December 17, 2018
Social Climbers is FTI Consulting’s research series which examines and compares the social media performance of some of the world’s largest sectors. In this edition we shine a spotlight on shipping, a traditionally conservative sector, known for relying on its deep relationships and trust between companies and individuals – and yet, increasingly it seems, willing to share its stories with the outside world through social media.
Looking at what is widely recognised as the world’s ten most prominent ship managers, we discovered many similarities in how the companies are presenting themselves online – with all ten active on social media, counting a combined following of over 400,000.
Whereas a few years ago we would be drawing a distinction between ship managers that were using social media and those who were not, now it is evident that some of these companies are really getting to know the ropes. They are investing more time and effort to tell their corporate stories, and those edging forward are considering the nuances of each of the different platforms and adapting their messaging as appropriate.
Our analysis ranked social media engagement by each ship manager based on three categories: presence, audience and impact. The scores for each category were combined to generate our Shipping Index on page 3, with Anglo-Eastern topping the list in performance terms and Wilhelmsen coming in at a close second.
To measure the effectiveness of each ship manager’s presence, FTI broke the measurement into three categories assessing: the presence, or staticdigital footprint of a firm; audience, based on follower numbers; and impact, based on average engagement per post.
Whilst those lagging behind are using the same messaging on every social media platform, our first rate ship managers have worked out how to tell their stories in a way which meets audience expectations across the social media landscape.
Impactful images of vessels saw the highest levels of engagement on Instagram
Ship managers who were able to link their Twitter content to broader industry trends, in particular digital transformation, outperformed inward- looking businesses
Work It Smarter – Our three leaders, Anglo-Eastern, Wilhelmsen and Thome Group, are active on all four platforms analysed. They employ cross-pollination, so they’re not necessarily creating more content, but they’re working smarter with it, repurposing visuals and insights to meet differing audience expectations across the channels.
Demonstrate Your Expertise – Many of the more progressive ship managers are leveraging existing insights to drive interactions and grow their networks, particularly on Twitter. Wilhelmsen is a great example of this. The business repurposes insights and reframes them in the context of ongoing topical discussion, enabling it to perpetuate the visibility of existing content.
Empower Employees – Many of the ship managers analysed have recognised the role of social media – in particular, Facebook and Instagram – in keeping employees up-to-date and engaged. They are also building advocates who are encouraged to post their own work-related content, which is typically trusted and engaged with more than branded corporate materials.
FTI Consulting’s London-based Digital practice partners with corporate brands to design effective online reputation management strategies, covering issues and crisis communications, influencer identification and outreach, content and channel strategy, paid and creative campaigning.
We work with clients at all stages of digital maturity, from early-stage set-up, requiring governance, social media architecture and content planning, to expert in-house digital teams requiring contingency or specialist support.