How I Made Social Media Marketing Work And Earned $1.5M In 4 Weeks

Some background first. I’ve been working with digital strategy and communication for more than 10 years. Among other things, I was the person behind Maersk’s success story on social media back in 2011-13.

I have always believed – and have been quoted saying – that you should not use social to sell, but to communicate. You can sell your products elsewhere, via platforms where it’s what people actually want from you. Via your newsletter, for example.

Ebook: “10 Reasons B2B Companies Need Social Media”

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.

“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.

Sharing Breathtaking Photos of Ships: Here’s Why I Just Launched @ShipsInPics on Twitter

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 10.26.37You might call it plagiarism. And to some extent, it really is. I just find – not least after reading this article by Alexis C. Madrigal in The Atlantic – that what @HistoryInPics is doing is really, really interesting.

Social Media Marketing Has Always Been Dead

dead-sparrow-314385_1280 I never understood social media marketing. To my best understanding, social media has never been about marketing. It has always been about communication. In essence, what happened 10 years ago with Facebook, MySpace and other social networks was that companies got sidelined as part of the web became social.

Up until that point companies were largely capable of pushing marketing messages to consumers where they wanted to and how they wanted to.

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.

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.

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?”

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.

Hire a journalist, not a marketer: A view on how corporates should do social media

A few months ago I learned that the Maersk Line approach to social media is “radical”. I don’t see it that way. But I understand where it’s coming from: Our Social Media Team is rooted in Communication, not Marketing, and we therefore have a different approach to things.

We’re not trying to manufacture anything. Rather, we’re trying to tell the stories that are already there, including those that are important for the business to communicate, e.g. about our new incredible mega ships, our efforts to reduce bunker fuel consumption, our knowledge within refrigerated transport or simply the company history.

Apart from focusing on stories that are vivid, crisp and visual, it’s crucial that they are honest, down-to-earth and credible. Otherwise they don’t travel well in social media, if at all.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/62085613 w=460&h=259]

The exception that proves the rule: This timelapse is evidence that we do ‘manufacture’ stories a bit from time to time. Almost 1 million people have viewed it so far.