Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

By Lindsay Muller

iPadtop How Social Media and Technology Influences Consumers’ Perceptions and Remodelers Business PracticesIt’s no surprise that technology and social media have changed the way we operate as consumers and professionals, regardless of our age, line of work, or how many years of experience we have in a given profession. And, whether we like it or not, we all judge a book by its cover to some degree. For example, when looking for a job, it’s unlikely that we’ll jump at an opportunity if a company has no web and/or social presence. Likewise, when it comes to choosing a daycare, doctor, home remodeler, etc., we view a strong web and social presence as table stakes. Companies simply have to market themselves well online if they want to stay relevant. Now, this is not to say that a digital persona replaces the need for exceptional customer service and face-to-face relationship building (in many industries), but there is no doubt that savvy consumers see value in online and social marketing.

It is this dynamic that continues to change the remodeling and construction industries. While some contractors and remodelers may have simply relied on referrals to gain new business in previous years, our technologically and social media-obsessed world has created a demand for social marketing. But, the good news is that contractors and remodelers are taking notice and adapting to the changing needs of their consumers.

In fact, according to a recent study by Professional Remodeler, there was strong growth in all aspects of social media over the last year:

  • 62 percent of remodelers have a Facebook page, up from 35 percent last year.
  • 36 percent have a company Twitter account, up from 19 percent.
  • 35 percent of remodelers have a company blog, up from 20 percent.
  • 24 percent have a company YouTube channel.

But, having a social media presence is only one piece of the pie. Today, remodelers and contractors are using technology in many ways. Two of the most popular examples include:

  • Tablets: Gone are the days of lugging around a clunky portfolio. Today, contractors and remodelers are relying on tablets to share project photos and renderings with potential and current clients. More and more contractors are also using this technology in their purchase-decision making.
  • Smart Phones: More and more contractors are turning to their smart phones on jobsites, especially as companies like DEWALT launch apps designed to make their lives easier. DEWALT’s new Mobile Pro app for the iPhone, iPod or iPad allows contractors to perform hundreds of calculations in the field, with instant feedback. The app offers five basic calculations as well as the option of adding “packs” for hundreds of trade-specific calculations and reference materials.

How is your company responding to these trends? Are you embracing technology and sharing it with your customers? As we look into the future, what technology trends do you see on the horizon?

By McGavock Edwards

Some say, “Any publicity is good publicity.” Those folks are obviously not today’s strategic public relations practitioners.

With the growth of social media, the 24/7 news cycle and a rise in citizen journalism, PR professionals will attest that what people say about a company and its products, how they say it and where they report can sometimes be anything but good. Negative sentiment – whether in the media or online – can change partnerships, damage stock value, and hurt employee recruitment and retention. It can negatively affect sales, harm overall reputation, and much more. And as a recent study by the Altimeter Group shows, brand crises, particularly social media crises, are on the rise.

Opportunities And Challenges For Brands

Sure, today’s online environment and “news of the minute” attitude provide tremendous opportunities to share company news with more people than ever before. We can engage customers and educate influencers about products, quickly and efficiently.  And, the word can spread…like wildfire.  But with opportunities also come challenges.

When an organization or its products come under fire, whether in truth or not, it’s critical to respond, always with intention and appropriateness. What’s amazing is that many companies are not simply ready. In fact, according to recent Crisis Preparedness study by Burson-Marstellar and Penn Schoen Berland (pdf) conducted with global businesses, only 20 percent are considered well-prepared for possible risk.  What’s considered well prepared?  They have a strategic crisis plan, they understand its importance and they review it periodically.

How To Approach Crisis Preparation

At IMRE, we encourage all of our clients to be prepared for issues that might arise. From an unfavorable product review to a manufacturing accident, a full-on reputation attack to a security failure, a problem quickly can become a crisis, especially if you’re not equipped.

The number one success factor in crisis communications is to plan ahead. While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to foresee every risk, having a plan of action will provide one of the most important factors in a crisis – a clear head.

While there are nuances to every situation and every organization, there are a few lessons we’ve learned over the years that every organization should keep in mind:

  1. Plan and Prep – These days it’s hard to commit resources to something that doesn’t immediately provide ROI. But smart executives know that being prepared for a crisis will provide great value – triple-fold – if ever a reputation management issue comes to play. Sometimes it’s a matter of business ultimately recovering…or not. Once you’ve committed to creating a plan, get the right people in the room – executives, communication professionals, sales managers, distribution personnel, and HR staffers – to provide a holistic view of your business inside and out. It’s also a good practice to enlist outside counsel who can assure all insights are considered and all avenues are accounted for.
  2. Acknowledge – When an issue arises, whether inside the building, out in traditional media, or online, it’s important to acknowledge the concern, especially if someone has been harmed. It’s true that legal concerns sometimes prevent conversation outside of a courtroom. But we believe it’s critical to acknowledge a concern.  This is where it’s especially helpful to have messaging (holding statements) at hand and a clear communication matrix to follow.
  3. Get the Facts – Know the facts before you speak.  It’s that simple.  It’s not okay to provide conjecture, opinion or half-truths. Even if you have to provide multiple updates throughout a situation, give out known information only.
  4. Put a face on it – It’s so easy to use “corporate-speak” and hide behind a logo or brand recognition when a crisis arises.  But remember it’s that brand you’re seeking to protect.  Know (ahead of time) who your spokespeople will be, and get them out front immediately. In planning, choose a group of organizational personnel who can speak to a variety of subjects and train them annually to be ready for speaking in public or to the media. You may also want to leverage relationships you’ve built outside of the organization.  Having someone else (an industry trade association or a topical influencer) speak on your behalf can lend third party credibility that can be powerful in a crisis situation.  But be ready ahead of time. Your corporate communications or public relations team should identify and build these critical relationships as part of an overall planning PR strategy for your company and/or product. Then you’re armed, if and when you need to make “an ask” for support.
  5. Own the message – With planning behind you, you have a playbook and you’re able to focus on the situation at hand.  Don’t let internal conflict or differences of opinion hold you at bay.  But don’t move ahead with knee-jerk reactions like Rupert Murdoch seemed to do last month when faced with the News Corp crisis mentioned here. This can cause more speculation and then rumors, instead of the facts, begin to take control. Armed with the facts and key messages, put your spokespeople to work and own the message – first to key stakeholders and then others. Only you can speak confidently about your organization and your products. So own it. Fast.
  6. Be transparent – Commit to transparency in all of your communications – before, during and after a crisis.  Today’s consumer is more curious, aware and informed than ever before, so your ability to be open and transparent could mean an easy road to rebuilding your reputation, or the ability to even repair it at all.
  7. Be available – Don’t speak and then hide.  Own the message, share it and be willing to speak again and again as needed.
  8. Put social media to work – While the growth of social media can be a thorn in a communicator’s side, its measurement is one of the best things about our jobs today. As soon as a crisis arises, get your social media team up to speed on the issue, and initiate tracking.  Working shoulder to shoulder, social media and media relations experts can see how an issue is being spread online and in the media, and uncover critical insights for how to adjust what you’re saying, how you’re saying it and where you’re communicating.  Leverage all available channels to create the appropriate response and to engage audiences appropriately. Here’s an example of how the U.S. Geological Survey utilized social media to communicate and crowd-source during last week’s East Coast earthquake.
  9. Measure and learn – After the “fire” dies down and you’ve breathed the collective sigh of relief, don’t forget what you’ve been through. Utilizing your crisis plan, tracking, coverage, and your audiences’ behavior, take a holistic look at the issue from the other side. Evaluate response times. Put a critical eye on the messaging. Update processes and procedures. Learn from the past and plan again for the future.

As you plan for all the opportunities and challenges your team faces in 2012, take some time to contemplate what could go wrong (here’s another case study to review) and prepare – strategically – to face what’s ahead.

What do you think? Do the new communications opportunities offered by social and emerging media outweigh the higher risks of engagement? What steps has your brand taken to prepare for brand crises? Comment below.

By Building Experts Team

We continue our “Social Marketing Stars” series with Timothy Dahl, founder and editor of the popular DIY blog, Charles & Hudson. As you may recall our series profiles individuals, companies and other organizations in the industry that have found success using social marketing.


By Building Experts Team

1013 45 banner build weeklyintel1 Weekly Intel: 2010 International Builders' Show Primer

The countdown to the 2010 International Builders’ Show (IBS) has begun.  Okay, it actually started a few months ago – now it’s crunch time.  All final preparations are being made and the assembly of the booths will begin this weekend.

 Weekly Intel: 2010 International Builders' Show Primer

As you get ready for the Show, here’s a list of things you can expect next week:

Also check out Builder Magazine’s 10 Things to Do at IBS article.  Even if you’re not attending, you can experience everything the Show has to offer thanks to social marketing.

More from us next week, including live updates, images and video.  Follow us from the Show on Twitter – @BuildIntel.

By Building Experts Team

 Where and How to Keep Up With the Industry News

What do you consider the latest headline – A top story in your daily e-newsletter? A viral re-Tweet?  The current cover feature of your favorite trade magazine?  The news cycle is evolving and ultimately changing the way that you, your customers and your competitors are consuming the latest industry news.  The rules have changed.

According to a recent Hanley Wood emonitoring report, 96% of residential builders, contractors, remodelers and architects use the Internet to keep up to date on industry news and trends.  With the “digital news cycle” growing among the building industry, it now takes more than traditional news sources to stay on top of what’s happening.

Whether supplementing or displacing your traditional news usage with Internet news sources, we have a few tools that will help you stay on top of it all in real time.

 Where and How to Keep Up With the Industry News







Google Reader is a news aggregator of sorts that helps keep you up to date, simplify your reading experience, and discover news and new content. The tool consistently searches your favorite news sites and blogs for fresh content and displays everything in one convenient place.  If your colleagues are slow to adapt to the changing news cycle, share your favorite items with them through your Google Reader public page. By clicking the sharing icon on any item – the news article, blog post or whatever the content – it will instantly appear on your public page for their reading pleasure.

What else is cool?

  • Add a customizable clip to your personal website’s sidebar to display your most recent shared news
  • Download the Google Reader gadget to iGoogle to view update streams
  • Applicable with any mobile phone browser, access Google Reader in the palm of your hand
  • Google Reader keeps track of what you’ve already read, so don’t waste time searching for only new content

twitter logo 300x110 Where and How to Keep Up With the Industry News


When it comes to sharing and receiving news updates, Twitter lists provide customizable channels for whom you’re following and who’s following you on Twitter. In a nutshell, it organizes your Twitter contacts, allowing you to create groups. What does this mean for news consumption? You can cut through the clutter and create lists specific to one topic, one industry, etc. Take it one step further and inform your list contacts that you’ve created a particular group that should limit all posts to news.

What else is cool?

  • Following a user is not necessary to add them to a list
  • Just like regular Twitter hash tags, you can @mention any Twitter List; just add a forward slash “/” followed by the list name (ex. @<username>/<listname>)

google news logo 1 Where and How to Keep Up With the Industry News


If you haven’t already created Google Alerts for your company, products, competitors, etc., that’s a first step to taking advantage of Google News. Taking it one very useful step forward are Google News custom sections, which allow you to receive news customized to your interests; for example, Solar Energy. When you visit the Google News Custom sections directory, a list of News sections appears with the option to add them to your particular news updates.  If you can’t find a section, create one.

What else is cool?

  • A search capability allows you to easily look for an existing section; if you find one of interest, preview the section and add it to your News front page
  • Ratings display a level of interest from users, so at a glance you can see if the section will be at all helpful; rate the sections you track and/or preview as well
  • The Local News section tracks stories from and about a particular city or region

 Where and How to Keep Up With the Industry News


Lazyfeed is another aggregator of live content constantly being updated on the Internet. Based on your topics of interest, Lazyfeed will create a personal “monitor” that features each topic as a tile that updates itself automatically. When more topics are added, thus making it difficult to watch only “new news,” Lazyfeed simplifies your view with its Treadmill mode; this automatically moves updated news to the top of the screen.

What else is cool?

  • When there’s new content on a topic, the tile will turn yellow for quick reference
  • Pressing a tile will magnify it to show the live update page for the topic
  • All contents are sorted by time and the latest contents are always at the top

We’d be remiss to not mention the value of RSS feeds and e-newsletter subscriptions. As online media outlets update news content, RSS feeds will alert you immediately; subscriptions to e-newsletters put you on the recipient list of the latest from industry insiders.

Still too much news consumption at once? Set your homepage to an industry Web site that posts news and updates regularly so each time you open your browser you catch the latest stream.

There are a number of methods and tools to help you consume news.  Find out what works best for you and stick with.  As new resources are introduced, test them by supplementing your current sources.  If you don’t like it, go back to what works.  Keep it simple and make it easy on yourself.  What do you use to stay up with the industry news?

The Best of The Best of 2009

By Building Experts Team

Do you enjoy reading year in review recaps and lists?  Well we’ve collected some of the best covering various topics, from business to social media, and all of the building industry categories in between.

Personally, I don’t like to spend too much time dwelling on the past year, or any of the past years for that matter.  Sure, you can learn a lot by looking back, but the future is ahead of us.

I once heard a wise man say, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.” That wise man was Mike Ditka.  Here’s to a healthy and happier 2010.  Lets get after it.  Now enjoy the recap.

What Twitter and Facebook’s 2009 Trends Tell Us About Ourselves

Dumbest moments in business 2009

62 Innovative Green Homes of 2009

place seattle 300x219 The Best of The Best of 2009

Place Houses Prefab in the Pacific Northwest

USGBC Announces Recipients of 2009 LEED for Homes Awards

9 Tough Breaks For The Housing Industry in 2009

The Year in Home Builder Buzzwords 2.0

Looking back at 10 housing predictions for 2009. How did they fare?

A turbulent year for the multifamily industry

Top Green Architecture Stories of 2009

wwwinhabitat 300x235 The Best of The Best of 2009

Credit inhabitat

2009 AIA Honor Awards

Interior Design Top News Stories of 2009

The 20 Most Popular Green Stories of 2009

19 Green Building Innovations of 2009

Top 10 Green Building Products of 2009

ENR Annual Photo Contest 2009: The Submissions

enr photo contest 300x214 The Best of The Best of 2009

Photo by Gary DeJolie

Digg’s Top 10 Most Popular Stories of 2009

2009 As Seen Through Twitter Hashtags

Facebook Memology: Top Status Trends of 2009’s 10 Most Read Stories of 2009

By Building Experts Team

1013 45 banner build weeklyintel1 Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week

Since Copenhagen and emissions regulation dominated the news this week, and Google, we thought we’d highlight some of the best Twitter sources for COP15 – the Climate Change Conference.  Twitter lists… the old fashioned way.

twitterprofilephoto biggerjpg Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week


12 25 06i bigger1 Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week greenbiztweets

75ecologist bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week the_ecologist

bbc 1 logo bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week BBC_Cop15

dsc1173 bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week OliviaZaleski

th gravatar 48x48 bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week TreeHugger

Tree Hugger also has a Twitter list of all their partners who are covering the Conference -

katieheadshottwitter bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week katiefehren

dickinson logo bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week kyoto2copnhagen

aplogo strap color2 bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week AP_ClimatePool

And of course, the guest of honor…

cop15 logo liggende bigger Weekly Intel: Top COP15 Tweeps of the Week cop15

By Building Experts Team

new me Social Media Marketing School with Dan Zarrella Some people talk the talk while others walk the walk.  Well Dan Zarrella walks and talks better than most when it comes to social media.  He is an award-winning social, search, and viral mar­ket­ing sci­en­tist and author of the upcom­ing O’Reilly media book “The Social Media Mar­ket­ing Book”.  You could say that we were thrilled by the opportunity to pick his brain, but that would be grossly understating it.

Like we were saying, Dan was kind enough to answer some questions for us…

Dan, your new book “The Social Media Marketing Book” is described as a resource for choosing the best of the social web’s unique marketing opportunities. What’s the most unique use of social media that you’ve seen to date?

Most unique use is an interesting and difficult question. Once an idea works well, others copy it. I love what Dell did with IdeaStorm, which Starbucks and others also eventually did. I love the now cliché ComcastCares Twitter account example as well. BlendTec’s “Will it Blend” campaign was awesome. And I hear that Victoria Secret’s Pink line has a great Facebook presence.

We work in a niche industry, albeit a large one (the built environment), primarily focused in B2B marketing, is social media for everyone?

It is. Not all social media is for everyone, but there is something from the social web that can be used for every kind of business. I’ve seen a ton of great examples of powerful b2b marketing with social media technologies as “far out there” as Second Life. IBM has done some great things with Ballet Pixelle there.

Reporting continues to be a hot topic. It’s safe to say that we’ve yet to find a service that can offer us everything we need. Do you have any recommendations on the best tools to track the performance of your campaign?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention HubSpot’s software package. But in the end I think most flexible reporting systems can be customized to provide pretty good insights. Social media analytics is a tough problem, and that’s an opportunity too, if you’re having the problems, so are your competitors.

Previously you campaigned against Twitter’s Project ReTweet. Now that it’s officially available to all users, has your opinion changed at all?

It hasn’t and honestly my position has been strengthened because nearly all the post-launch feed back I’ve seen has been negative. When I first wrote the blog post about it, there were a few people saying good things like “let’s wait and see.” Lots of people did that and now formed the same opinions I had.

What would you do to improve it? We’re a bit disappointed that there’s still no synergy with different clients (although we expect it) and there’s no option to add your own commentary.

I would change the attribution system, to show the ReTweeter’s name and avatar. I would add the ability for a ReTweeter to add her own thoughts, and I would add a streaming ReTweet API so that researchers could get every ReTweet posted with the new method.

Being a “scientist”, we know you like to tinker with things. What trends are you currently examining?

Augmented reality. And not just in the sci-fi virtual reality way. The gap between online social media and the real world is closing fast. Driven by powerful mobile devices and hyper local platforms like Foursquare this is the space I really see taking off in the next year or so.

Okay, one final question. If you could predict the future, what’s the next big meme we should look out for?

As I mentioned above, the real world is going to become important again.

Buy a copy of Dan’s new book.  You can also find him all over the Internet.  Dan has writ­ten exten­sively about the sci­ence of viral mar­ket­ing, memet­ics and social com­mu­ni­ca­tions on his own blog and for a vari­ety of pop­u­lar indus­try blogs, includ­ing Mash­able, Copy­Blog­ger, Read­WriteWeb, Pla­gia­rism Today, ProBlog­ger, Social Desire, Cen­ter­Net­works, Now­sourc­ing, and SEOScoop.  Follow him on Twitter.

By Shawn Draper

Building products distribution, in general, appears to be in disarray as a result of the great recession.  Distributors and dealers are closing their doors, or at least putting their businesses up for sale.  As a result, the relationships with builders, remodelers, plumbers, electricians, roofers, insulation installers, and general contractors to building products manufacturers that rely on them to sell their goods is at risk.  Fewer distributors and dealers leads to lost relationships with these key purchasers.  Ouch… or maybe not.

Recent reports of conversations with professional building tradesman (AKA research) show they are active participants in today’s social network.  This makes sense since they historically rely on references and referral for new products, services, and ideas.  Here is the opportunity for the building products manufacturers to overcome the disarray of distribution and mitigate the risk of losing these important trade relationships through social networking.

Manufacturers enter conversations with professionals within the social networks they are using most to begin to build direct relationships.  The questions that these professionals once asked their dealer can be answered in a forum.  Code updates that affect both the professional and the manufacturer can be shared through Twitter.  Special insights and promotions can be shared on a Facebook Page.  The same type of things manufacturers and professionals rely on distributors and dealers for can be managed online with an open and/or a controlled network.

Now we know it is not as easy as creating a Facebook account or beginning to Tweet.  Research on where these professionals are talking about specific products is required for success.  Having the know-how and a plan to be welcomed into these communities are critical.  Understanding the legal implications and responsibilities of participating in social networks as a commercial entity requires a commitment just like that of working with distribution.  The difference is the direct relationship you can create with the people that often determine your success or failure in the market.

The current distribution model continues to play a vital role in getting the physical products into the field and multiplying the efforts of the corporate sales force in an efficient and effective manner.  While distribution works through the impacts of the recession, building products manufacturers have a real opportunity to increase success through developing direct relationships with the professional trade in a low cost, highly effective way.

Shawn Draper is partner and senior vice president at IMRE.  For more than 20 years Shawn has been guiding the marketing strategies for national home and building companies, including multi-year tenures, prior to IMRE, with Andersen Windows, Weather Shield Windows and Doors, and Woodcraft Supply.

By greeniq

The images from our trip to Greenbuild 2009. Follow us on Twitter for updates @GreenIntel.

bT*xJmx*PTEyNTc5MTc*NDIzMzAmcHQ9MTI1NzkxNzU5NTE*OCZwPUNlbGxibG9jayZkPSZnPTEmbz*5ZDAxMWQ*ZDk2MmQ*Mzc1YTI2ZjgwYjQ5N2M2NWI*ZiZvZj*w Enjoy the View from Greenbuild 2009

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