What is it worth? The question posed by many people when they have read about this or that company focusing on social media. And that is exactly the question, Jonathan Wichmann, Head of Social Media in Maersk Line, wants to answer in a new study. Until the end of the year, he wil in cooperation with a number of international companies try to find out if it pays off for a company like Maersk Line to be present on the social media.
“Our goal is to valuate our presence. A lot of people in Maersk Line are happy with our presence but sooner or later the question rises: What is it worth? That is the question we are going to answer with our study. It may well be that we discover it to have no value or that it is not worth the time we spend on it. In that case, we will have to shut it down”, Jonathan Wichmann says.
Therefore, the goal of the study, which Jonathan Wichmann expects will take up a couple of hundred pages, is to find the value of the use of different kinds of social media in different parts of the organisation and furthermore, to find out if the use should be changed in order to make the returns as high as possible.
“It may well be that the returns of invested workforce is high at the moment but maybe it could become even higher if we invested some more. We have to find the point of intersection between returns and investments”.
Ready to be surprised
Maersk Line has had an extensive use of social media for about a year and its activities are mentioned by many as a good example of a way in which shipping companies can use social media.
“My first thought is that the use of social media corresponds really well with the Maersk Line focus on customers and costs. It activates and informs our customers while helping to make our business more efficient”, says Jonathan Wichmann who nevertheless says he is taking an objective approach to the task before him and that he is ready to be surprised.
He has made arrangements with a number of companies in order to obtain inputs to the study. These include e.g. General Electric, Dell and Red Bull. Furthermore, SeaIntel has accepted to contribute. And it is very important to get people such as Lars Jensen from SeaIntel to contribute as he has an insight in the container market and not a background in social media.
“It is important that we are not just a group of communicators specialised in the use of social media. We need to have concrete data and an honest examination of the use of social media which will also be read and have a value in ten years. It is clear that I would be sad if I end up writing that social media is the way to go for companies and it turns out that no companies use it in five years. Therefore, it is important that our conclusions prove to be correct”, says Jonathan Wichmann.
He has experienced much interest from parties ready to be part of the study. For instance, the consultancy group McKinsey, who has produced a report over companies’ use of social media, has accepted to take part just as a lot of other experts will take part in so-called hangouts, online video conferences in which the subject is discussed.
According to the McKinsey report, the use of social media may increase the efficiency of a company’s office staff by as much as 25 percent. This is e.g. caused by the easier access to information through social media compared to more traditional ways. The McKinsey report also points to the marketing, sales and communication potentials in social media. Therefore, Jonathan Wichmann thinks the study has many interesting aspects and as a part of the study, it will be looked into if and how the use of social media may be used in other parts of Maersk Line.