We recently conducted an interview with Jonathan Wichmann, Head of Social Media at Maersk Line about their use of social media and the techniques they have carried out:
Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company with operations in 150 countries and 250,000 employees. After creating a social media strategy in October 2011 under the watchful eye of Jonathan, they now operate nine social media channels with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn at the centre of it all. In this case study I will look at how they use the different platforms – the reasons for each and the differences between the various networks.
The Maersk Line Facebook page (/MaerskLine) has over 1.1 million likes with four main tabs shown on the page at first – ‘Photos’, ‘House rules’, ‘Pinterest’ and ‘Our tweeters’. Furthermore, there is also an Instagram tab which pulls in photos tagged with “#maerskline” – you can see more about Maersk’s Instagram use below. These tabs have personalised images and show the strong professional links between all social media for Maersk.
The Facebook page is run by the Maersk Line communication team for B2C use, and they attract attention and create engagement by sharing both positive and negative news (such as when they struck a whale last year – a description was posted on Facebook and soon became the most shared post on the page, with a 1:1 like to share ratio, and received mostly positive comments) – a way of showing their credibility. They also share users’ and employees’ images from Instagram and stories – to create a visual and respectable brand. The team use a “glocal” approach – with over 150 country communication managers worldwide being set up to post on the global page but with local news only being visible to their region. This ensures a simple approach which produces relevant customer communication The followers/fans on their Facebook page include:
- Maersk Line employees and potential employees
- regulatory bodies
- shipping enthusiasts and fans
The posts on the Facebook page are extremely visual and regular – with each having an image or video attached. Maersk also rarely run marketing and campaigns on the page – due to it being based in communications rather than marketing.
To measure engagement on Facebook, Maersk Line invented a formula. Firstly, they take a sample of their latest ten posts, adding up the likes, with the number of comments (multiplied by two) and the number of shares (multiplied by four – as shares hold more weight in engagement terms). This number is an indicator which Maersk have used to measure against other multinational brands (and as is shown in the chart below they rate quite highly).
In the first 11 months, Maersk Line attracted more than 400,000 people to their Facebook page. Maersk Line have been a real success story on Facebook (with Facebook themselves even wanting to discuss how they created such success) – due to their engaging regular updates, business-based audience and relevant content.
The Maersk Line Twitter page (@MaerskLine) has over 120,000 followers, and only follows around 300 users. Its feed is a mix of more serious news than the Facebook page, interactions (retweets from Maersk employees), as well as photos and relevant material. Tweets are sent a few times of day, with a specialised URL shortener and media and photos sometimes attached. However, there is no direct engagement with other Twitter users, and this could show, again, a very B2B way of using the platform.
— Maersk Line (@MaerskLine) January 22, 2016
Maersk Line has 10 “official tweeters” (a panel of employees, including the chief commercial officer, a captain, head of anti-piracy and some business managers) who were taught the ways of the network at the beginning – who to follow, how to send interesting tweets etc. This way the company’s employees’ expertise is shown, and it creates a real social media setting within Maersk Line. Their followers include journalists, who all download Maersk Line press releases from Twitter, and the shipping press (who make up a large percentage of the following).
A great example of Maersk Line’s Twitter usage can be seen in the video below – they use the platform as a news outlet mainly, and also to show the real social media underline which is now present in the company (thanks to Jonathan):
The Maersk Line LinkedIn Company Page (/company/maersk-line) has 150,000 followers. Maersk Line found, after a social media survey they conducted, that their customers would prefer to connect with them on LinkedIn than any other network and they therefore use the platform in a very B2C manner to provide shipping industry news which is relevant to their followers (from the Company Page) and have high-end discussions in groups – they decided to engage with customers on LinkedIn by setting up groups: ‘The Shipping Circle’ group in January 2012 and ‘The Reefer Circle’ group in August 2012 (both started by Jonathan). With a few hundred select users in each (users require approval to join), the groups consists of shipping experts from around the world who debate industry challenges and opportunities – a great opportunity to gain knowledge from experts who Maersk may not otherwise meet. There are plans for further groups, especially a customer specific group or for a category of customer.
In a bid to introduce, what they call, “social commerce”, the company have made full use of the ‘Products & Services’ tab on the LinkedIn Company Page – where they describe some of their core products and ideas – and people can ‘Recommend’ these and comment too (hence social commerce). They feel it is important to receive recommendations as peer-to-peer recommendations (in websites such as Trip Advisor) have proven that they are effective, with LinkedIn allowing for this to happen without much effort.
The Company Page is very engaged – with lots of comments and likes on each post, and the social commerce has worked (a few recommendations can be found on each ‘product’). The groups is also an extremely clever idea to interact and engage with customers on a more personal level.
The Maersk Line Google+ page (/+maerskline) is not updated regularly, but does have almost 2,000 followers and is mainly used for the Hangouts feature – used to hold smaller press briefings when launching new initiatives. These can hold a few (3 to 4) journalists who interact with executives on the talk.
Photography and Video:
The Maersk Line Instagram account (/maerskline) has over 45,000 followers with each photo receiving hundreds of likes. Maersk Line use Instagram as a way to promote and share their brand worldwide quickly on their page and they have also built up an extensive collection in the #maersk and #maerskline trends – sharing many photos from other users on their Facebook and Twitter pages. This continues the strong visual aspect of their social media strategy and their Tumblr account (maerskline.tumblr.com) is a straight feed of their Instagram feed. It’s fair to say that Maersk Line are one of the strongest brands on Instagram.
Maersk Line see Pinterest as the “least corporate” of the social platforms and although their account (/maerskline) may only have 1,500 followers, it does have over 30 boards – each telling the story of a different part of the Maersk Line brand.
Maersk Line use their Flickr account (/photos/maerskline) to publish photos from events as well as another place to store their Instagram photos – there is a more professional look to their photos here. It is also interesting to see that Maersk Line only have a Vimeo account (/maerskline) for video, and not a YouTube account. However the content on here is extremely high quality, and varied – and is used across all platforms to promote the brand.
Maersk Line have had some great success with social media – using Facebook to engage with followers in a very visual and conversational manner, Twitter as a news outlet, and LinkedIn as a B2C platform in terms of Company page and groups usage. The company can boast one of the best social media presences for a B2B company and serves as an example for many organisations struggling to get their head around social.
What do you think of Maersk Line’s social media strategy? Please let us know in the comments below!