Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

Green Building Focus Recap: Chris Brogan on The Efficiency of Social Media

Last week, Chris Brogan and I spent 2 days together here in Birmingham. We were pleased to have him as our guest for the Green Building Focus Conference.

For those unaware, Chris is the well-respected co-author of Trust Agents and Social Media 101. He’s carved out a niche for himself in social tools online and the means, methods and leverage of Web 2.0. He’s teaching business leaders how to stay connected and in the game.

In his talk, Chris compared Web 2.0 and its tools to the telephone when it was invented. At the time, many maintained they would rather write letters and talk in person than use a new device. Even though it enabled them to communicate across hundreds of miles, people were reluctant to move past the familiar. This compares to where we are now in business communication, particularly in relation to social media. The phone and email are now tried and tested ways of staying connected, building relationships and increasing profits, but are they the future?

I found Chris to be genuine, transparent, honest and helpful, both individually and on stage. He is the kind of person who makes you feel like he’s interested in what you have to say and gives you his undivided attention, one-on-one. There were so many takeaways from my time with Chris, but in interest of brevity, I’ll share just a few that relate to social media.

Be in it for others. The ratio you spend helping others should be 12:1 when compared to what you do to promote yourself. Strive to build long-term relationships and trust.

If you do it, do it right. After Chris explained the various social networking tools that work well for him, he made the point that it was best to choose what you can do well and maintain properly.  If you spread yourself too thin, you will represent yourself poorly.

Keep mobile top of mind. As more people are becoming reliant on their smart phones for web use, make mobile a priority when designing a site. A budget spent on expensive flash and non-compatible design is often money wasted.

Reply. Chris suggested that his popularity is attributed to the fact he actually takes the time to respond where many experts do not.

To sum it up, the more I learn about these new tools and their leverage, the more intrigued I become with delving deeper. After all, social media uses less carbon and less effort, often gaining more results. How’s that for energy efficient?


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.