Ebook: “10 Reasons B2B Companies Need Social Media”

New study from Orca Social shows an enormous untapped both economic and cultural potential for B2B companies of implementing social technologies.

In case you haven’t noticed: Social media has changed the way the world communicates.

B2C companies have eagerly embraced the opportunities which social media has brought about, but B2Bs are still – by and large – lost in the past, struggling to see why it’s relevant for them.

Continue reading “Ebook: “10 Reasons B2B Companies Need Social Media””

“What is the true value of being a social business?” and other strikingly relevant questions answered.

Ever since Ed and I launched Orca Social earlier this year we’ve been asked the same questions again and again. So I figure it makes sense to answer these questions in a FAQ style blog post (BTW: for some odd reason I love FAQs). Here it goes.

1. Why focus only on large B2Bs?

In our opinion, B2Bs have much more to gain from jumping on the social media bandwagon than B2Cs. Through social media, B2Bs can reach out and develop relationships with audiences (both customers and end users) who they’ve never been in contact with before.
Continue reading ““What is the true value of being a social business?” and other strikingly relevant questions answered.”

Introducing Orca Social, a member-based social media consultancy

Orca_Logo_dark grey_5Earlier this week, we (Ed Major and I) launched a new company called Orca Social as we see a need for large B2B companies to make better use of social technologies. Visit the website here.

The key for B2B companies is to learn to do social from within. The alternative is grim: If they engage external resources it becomes costly, slow and inauthentic. And, even more important, they miss out on the chance to break the silos and nurture a culture on which you can scale the social efforts to include e.g. social selling, social media customer service, social listening, internal collaboration etc. Continue reading “Introducing Orca Social, a member-based social media consultancy”

An open letter to the shipping industry: Don’t underestimate the power of social and sharing

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On 30 September 2013, I left Maersk Line after exactly two years at the Headquarters in Copenhagen. In 2011, I was brought in from the agency side with the primary aim to get Maersk Line started on social media.

The project appealed to me right from the beginning. Not only is Maersk by far the biggest company in Denmark (almost 20% of Denmark’s GDP). It’s also surrounded by myths about life behind the ever-closed bluish windows in the infamous “Building with the blue eyes” in Copenhagen. Continue reading “An open letter to the shipping industry: Don’t underestimate the power of social and sharing”

Move fast and break things: How to get your B2B content marketing program up and running in no time.

facebook-the-hacker-way-poster-680x489As most content marketers, and social media marketers too, are painfully aware, the biggest issue these days (and years) is to create meaningful, sharable content that engages the audiences and nurture them in order to improve their lifetime customer value.

My take on it is that it doesn’t have to be neither hard nor expensive. Continue reading “Move fast and break things: How to get your B2B content marketing program up and running in no time.”

How to generate leads in B2B social media? Or: The story of @MaerskLine’s #wintermaersk campaign

This is likely to be my last post about Maersk Line and social media. Last week I started in my new role as social media strategist and consultant at Wibroe, Duckert & Partners, so focus will probably shift now that the shipping game is over. So to speak.

The question I will try to answer now is this: “How can you use social media as a mass media-like marketing channel that drives business leads in the B2B space?”

Continue reading “How to generate leads in B2B social media? Or: The story of @MaerskLine’s #wintermaersk campaign”

How to use social media for B2B marketing campaigns? Stop being creative. And forget that you’re trying to sell.

Now that I’m on the verge of leaving Maersk Line to join Wibroe, Duckert and Partners (and while I’m still on paternity leave) I think it’s time to highlight a valuable lesson from my past two years in this great company. Unfortunately, it’s something I find I need to repeat again and again. Here it goes:

“Social media is about communication, not marketing.”

Yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, with social media we’re dealing with social networks, not a list of broadcasting platforms where companies can launch campaigns with the sole ambition to sell more. With social media, the users have finally taken control. They themselves control what they want to see, and they sure as h… don’t want to follow companies that are only there to sell to them.

Continue reading “How to use social media for B2B marketing campaigns? Stop being creative. And forget that you’re trying to sell.”

What is the value of social media? Maersk Line’s social media study (part 3)

4 instagrams
Four of @MaerskLine’s own Instagram photos. From left to right: A bird’s-eye view of Edith Maersk; the stern of Emma Maersk; a bus being discharged from Olga Maersk in Bangkok the 1950s; and the “Wall of #maersk” in our CEO’s office.

In my previous posts about Maersk Line’s social media study I wrote about first that social media has to somehow add value to the bottom line, secondly I summarized what we’ve done in the first year and a bit. Now, it’s time (finally) to look at the actual study.

In light of our current (and future, I should add) minimal use of resources, we decided to complete the study by internal means, i.e. we wrote it ourselves. But we also decided to try involving leading international experts through a number of so-called Hangouts on Google+. This was a success.

From singular to complex value creation
The very first question we were able to answer concerned the value of our past and present value creation via the social media. This exercise was almost absurd. First of all, it is impossible to quantify added value of this kind conclusively, since it originates both directly and indirectly, both in the short and long term.

Value creation is no longer (and probably never has been) singular. It is quite all right to measure singular outcomes, but if one wants to document the total business value, simply looking at a few quantitative parameters is pointless.

Nevertheless, we were able to determine that the Return on Investment (ROI) from our Facebook page is approximately 1500%. And the results are even better on Twitter, where we have barely used any resources but have a base of followers which has a 15x greater pull.

In other words, our average Twitter follower is 15 times more influential than the average Twitter user, and when we share something on Twitter, we therefore tend to find that it ripples out into the networks of most relevance to us.

What’s next is what’s interesting
Jay Baer, the President of Convince & Convert and a leading social media strategist, played a major part in the study. He said:

“It is of little value to look at the value of what you have achieved, or of what you are achieving right now for that matter. The important thing is what you intend to do going forward.  Only then you will find out what it is worth, and that will depend on what you do now.”

“Through your explorative approach to social media, you have managed to bring the company culture with you. You have generated momentum, and that is the most valuable of all that you have achieved, because that is what you need to build on.”

Jay Baer, one of the world’s leading social media consultants  according to both Forbes and leading on magazine Mashable, talks about what we’ve done in social media in ‘year one’.
Jay Baer, one of the world’s leading social media consultants according to
both Forbes and Mashable, talks about what we’ve done in social media in ‘year one’.

Jay Baer continued: “Bringing the culture with you is by far the most difficult task. Even large companies, which are one-tenth of your size, cannot get it right. They are afraid to let go, as a result of which their social media programme dies before it has even begun.”

Detrimental not to adapt
Michael Chui, who was the driving force behind the social media study published by McKinsey last summer, made it clear that social media can no longer be ignored. It is imperative for all large companies to adopt social media as an integral part of the organisation, or, as he said to us in one of the first Hangouts:

“It will be detrimental for companies that are unable to adapt and exploit the social technologies and the associated optimisation opportunities. This may not happen this year or next year, but it will not be long. If you do not do it, your competitors will, and then, sooner or later, you will be outperformed.”

Michael Chui of McKinsey in a Hangout with us. In the Hangout, Michael Chui went through all the major findings in McKinsey’s social media study – and helped translate the findings into the world of Maersk Line.
Michael Chui of McKinsey in a Hangout with us. In the Hangout, Michael Chui went through all the major findings in McKinsey’s social media study – and helped translate the findings into the world of Maersk Line.

Next step: to get it out into the business
That was the evaluation part. We then shifted our focus to what we should do in the future. The McKinsey study outlined 10 ways in which social media or technologies can create value for large companies. Of those 10, we identified the four we considered to be the most prudent for us to focus on in the coming years.

Besides our current area, in which we communicate via the official Maersk Line channels, which is an approach rooted in our communications department, we will focus on our customer service, sales and internal use of social technologies for collaboration purposes.

Next post: How we plan to use social media in customer service.

Getting started with social media: Maersk Line’s social media study (part 2)

Two of our early IGs, featuring Estelle Maersk on the left and my son Wilfred on the right, in front of the giant Emma Maersk scale model in the Maersk HQ.
Two of our early IGs, featuring Estelle Maersk on the left and my son Wilfred on the right, in front of the giant Emma Maersk scale model in Copenhagen.

So, moving on from my previous post, let’s have a look at how we got started and what we’ve done to date in Maersk Line with regards to social media.

First of all, our approach has been one of insourcing. I was basically recruited to do the job, starting 1 October 2011,  and I have been running with it ever since. This approach was chosen by management because they realized that it was the only way forward if it was to be credible as well as cost-efficient.

What has worked really well for us, and what the management fully understood, is the big amount of trust and empowerment that came my way. If you want to humanize the brand and ensure speed of posting you need to work with minimal oversight.

Where are we today?
So what’s the status after a year and a half? We currently have a presence on 12 social media sites, two of which are Chinese. We use these platforms in very different ways, with respect for the different users out there. However, a common trend spans the entire spectrum, namely that we regard it as a communication tool as opposed to a marketing exercise.

If you ask me, this approach does not make it boring, quite the contrary. Our presence is characterised as being very visual, narrative, trustworthy, based on that which is current and close to the business. Our aim is to engage and enter into dialogues. And we endeavour to humanise our somewhat hardware-driven business.

The top line (social) numbers
We have over 830,000 fans on Facebook, on which our engagement rate consistently falls between 5-10%. Also, we have 45,000 followers on Twitter, and 30,000 followers on LinkedIn.

In addition to all of this, we have 22,000 followers on Instagram. We have received considerable praise for our use of Instagram (and photos in general), even from Instagram themselves. Recently, we became one of their “suggested users”.

Here’s a short case video that summarizes what we’ve done the past year and a half (I know, I know, it’s a bit to the dramatic side):

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/59990482 w=460&h=259]

 
From mass media to corporate journalism
But what is it worth? Perhaps nothing? We don’t know for certain. But we believe we know that there is much more to social media than… social media alone.

Social media is merely a concept. It is a measure of where the media landscape and technology have brought us, specifically to the point where technology has become so sophisticated that it is capable of mirroring our behaviour and the actual structure of society right down to the individual level.

In other words: a society consists of individuals who are interconnected. The same can be said about the role of social media. Away with mass media; today, that space belongs to the users. And in that space we all become editors of our own lives. How do I wish to present myself? Who am I? How do I want to spend my time? With whom? Where? Etc.

What is interesting for companies is that they are also, or have the opportunity to be, publishers of their own stories. Companies have become news media agencies in their own right. But they will not get very far unless they are trustworthy. This is where the concept of corporate journalism comes in: the most digitally-advanced companies have started to employ people who report on what goes on in the company with journalistic integrity.

After all, if you fail to divulge your mistakes, no one can learn from them, in which case the company stagnates.

Next up in this short series: What is the value of social media for a B2B company like ours?

Unlocking the full potential of social media: Maersk Line’s social media study (part 1)

Part of the #maersk Instagram picture“What in the world is a container shipping company doing in the social media?!” We have been asked this question repeatedly since we announced our presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram almost a year and a half ago.

The short answer is: because it adds value to the bottom line. Had this not been the case, we would (almost) not have any reason to be there.

Until now, social media have primarily been the domain of our communication department, but we are currently moving into the second phase of our strategy which will involve incorporating them into the actual business.

In order to determine what role social media should play in our business in the long term, we recently completed a study. In addition to evaluating our current value creation, this study also outlines our next step.

The cover of Maersk Line's Social Media Study 2012
The cover of Maersk Line’s Social Media Study 2012 entitled “The Next Step: How to unlock the full potential of social media”.

Over the next few weeks, I will attempt to extract the key aspects of the study in a number of blog posts.

But before we get to the study itself, it makes sense to outline what we have done to date, during the first phase of the programme.

So that’s what my next post will be about.