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Social media is about communicating, not marketing

This is the mantra of Jonathan Wichmann – the man behind container shipping company Maersk Line’s social media presence.  It may not be groundbreaking, but how many companies really follow it when it comes to social media?

Having launched Maersk’s social media strategy in 2011, Wichmann has built a following of more than one million ‘likes’ on Facebook. Maersk is also present on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn. Wichmann has even created an Instagram account to help track down lost containers that have swept up on beaches or elsewhere.

You may well be wondering what a shipping company could possibly be doing on social media. The answer is proving that engaging content comes in many guises.

The key to Maersk’s success on social networks has been remembering that social media isn’t just about selling, and therefore it’s not just about engaging with customers either. Just 15-17% of Maersk’s Facebook fans are customers, but the company sees a much bigger picture when it comes to the benefits of a strong social presence – including better press coverage, employee engagement, brand awareness and broader insights into the industry. By regularly sharing photos, maps of its ships’ paths and blogs about their activity, Maersk is reaching out to a wider audience and reaping the benefits mentioned above as well as many more.

What’s more, Maersk is embracing the negative to a very effective extent. Of course, no company wants to shout about its flaws, but they are also something that shouldn’t be hidden. After all, if you don’t address them someone else will. An example of this approach was seen back in June when one of Maersk’s ships hit and killed a whale. Using social media the company explained what had happened, and how it had affected them – they were sad too. Their Q&A article about the event was widely shared and readers responded by empathising with Maersk’s sadness rather than blaming them.

As Wichmann told CorpComms Magazine, there is clearly “untold potential in just being there and being loved by people”.

To speak to us about developing your presence online, get in touch via copy@strattoncraig.co.uk or call us (020 7593 4014) to speak to one of our account managers.

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