Contributed by Brian M. Fraley
To automate or not to automate? That is the question many AEC firms face when it comes to social media. Like everything else in life, there are pros and cons.
My assessment is that the cons outweigh the pros for most AEC firms. This blog; however, will attempt to objectively lay out both sides and allow you to draw your own conclusion.
What is Social Media Automation?
Social media automation may sound intimidating if your AEC firm hasn’t even mastered social media itself, but have no fear. It’s simply the use of a software or app to pre-load, schedule, and post social media content. You can also monitor relevant topics, review performance metrics, and more.
Bundle Posts and Save Time
One of the greatest benefits of automation is the ability to log in and front load multiple posts for the coming day, week, etc. Instead of logging in repeatedly and struggling to come up with content, you can sit down in a more intentional way, chunk your work, and get back to designing.
Less Interruptions, More Flow Work
Staying active on social media is disruptive to your schedule. When you’re immersed in a project, the last thing you want is to break your concentration by logging in to LinkedIn, unless your brain needs a rest, that is. For those that subscribe to the belief that interruptions stymie productivity, automation is a godsend.
Stay Social When You’re Off the Grid
Consistency is key on social media. Letting your social accounts go dormant for days or weeks can cause followers to drop off. Social media automation can allow you to post when you’re traveling or consumed by a time-sensitive project for an extended period of time.
Use Multiple Platforms
Automation software and apps are usually designed as a control center for all of your social media activity. You can connect multiple accounts and see things like retweets, mentions, new followers, and inbox messages on a single dashboard. This obviously saves time because you don’t have to log into multiple accounts.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
Unless you've been living in the 2000's and not the present day, you've undoubtedly heard the word CONTENT and the importance of it. Whether building a website or your personal brand, the name of the game is now content, and it is everything when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) and how you, as a business or brand, is found in the modern day.
The definition of content has changed so much in the last handful of years that definition c. from Merriam Webster is "the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website. Moving further down the definitions of content brings us to 3. which is "the matter dealt with in a field of study". While I personally frown upon using the term expert, especially given how rapid the world is changing, I feel that everyone has a specialty. Whether that is knowledge on CrossFit, baseball cards, baking or indoor sports flooring, you have a skillset that is unique to you. Now, you may not be an expert baker, or have that stash of 1952 Mickey Mantle's in your closet, but you have information and CONTENT, inside of you that is unique.
Tomorrow I "celebrate" thirteen years of experience as an indoor sports flooring product rep and subcontractor. If I have done my job properly over those thirteen years, I will have absorbed years of unique experiences that have built up to January 23, 2019. Now, there is that chance that I've been doing something wrong for those thirteen years, but chances are that I've been doing some things right over these last thirteen years too. While I don't consider myself an expert on indoor sports flooring by any means, I do consider myself a specialist and an information provider.
Information gathered is absolutely no good unless it is information shared."
If you have had the opportunity to sit through the Let’s Fix Construction workshop, I hope you took home the mantra to share your knowledge. If you didn’t take that home with you, I apologize. We do our absolute best to reiterate the fact that we are unable to better the construction industry if we go to the grave by holding in our lessons learned aka our knowledge aka our CONTENT. We implore attendees of our workshops to share their insight and their experiences. Even after practicing architecture for 45 years, I don’t expect to hear a firm principal to say they’re an expert at design. Technologies and building materials are changing along with our world and in order to be an expert, in my opinion, you need to know all. No one knows all.
But you do know something. You may make an incredible souffle, have an incredible eye for the next great New York Yankees prospect, or have a personal insight into your niche of the construction industry; and this last component is where I implore you to share your content. It may be on LinkedIn, on your personal website or blog, at an AIA accredited box lunch, here on the Let’s Fix Construction blog or at CONSTRUCT, but please, SHARE YOUR CONTENT.
Don't have a blog or website? Start one. It's easy. Look it up on YouTube. Share your messages on a video platform, like Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. Perfect your pitch and get out of your office and speak to more companies and firms. Use your LinkedIn for good and not evil. Or better yet, speak at a conference attended by your industry peers.
And a great opportunity for you to speak at a peer-attended conference and for you to share your knowledge and content is at CONSTRUCT 2019. The deadline to speak is here and I implore you to step out of your comfort zone and submit. You have a personal perspective on something within construction – and face it, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be this far in this article – and what good is hoarding that perspective?
Much like this website, CONSTRUCT provides a platform for exploring and refining innovative solutions to solve complex problems facing the AEC industry today. It is truly a conference where industry leaders converge with a common goal of educating and inspiring for the betterment of the industry. This year CONSTRUCT will be held October 9-11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland (right across the bridge from Washington DC) and the deadline to submit your proposal concept is THIS FRIDAY, January 25, 2019.
I know firsthand as a presenter at the last few CONSTRUCT shows that you don’t need all your ducks in a row when you submit your pitch. Get a catchy title, come up with a good synopsis and your learning objectives and that is all you need. And don’t get caught up on if your niche in construction is truly a niche – as a member of the Education Advisory Council, we are looking for topics that are unique and aren’t canned, nor offered at every conference in the industry.
I implore you to look within and challenge yourself in 2019 to share your content. CONSTRUCT is an amazing opportunity to do so and you’ll leave National Harbor on October 11th glad that you took my advice.
To learn more about speaking at CONSTRUCT, please visit the CONSTRUCT show website here.
For additional assistance, contact Jennifer Hughes, Sr. Education Manager at 972-536-6388 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
With 2018 behind us, and with that another great year of articles, podcasts and many workshops across the nation (and even one in Canada), Let’s Fix Construction looks forward to 2019, as do many others. A new year starts with fresh energy, renewed spirit, a hopeful change of habits and a positive outlook.
With 2019 facing us and 2018 in the rearview mirror, Let’s Fix Construction is using this post for a Call to Arms. A challenge, if you will. Hopefully you can identify your role, or more than one, in this list. Don’t see a challenge that calls to you? Identify your own. Step out of your comfort zone and move yourself and the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry forward.
Educate yourself before you proceed with your project, especially if it is your first one! Take the time to learn the roles of the major players in a building project. Vet your architect, construction manager, general contractor and any other major contractor or consultant that you are going to be contractually obligated to. You don’t have to be best friends, but it will go a long way if you know who you will be working with and get along with them. What makes them tick? What sets them off? What are their expectations? What are their expectations of you? And in the end, if you really want to educate yourself about a project, get a copy of the Construction Specifications Institute’s ‘Project Delivery Practice Guide’. It could just be the best $129 you’ve ever spent. AND save you a thousand-fold in the long run.
Projects are getting increasingly complex and the demands on you, your supporting staff and ultimately, your entire office are growing as well. The world we live in changes rapidly and with that the demands that are put on all the major players in a project. You’re being asked to do much more in much less time for the same amount of money. Practice saying no. Don’t be afraid to lose a client that expects more from you without understanding your point of view. Make sure you and your staff are compensated appropriately for your time. Track all costs and analyze your data. If you are able to reference a completed project that is similar in size and scope of a new project you are working on, you will be able to substantiate to the Owner why you have the requests, both financial and otherwise, that you do.
Contributed by Brent Williams
Hi, I’m Brent Williams and I’m a self-described construction materials geek. I come from an architecture background, but I was serendipitously detoured into the product rep world…and I’ve never looked back. Why, you ask?
Because I love working in the visual oriented design world that we live in. I’ve been lucky enough to become a hyper-specialist in one, weird little construction product. But my product is unusual & amazing, it solves a myriad of issues in the industry and I completely love my amazing job.
A big chunk of what a professional building product rep does on a daily basis is explain exactly where, why, how and how not to deploy these products to the design community. In medical terms, our friends in the Architecture world are General Practitioners, while the rep is a Micro Neurosurgeon. Architects, by the design of their craft, need to know at least a little bit about everything. Me? I need to know everything that there is about one tiny little thing. More importantly, I need to know what THEY need to know about my tiny little corner of the world.
And therein lies the magic, the alchemy, as it were. Product Reps have to communicate quickly and accurately, at an incredibly high level of proficiency, in both directions…both to and from the client. You simply must be empathetic, intuitive and proactive. Not the simplest matrix of executables and doubly tough to execute rapidly and on the fly. Nothing less than excellence will be tolerated by the modern construction industry.
An experienced rep needs to be both an incredible listener yet anticipate issues and questions almost before they are spoken. Frankly, all of us in the product representation arena either hold this skill set, or we’re not around very long. Check any employment website, or look on LinkedIn, and there are lots of vacancies for reps and lots of reps looking for employment.
If you think about it, just about everyone involved in the design industry must possess most of this skill set in order to be able to sustain the construction process. You either communicate at scale, or you’re gone. No quarter. You can’t do a proper program unless you can communicate at a very high level, with all of the constituents in and on a project.
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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