The way companies like Shell communicate, influence and manage brand and reputation has fundamentally changed over the past five years due to progress in social media and mobile technology. Customers, stakeholders, and citizens now have very high expectations for companies to communicate with and engage them in more open and transparent ways. From a communications perspective, we needed a strategy that is proactive and engages our key audiences around the world in ways that help them better understand our services, and in turn allows us to understand their concerns, issues and challenges as we deliver on our business objectives. On February 15 2012, the Shell Facebook site (www.facebook.com/shell) was officially launched. Shell’s presence on Facebook provides an excellent basis to further leverage our messages, educate and inform communities, attract the best and brightest talent, and expand our brand influence/reach. Energy is a complex industry that affects every person on the planet. There are many socioeconomic, environmental and geopolitical issues surrounding the energy industry that require a great deal of education and exchange with people of all ages, cultures and in all countries in order to progress. Shell's senior management endorsed the company's progressive entry into social media (starting with Facebook) driven by a need to engage with people in a way that reflects the realities of the world that we operate in today. To ensure a relevant presence on the main social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), The Shell Social Media Center of Excellence (CoE) was created in 2011 as part of the larger design of its communication strategy to help the company and its many divisions adapt to and navigate within these important changes in a strategic and focused way. The main objectives in creating a brand presence on these social media platforms are to: • Give Shell a "human voice" - be more approachable; • Get closer to our customers - building relationships beyond investors, industry experts and media; • Interact and engage credibly with our target audiences while maintaining alignment with business strategy. The team recommended putting a focus on increasing engagement on Facebook and ensuring Shell content was generating “likes", “comments" and “shares". Putting more emphasis on engagement and advocacy allowed us to promote conversations not just on the “easy" topics, but on topics that concern communities within which we operate. Since launch we have experienced over 2.1 million “likes," comments and “shares," and in many cases turned outspoken opponents into supporters. Although Shell was not the first energy company to embrace social media, we've been the fastest growing, and are now leading all others by measure of followers. Within 10 weeks of our Facebook effort, we surpassed 900,000 followers and reached 1 million fans on May 18th, 2012. Our 2 millionth fan "liked" us on November 15th, and on February 2nd 2013, we surpassed 3 million fans. If momentum continues, we hope to reach 4 million fans by June! We view our implementing Facebook and other key platforms into the communications mix as a success in raising awareness of Shell’s approach to responsible operations and sustainability. We are learning daily as to "why" people are following and engaging with us and look forward to building upon this knowledge going forward.
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