM, Schumann is promoting social media in the Middle East. He says his firm has “benefited hugely” in engaging more with the local community. At a corporate level, he says Davis Langdon is using social media, especially Twitter, to share thought leadership and project information with clients, the media and new colleagues across the globe within AECOM’s various business lines.
For example, further information was requested from both internal and external audiences once the company announced its involvement in Bio Istanbul, a medical community in Turkey, he said. Davis Langdon also helped form the business plan that secured the project’s funding. “As soon as we announced this on Twitter, our corporate account was receiving questions about what was the next stage of the project’s development,” Schumann says.
PB’s Cole sums up his take on this issue, saying, “As far as increasing rapport with clients, absolutely. Through numbers and measurements we can show the powerful impacts we are making with the public and how the engagement in social media garners goodwill. This way of communicating directly to the public is not a fad. It is the future. It may not be in the form of Facebook or Twitter, but it will remain. I am always testing out new social-media tools to see if they will work for projects because, if we stay in the past, so will the work. Tools like Google+, Quora, Foursquare and on and on—what will the next one be?”