We’re often hired to create websites and social media destinations for our clients, who have every intention of handling the upkeep of both in-house. More often than not, they start out with a bang, and end in a slow attrition that has them wondering why their page views are in the single digits and they haven’t had any new likes or followers in months.
We all know that the “social” in social media means being out there regularly, engaging with the audience, and as professionals, we know we can do the job on the client’s behalf. But we often feel that’s only half the battle – we still would like the client engaged in their own social media in some fashion, because there are people on the inside who have knowledge gleaned from being immersed in their corporate culture that we simply cannot have, no matter how much time we spend gathering intel.
We have a client that does not necessarily seem like a natural for social media – Wantman Group, a civil engineering firm. They don’t sell an exciting retail product or service, their “consumer” is often the Department of Transportation or a municipal government, and they design and build things like highway overpasses and big bridges. They win a lot of big contracts that we can post to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and are in a growth phase, so we always have new hires to talk about, but our goal is to really find a way to make it unique enough that someone – other than their own employees – might find it interesting.
One thing we realized is that they have a lot of associates out in the field, often in undeveloped areas being surveyed, prepared, or improved. While the rest of the world rushes by, these men and women spend their days seeing the native flora and fauna in ways we take for granted. So, we started encouraging these associates to take pictures with their camera phones and post them to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #WGIunplugged and #WGIinthewild.
Turns out engineers have a pretty good sense of humor, and we’ve seen a major increase in likes and retweets. The employees are having fun with it, and there’s a friendly competition to see who can take a shot and come up with a clever caption. It gives the company a personality and human touch, and mixes well with company news and corporate announcements. We conducted a training session with the field project managers to set appropriate corporate guidelines and help anyone without experience to upload and understand the media destinations.
Next up, we’ll create a Pinterest board called Civil(ized) Engineering with some really cool industrial imagery of recent projects we’ve been working on with an architectural photographer. Sometimes it’s just about applying what already works from a totally different angle.
-Kelly Mayfair Owens/Alchemy Communication Group