We have written posts before about how social media can help you grow your business and how it can make you better at your job. But the main question you may still be asking is “why social media?” Isn’t it just a place to view cat videos or chat with friends?
While you can use social media for personal reasons, it has now become a serious source of professional content that can help make your life as a structural engineer a little easier. Here are some reasons why social media is (still) important for structural engineers:
It Offers Solutions
If you are encountering an issue or problem, there is a strong chance that there are other structural engineers that have faced the same issue. The nice thing is that with social media, you can find those structural engineers a little faster. There are LinkedIn groups for structural engineers, Facebook groups and even blogs that you can turn to if you have a question.
At the Structural Engineering blog, we get questions from structural engineers on a regular basis asking about our calculations or how we have resolved a particular issue. We respond to those questions right away. They also provide us with great insight into the challenges you face day to day.
It Connects You With Other Engineers
We all know that networking is important. Social media just makes it a little easier to start that conversation. Groups on LinkedIn and Facebook are a great way to exchange best practices and ideas. You can also find out about local events with professionals in your area from these groups so that you can network in person.
It Keeps You Informed
Social media is the first place where industry conversations happen now. Whether it is about soft-story retrofit ordinances or truss designer responsibilities, you can find online conversations about structural engineering on a variety of social media platforms.
All in all, social media is a great resource and can supplement the ways that you already enrich your professional career. How has social media helped you with your job? Let us know in the comments below.
4 thoughts on “Why Social Media Matters for Structural Engineers”
Frankly, I find forums much more useful than social media for an exchange of ideas. They are searchable and typically arranged by topic, and frequently the question I have has already been asked and answered, thus the answer can be achieved more quickly. Social media can be useful for providing notice of upcoming events and quickly spreading important changes or announcements, but in my opinion, not the best format for a robust technical exchange of ideas.
(I don’t really lump forums in with social media as they have existed since the pre-Netscape days, but I could understand if you were lumping them together as the lines of demarcation get a little blurry on the internet)
Setting up and doing social media wrong is worse than not doing it. Many small / local entrepreneurs are confused about the whole social media trend and don’t have the time to figure it out. In addition, those that try to do it themselves find that the constant changes in technology, site navigation and research / posting activities are frustrating and time consuming. That is why I suggest outsourcing it … runs about $500 to setup and $300 to $500 per month to manage … But beware the ROI takes several months to show up.
Great feedback from both of you. David, since you outsource your social media, where do you typically get your industry information from?