26 September 2013
Does Social media really work in the shipping industry? Do Likes, Followers, Fans convert into real dollars?
These were some of the most heard questions around the bars, exhibition halls, and conference venues this year as sceptics maintained that social media held little value for a people-based industry such as Shipping.
ShipServ’s 2012 Internet and Social Media Use in Shipping Survey of leading shipping companies and major suppliers showed a continued general trend of increased social media usage but there were still doubts over its effectiveness from senior management.
Leading Marketing consultancy Stark Moore Macmillan has now published a full blown report into the social media trends in Shipping and at first glance the sceptics look to have won the argument.
Its “Missing the Boat? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Social Media for Maritime Businesses” report investigates current trends in social media and just how maritime companies can use it to their benefit.
According to Stark Moore Macmillan the number of maritime organisations on social platforms is still small with the majority being publishers, journalists and non-commercial entities.
Maritime companies have to add the intricacies of the B2B maritime marketplace to the equation when using social media such as a far longer and more traditional sales cycle, more difficult higher-value purchases and the importance of reputation and expertise within the industry.
One of the key recommendations for maritime companies involves using social media not as a standalone tool that promises to grow your sales, but as part of an integrated digital strategy that is closely linked to the company’s sales goals.
As the report states: “It’s not fans, followers or retweets, but opportunities, leads and sales conversions.”
The report concludes that there are advantages – both strategic and tactical -if implemented as part of broader marketing plan.
At a strategic level, it is digital not social which is the trend with the most powerful influence within the maritime industry.
Digital encompasses much more than social and it offers more opportunities to the maritime industry.
It includes everything from changes to navigation and communications, to crew retention and welfare as well as new opportunities for suppliers. Social media is merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
At a tactical level, social media can be a good channel for maritime professionals to research their customers, competitors as well as enhancing their company’s reputation.
After all, as the report says B2B is an area where reputation and developing relationships plays an essential role and this is even more evident in the maritime industry.
To order a copy of the full report and get 50% off the price visit www.starkmooremacmillan.com/shipserv/missing-the-boat and use the discount code ‘shipserv2013? in the order form.