How can you use social media to your advantage when you’re a seemingly dull B2B company?
You’ll struggle to get people following a recruitment or staffing agency because of its aspirational brand. Let’s face it, when marketing a recruitment company we have a bigger challenge than a consumer brand. But there are some companies doing great things in the B2B space, we have previously written a case study on how Maersk Line use social media, in this follow-up I’m catching up with Davina Rapaport, who is the Pulse and Social Media Manager at the Danish shipping giant.
You can listen to the audio podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud (embed below) or keep reading for a summary of our conversation. A longer version of this article is available at Link Humans. Questions by me, answers by Davina.
What’s been the key to Maersk Line’s social media success?
I think the first stage of Maersk Line success has centred around the fact that a “boring” B2B shipping company like Maersk Line had taken that step in what is traditionally a very unseen industry. The fact that we’ve got such highly engaged audience and network has traditionally been the source of our success, but who are they? We recently conducted a social media audit to determine who our followers are and prove, in finite terms, the potential of social media. Having the numbers has been helpful internally as hard data is a language that the organisation understands. We’ve been able to prove that social media isn’t just the light and fluffy stuff. It is something that even Maersk Line has to take exceptionally seriously. So building on the back of that the world is our oyster but success now looks different from what it used to.
What are your favourite social channels?
It’s kind of like asking me if I have a favourite child. But of course I do. I think for a company like Maersk Line, LinkedIn is a platform that we should be focusing our attention on, but that being said, we have many channels and what we’ve discovered is that our audience is different on each. So we need to start using those channels very differently while ensuring that they work together as an ecosystem.
For me personally, I love our Instagram account, but for the sales and the finance guys, are they going to really see Instagram as the most important of our social media channels? Maybe not. Maybe they’ll be prioritising Facebook or LinkedIn over our Instagram account, but I love them all equally. I think each of them have their own successes and their own flavour. But they are very different and they have different objectives.
How has your visual content strategy worked out?
We definitely live in a hyper visual world. And I think you have to be visual particularly on social media. Our seafarers continue to be a strong source of content. While I think they have the most glamorous and exciting job in the world, apparently they have a lot of down time on-board and love to take photos. This is beneficial for a few reasons. Firstly, a key group within Maersk Line is engaged and feel connected with our land-based organisation. Secondly, it makes my life easier as the content comes to us rather than us chasing it. Thirdly, it makes our social media platforms more dynamic, interesting and engaging. Fourthly, we get a number of shots submitted by our fans and ‘ship spotters’ around the world. We love hearing from our fans and often repost their shots. It’s great for Maersk Line in terms of engagement, and our fans love getting featured on our social media channel. So I think it’s actually a win, win, win, win situation for everyone involved.
Do you have employee advocates on social media?
Absolutely, that’s a big challenge for us. We are an organisation of 32,000 employees in every corner of the world. And finding out who those experts are around the world is a job in itself, and that’s a big challenge for us, but yes, we do. Maersk Line operates in an increasingly commoditised market. What really sets Maersk Line apart, is the breadth of our expertise within the organisation. That’s really where we can help our customers achieve their ambitions and achieve their goals. So finding those experts is really tough but it’s always something that’s always popular on our social channels when we do and when we do post content in that way.
What B2B brands are worth checking out?
By far and away, FedEx. For me, their social media is just so on point, and there’s a lot of things I want to take Maersk Line in that direction. And I think they are doing a fantastic job. Beyond FedEx, I would say Red Bull. For their brand is very content driven, and I think it’s very exciting, and very unbranded and very dynamic, and also in terms of sheer scalability and setup, Microsoft is someone I always look to.
As for other Danish companies, definitely Carlsberg, they are doing fantastic things. And I think it’s actually really important for B2B brands to be looking at B2C brands that are doing interesting things on digital and social media. I like Carlsberg, but I like Lego for example, and take some of those principles and put them into our best practice and translate them into our industry and make our digital network stronger.