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How important is Social Media to your business?

Campbell Ferguson interview - Building Surveying Journal The editor of Building Surveying Journal, Les Pickford, recently spoke to industry professionals as part of a series of features in the prestigious business-to-business publication. Survey Spain’s Campbell D. Ferguson was among those interviewed, and the text below is the article as published: 

A selection of building surveyors explain why using social media appeals to them and how they harness its power

Looking through the RICS list of surveyors on Twitter it was easy to see that building surveyors featured highly. And what better way to understand how they are using social media than to contact them via Twitter? The responses highlight some common themes about how social media is being used: to increase profile and brand recognition, find new contacts and develop business relationships, communicate and receive industry news, and use contacts to find solutions to problems. And all of this is at no cost other than the time invested.

While the direct benefits can sometimes be hard to quantify (isn’t this the case with all networking?) most surveyors felt that social media was an ideal platform for networking that was leading to a higher profile, an increased circle of contacts and, ultimately, more business.

Interview:

Which social media platforms do you use?
We run a LinkedIn profile, Twitter and Facebook accounts. We wanted to have other ways of communicating with our clients who are looking to buy property in Spain and to collaborate with local business people. We also wanted to tell people of our achievements such as the Survey Spain Network being awarded the Association of International Property Professionals Award 2011 for Most Outstanding Example of Customer Service, and that I achieved the Legal Experience Training Advanced Professional Award in Expert Witness Evidence accredited by the RICS.

It is important for us to receive customer feedback so we also use social media for research and to share our knowledge and information via articles posted to our blog. People buying in a foreign country need as much honest, practical information and advice as they can get before taking such an important step. Social media is an ideal way to provide this.

How active are you?
We only really started using the Facebook and Twitter accounts in the last quarter of 2011 so it’s all pretty new. However, just like traditional face-to-face networking, we realise how important it is to regularly engage our followers, so we make sure that we have a presence on a daily basis. Not only do we cover practical advice regarding property surveys, but also industry news, our company news, client feedback and testimonials, and opinions on the current economic situation. We are starting to blog once per week on a current item and/or one that we think our actual and potential clients should be aware of.

What are the business benefits to you?
We aim to build our brand and raise awareness of the services we provide, offer our knowledge and experience to a wider audience, and grow our network of business associates and partners.

Any specific examples of successes?
Our social media programme has already raised our profile, with clients and contacts mentioning it. We have also had specific work-related enquiries through it and are hopeful that it will more than ‘earn its keep’. It’s early days so far for us, but it’s got us talking to the Building Surveying Journal so that’s another plus.

Campbell D Ferguson, FRICS, is the Director of Survey Spain Network.

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