With 120,000 Twitter followers who consistently engage with the brand, we thought we’d see what we can learn from them, and pass these insights onto you.
If you’ve read our last blog post, you’ll know how important it is that you, as an engineering firm, take social media seriously. And the reasons for this are simple: for the majority of brands, social media is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. It is an integral part of a well-rounded strategy from both a lead generation and brand management perspective.
In fact, we’re already seeing this sentiment reflected in businesses’ changing approaches to social media. For instance, in 2014, 92% of marketers labelled social media marketing as important for their business, according to Social Media Examiner. Considering this is a rise of 6% since 2013, it’s clear where we’re heading: businesses are starting to wake up and realise the potential of social media.
And you need to follow suit.
So, to help you get the most out of social media marketing for engineering brands, we’ve had a look at one of the best examples of B2B social media use: Maersk Line. With 120,000 Twitter followers who consistently engage with the brand, we thought we’d see what we can learn from them, and pass these insights onto you (oh aren’t we kind?)
Here are the top three things we’ve learned:
1. Be open
At Catalyst, we believe that your brand is what your customers think, feel and believe it is. Your ‘Brand’ therefore is not what you say it is – no, your brand is actually what your customers says it is – typically when you’re not in the room. This off course limits the extent to which you can directly control your brand perception through marketing. Tone-of-voice, logos and other vital branding tools aside, it is therefore, your actions, sentiment and day-to-day operational conduct that will ultimately allow you to effectively influence
how your brand is perceived.
Honesty is often the best policy, especially in social media. For instance, consider Maersk Line’s reaction to striking down a whale in 2012. While many organisations would opt to bring in the PR and reputation management guys, offer well-worded yet empty apologies, or simply remain silent in such a situation, Maersk faced the situation head-on.
Maersk Line recognised the gravitas of the situation, apologised, and most importantly, provided in-depth answers as to what were likely to be the most common questions about the disaster. They detailed what happened and why, outlined their efforts to prevent similar disasters happening again, and even went into detail regarding their sustainability strategy, compliance and future plans to protect the environment. Not bad.
As a result of this Facebook post, Maersk Line received mostly positive comments, the post soon becoming the most shared on the page with a 1:1 like to share ratio. As the comments alone prove, this level of transparency is important to earning the respect and trust of your audience. And when it comes to your brand, trust is everything: it makes you credible and helps to remove the barriers to your audience believing in your marketing collateral and propositions.
2. Adopt a “glocal” approach
Albeit somewhat of a marketing buzzword (we know, we hate them too), the ‘glocal’ approach is exactly what it says on the tin – and it works.
‘Glocality’ in a nutshell, refers to a means of creating local adaptations of a global strategy, particularly relevant and effective for engineering and manufacturing firms operating in foreign territories where there are major cultural, logistical and legal considerations.
In social media context, this is something Maersk also do very well, entrusting over 150 communications managers across the globe to post local news on a single global Facebook page. They also extend this approach to other social channels such as Twitter, where they have dedicated pages for different countries and territories.
Granted you might not have the luxury of a fleet of communications managers at your disposal, but there are still important lessons to be learned here, not least of which is an idea of content tailored to your audience. This is how Maersk Line is able to post on various channels to different markets and still attract a consistent level of engagement and success across all platforms. Maersk Line think ‘glocal’, taking into consideration local current affairs and trends and using this as the razor with which they sculpt their messaging accordingly. This not only keeps the right audiences engaged, but prevents Maersk Line from disengaging audiences in areas where certain posts are not relevant. Simple.
So, if you’re expanding into different territories, you too need to bridge the gap between your wider strategy and the needs of your audiences. This will maintain a consistent brand and stay relevant. This is also where segmentation and research come in, bringing us to our next point.
3. Measure, refine, research
In social media, research allows you to discover the right metrics, which then allows you to effectively define and measure progress, which then allows you to refine your strategies and tactics – what a perfect system.
Unsurprisingly, Maersk Line have smashed this area too. In fact, they’ve developed their own formula. Based on the last ten posts, they add up the number of likes, comments (multiplied by two) and shares (multiplied by four as they hold more weight in terms of engagement).
The Social Media Engagement Formula*
*for the last ten posts
Likes + Comments (x2) + Shares (x4)
This value is then used as a means of direct comparison between brands, reflecting their most recent level of engagement. You can see below that in June 2012, Maersk were more engaging than Disney, GE and Shell. It is worth noting that as of 2016, their Twitter follower count has doubled.
Of course this system is not relevant for every brand or industry, and it might not be right for you. However, it has provided Maersk Line with a very simple method of comparison when assessing their social feeds. We suggest you do the same. It doesn’t have to be a formula, but the underlying principles need to be the same; you need to create a system that allows you to monitor the success of your social channels.
And this is where you’ll need to conduct some research.
The more you use social, the more you will understand what type of engagement converts to leads, the type of content that works best, and the channels that perform the best. Once you’ve got a handle on this, you won’t have to waste time on strategies that don’t deliver marketing Return On Investment (ROI).