The Big List of Social Media Case Studies (only hands-on examples, across industries)

After leaving Maersk Line to join Wibroe, Duckert & Partners, and after having met with numerous clients across industries, one question I get again and again is this:

“Maersk Line aside, can you give us some hands-on social media examples that are relevant to our company?”

Point taken. You cannot copy-paste what we did in Maersk Line, and sometimes the difference between e.g. a retailer and a shipping company is simply too big.

The difference between looking good and being good
There are of course so many social media cases out there. But I find it’s extremely difficult to judge how “best case” those cases really are. They might look very convincing from the outside, but as soon as you get behind the scenes you find that either they don’t add any true business value or that the resources spent don’t justify the outcome. Or both. Continue reading “The Big List of Social Media Case Studies (only hands-on examples, across industries)”

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.

Jay Baer & Scott Stratten: “Just be awesome!”

ImageOk, right as I had promised myself (and my very few readers) that I would stop doing self-promotional scrapbook-like blog posts, I stumbled upon this podcast where Jay Baer and Scott Stratten (both top 5 social media influencers according to various rankings) start talking about Maersk Line, social media and… me.

You can listen to the podcast here – it’s right at the end.

Or you can just read along on this page, because this is the transcript of the part of the podcast I’m talking about:

Scott: Yeah, I have a couple of good guys out there. Really one that has fascinated me, the one in Denmark is a shipping line called Maersk.

Jay: They were on the Social Pros podcast, Maersk Lines.

Scott: That’s how I learned about them.

Jay: See how it works. It’s circular.

Scott: That’s how much I love it. If you haven’t listened to that podcast, listen to it.

Jay: We’ll link it up.

Scott: I phoned the guy. I phoned him in Denmark and said, “You need to talk to me right now and tell me how the hell you did this.”

Jay: He’s great.

Scott: You’re a container shipping line. Go listen to that podcast. If you guys could link to it, that would be perfect for the guys.

Jay: We’ll do it.

Scott: Look at what they’re doing, and it’s one of those things where I’m saying when you’re industry is know as not being awesome, it’s the best time to be there, because nobody else is doing it.

Jay: Talk about shattering expectations.

Scott: Go do it. Please check them out. You’ll do yourself a favor. Look at how they get likes and they get community, but they understand that social media is about being social, and it’s one guy.

Jay: One of the best Instagram programs I’ve ever seen too.

Scott: Twenty hours a week is total of what they do. There are 100,000 employees. A million people recognize the brand. One guy. You can do something like that. Just be awesome.

Jay: Fantastic. Anything else?

Scott: No, that’s good.

Jay: All right.

Scott: Let’s stick with Denmark for now.

Jay: Fantastic. As a quarter Danish, I appreciate your shout-out and thank you very much. Always good to see you. This will do it for Episode 19 of Social Pros.

Instagram Lessons from a Giant B2B Company: Interview on Convince & Convert

This is an oldie by now: A couple of months ago I was interviewed by Jay Baer and Eric Boggs for an episode of Convince & Convert‘s Social Pros podcasts, a series where they basically talk to frontline social media people to get a hands-on perspective of the social media world.

You can listen to the interview here. Or download it here.

Some of @MaerskLine’s own instagrams side-by-side. Screendump from Flickr.

In short, they were impressed by the huge following Maersk Line has gained in a few months (e.g. 174,000 fans on Facebook at that point in time), and I explained the background of our social media engagement and the many different things we hope to achieve through our different social media channels.

Among other things, I explained about the visual track in our programme using Instagram and  Facebook and encouraging users to take photos of ships and containers and share them. That’s how the podcast got its title.