Emma Streets of BLUE Communications looks at the growing influence of social media in the shipping industry.
As we approach the end of 2012, it appears that everyone is searching for opinions and genuine, honest feedback on the use of social media in shipping. It is clear that the role of digital communications within the industry has piqued the interest of a range of maritime organisations.
Driven by the online evangelists and early adopters such as Maersk’s award-winning social media presence and Lloyd’s List, who recently hosted a successful Tweet wall at their Global Awards event, previous cursory talk of social media as a means of tapping into the latest ‘water cooler’ topic is increasingly being translated into action.
This is an encouraging development, particularly considering that the swathe of social media information and trends that are so readily devoured by many media commentators and consultants often only really apply to FMCG brands.
Translating this use of social media into an industry as unique as shipping is a challenge. But by asking the right questions to reveal how this channel is used, shipping and its communications professionals will be ideally placed to create sound social media strategy that fits the profile of maritime service providers, as part of an integrated communications programme. This will enable the industry to unlock the potential that was highlighted by gCaptain last week.
It is often said that crisis communications and the threat of ‘losing control’ is a powerful motivator for establishing an online presence. Whilst this remains true, viewing social media positively as a platform to open up your brand to wider interaction and truths from the very audiences with which you will need to communicate can reveal significant opportunity to enhance your business.
There is no doubt that taking the plunge into this channel requires thought, resource and content. However if this is fundamentally based in truth; credible data and information about how your audiences communicate, where, why and when, then the key ingredients for success are there.