A few years ago, I decided it was time to see what that little blue bird I saw everywhere was all about. So, with the help of my oldest daughter, now 19, I created a Twitter account. My daughter still delights in retelling the story, i.e., mocking me, about my first few hours on Twitter when I asked her what all the pound signs (#) were about. She replied, laughing, “Mom, those are called hashtags!” She now calls hashtags pound signs just to rub it in. Millennials!
I tell this story because I recently decided it was time to improve our company website and try to “up our social media game” to better promote our business, our industry and NUCA. A lot of credit goes to NUCA for the inspiration. I attended the “Social Media for Contractors” sessions, conducted by Jamie Wolf (Twitter: @jamiewolf, LinkedIn: Jamie Wolf, MBA), at NUCA’s Fall Leadership Conference and again at the Convention. Since the Convention, I have attended two more local business workshops. One featured a futurist, the other, an expert on managing a multi-generational workforce. Both speakers covered technology and social media extensively.
The Co-Founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, sums up the power of the internet and social media this way, “One of the reasons I love the internet so much, aside from all the cats, is if it works the way it should, it’s an open and level playing field where all links are created equal. Great ideas can spread and flourish in a way that they couldn’t have before.”
In late March, I hired a local firm to help our company develop a social media strategy and presence and manage it when needed. As I write this, we plan to relaunch our social media sites in a few weeks. My expectation is that my investment will strengthen our company brand, increase engagement with our employees and other followers/connections, improve the company’s recruiting reach, increase mindshare with potential private work clients and, of course, increase industry advocacy.
NUCA National has really increased its efforts with social media and has become very active. If you aren’t already doing so, please consider liking/following/connecting with NUCA’s social media sites: Facebook: NUCA: National Utility Contractors Association; Twitter and Instagram: @NUCA_National; LinkedIn: National Utility Contractors Association. Utility Contractor magazine (@UtilContractor) is very active on Twitter and does a great job of helping to promote NUCA. Many NUCA chapters also have their own social media pages and post local, national and member information. I’ve also enjoyed following, commenting, sharing and re-tweeting posts from my NUCA friends across the country.
You can’t underestimate the power of social media in communicating our issues to state and federal lawmakers. It is a quick and effective way to build relationships and visibility with elected officials, share priorities and promote accountability. For example, you can use Twitter to retweet a representative’s statement: “@SenatorJaneDoe says investment in clean water is a top priority. #cleanwater #infrastructurecreatesjobs #NUCAproud.” By taking just a few minutes to post a tweet, you’ve engaged with the senator and her staff, expanded her reach and put her on record for supporting clean water funding. Nearly every elected official has a twitter account, as do congressional committees, such as the House T&I Committee, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA. Many organizations and groups with interests similar to NUCA’s, such as the ASCE and the Clean Water Council, produce a lot of interesting and useful information helpful to our cause, which we can share. If you are a social media user, I encourage you to use it to engage with NUCA’s social media channels and advocate for our industry. Always be positive and constructive with posts and comments. Together, we will be louder and stronger. We might even be TRENDING someday. If you don’t know what that means, Google it!
Until next month, work safe, stay informed, get/remain involved and always be #NUCAproud.