On Friday 14 September 2012, Maersk Line had a big night at the European Digital Communications Awards held in Berlin. Apart from winning in the category “Community Presence” in social media, we also won the award for “Social Media Campaign of the Year”, one of the three major awards on the night.
The jury gave the following reason for awarding Maersk Line:
“At an extremely low cost shipping giant Maersk Line has secured an astounding 420,000 fans on Facebook and a comprehensive presence on 8 other platforms – in less than 11 months. The company’s social media programme has changed the face of Maersk Line and is an example for other B2B companies to follow.”
Klavs Valskov, Head of Communication in Maersk Line, says: “This is very, very reaffirming, and I‘m especially proud when looking at who we were up against: A field of all the well-known international B2C brands. Actually, just being among the last three in a field of 500 entries was a big thing.”
According to Valskov, social media has a lot to offer Maersk Line. And any other B2B company for that matter – if done the right way.
It’s about communication, not marketing
Jonathan Wichmann, Maersk Line’s Head of Social Media, joined the company less than a year ago with the mission to get the company started on social media:
“Right from the beginning we were very conscious of the fact that social media is about communication, not marketing. It’s about connecting and engaging, not about pushing your products.”
He continues: “I think it says a lot that we won both “Social Media Campaign of the Year” and “Community Presence”. We never thought of it as a campaign, but rather as a way of being, a presence. If you treat social media as an add-on in the marketing department you’ve missed the point.”
Today, Maersk Line is present on 9 platforms and has its own website dedicated to social media at » http://maersklinesocial.com.
Loose control, insource and time it
The story of Maersk Line in social media is also about an organisation that was ready for it and a management that was not afraid to let go of the control.
“In Maersk Line we have been building up our communication efforts internally and externally since 2008. A year ago, I felt we were ready and mature enough to kick-start our social media presence,” explains Klavs Valskov, underlining that insourcing has been one of the key parameters for the successful jump-start.
“We knew we had to do it from the inside and insource the skills. Otherwise it's not credible, not cost-efficient, not real-time, and you miss the authenticity.”
What is the business value of social media?
In spite of the apparent success of Maersk Line's social media programme, the company is set to challenge the value of social media in a new study.
“We are constantly challenging status quo and are now asking ourselves about the business value of social media,” says Wichmann.
The new study has already caught the attention of both media and other B2B companies as it promises to be pioneering work on the topic.