Start listening: A pulse on the infrastructure conversation on social media

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*A version of this post was originally written for KPMG's Insight Magazine. The content/data has since been updated for this blog post.

Social media is both a driver and an enabler of change. It is beyond simply a broadcasting platform, and individuals and organizations that recognize this are the ones that are truly able to harness its power. Social media drives conversations about infrastructure; it amplifies social reaction and sentiment; it encourages transparency and empowers individuals. Simply put, social media should not be ignored. So here is what you need to know.

What is social listening?

Social listening involves tracking and analyzing what is being said on various social media platforms about a particular issue, person or organization. When analyzing the data, emphasis is placed on who is saying what (are they reliable or influential sources, for example) and the tempo of the discussion. It goes beyond monitoring interactions via your social profiles — and allows you to examine broader trends. If you are simply monitoring your notifications, you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle; individuals that may be talking about you, your organization, and the issue in question as a whole.

Are there tools or apps that help with social listening?

There are countless applications and software tools that promise to deliver insight from social media. Some of the more sophisticated enterprise tools certainly offer value. That being said, technology is only part of the equation; effective social listening comes from combining technology with experienced professionals. Linking real-time data with market expertise is where you really draw on the value of social listening.

Over the past six months, KPMG’s Global Infrastructure practice has been ‘listening’ to social media conversations related to infrastructure  . We analyzed over 400,000 tweets and conversations and here’s what we heard:

Talking about cities

When people talk about urban infrastructure, what cities are they talking about most? 

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A male-dominated conversation

The infrastructure sector has always struggled with gender equality. Our data suggests that — possibly as a result of this — the conversation about infrastructure is largely dominated by men over 35 years of age.

Follow the influencers

Social media ‘influencers’ are individuals or organizations that — for one reason or another — punch above their weight on social media. Whether you are managing a sophisticated enterprise social listening program or just getting started on social media, you probably want to be following some of these well-known infrastructure influencers .


#Hashtags to remember

Hashtags essentially ‘tag’ a tweet or a post for others to follow. When a hashtag becomes particularly popular on social media, it is considered to be a ‘trending’ topic. You can use hashtags to search for relevant posts, to create a new conversation or to air your views on an existing topic. Here is a sampling of recent popular hashtags that are being used in infrastructure related conversations: 


As decision makers in the infrastructure sector — and across countless other industries — you can use real-time social data to bring intelligence into your organization. Paired with a deep understanding of your market, the insights you glean from social media can empower you to make better informed choices about what is next.

Disclaimer and Editor's Note

The content of this blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Bank Group, its Board of Executive Directors, staff or the governments it represents. The World Bank Group does not guarantee the accuracy of the data, findings, or analysis in this post.

We look forward to hear from you: Flagging a new World Bank Group consultation on the Guidelines for the Development of a Policy for Managing Unsolicited Proposals in Infrastructure Projects. Submit your feedback here - Now open through May 7, 2017.



Pranya Yamin

Digital and social media strategy lead, Global Infrastructure practice, KPMG International

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