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Even though RAWSO has only been around since 2012, the world of social media has changed considerably in those seven years. When RAWSO first opened, social media was still mostly centered on individual people’s personal profiles. Now, it’s gotten to the point where people will check out a business on social media before they even go to Google.
In our industry, there’s no presence for many construction companies on social media at all, and if there is, it’s usually just generic content. Our web presence used to be just pictures of our projects, without any real content at all. Now, we use social media to teach people who we are, and who our people are.
The most positive change since we’ve increased our social media presence is the impact it’s had on hiring. When we first started looking at costs for social media management, we weren’t sure about how it would help us reach out to prospective employees. We didn’t buy into it at first, but it really has shown us in a much different light in that regard.
The Monday after we started an Instagram account, two guys walked into the office and said that they saw one of our Instagram posts, looked up our company, and came in to fill out an application. This is how you find younger people these days ― social media is where they’re at. Everybody’s on Facebook or Instagram, especially millennials. We’ve transitioned to finding those people where they’re at, instead of trying to get them to go to traditional employment sites like Monster.com or Craigslist.
Posting about our employees’ accomplishments on social media has also been a big positive. When we first started our social media channels, everyone was running from the camera, and they didn’t want their picture taken. Now, they know that they’ll get shown on social media, and they all want to be in the pictures. It’s boosted morale through the roof, especially when a guy gets his picture posted with his name, and his family sees it. It’s maybe even better than just giving him a cash bonus. If someone gets a raise and they hate their job, they’re still going to hate it. The money doesn’t fix that, but this type of recognition might.
A lot of companies in construction are scared to post pictures of their work, because they’re afraid of getting a safety violation from OSHA seeing something in a picture or video. Our attitude about that is that if you’re cutting corners and not using proper safety techniques, you probably shouldn’t be posting on social media to begin with. If you’re working safely and doing everything like you’re supposed to be doing it, you won’t have any problems.
We certainly had our fair share of questions (and even some doubts) when it came to integrating social media into our daily operations here at RAWSO, but at the end of the day, it’s been nothing but one big positive for us.