With the digital era taking over, all types of businesses are opting for digital marketing strategies to promote their business and enhance their brand awareness. From the list of various techniques under digital marketing to promote businesses, social media marketing is a popular option. The reason for this is the popularity of different social media platforms. Almost every person is using at least one social media platform today. Earlier social media used to be a hangout spot for youngsters, but slowly people of all age groups started using it explicitly as it provides a medium to share messages, information and stay connected with your social circle. As a result, marketers sought this opportunity to promote their businesses online and started using social media for their businesses.
If you are an avid social media user, you may have noticed how the social media scene has changed over the years. More and more business pages have come up, and ads have become a common element of social media. Organic posting to promote business has also been used considerably. This trend is applicable to all types of businesses, including oil and gas companies. While oil and gas companies may not advertise their business as frequently as other businesses, they too need a good amount of exposure to sustain within their field and therefore, social media marketing is something that they should consider. You may have found online ads and blogs by oil and gas companies, but not many oil and gas companies opt for social media, perhaps thinking that their target audience will not be present on social media. However, this is not true. As mentioned earlier, almost every person is available on social media. So as a business owner, you should not miss out on any opportunity to promote your business on social media. Here are a few more reasons why social media is important for oil and gas companies.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Oil and Gas Companies
Social media marketing has been extensively used by businesses to promote themselves online. Some use it to attract clients and convert them on social media itself while some use it to direct more traffic to their website. Whatever you use it for, there are some really amazing benefits of social media marketing for oil and gas companies.
Aids Industry Alliance
The promotion of oil and gas industry is not restricted by location. Your product has a universal demand. Even if you have a small oil and gas business, you will still have some overseas clients. Now to build a relationship with offshore clients, you need to build a global awareness. Now promoting your products in another country can be a little expensive and you may have certain restrictions. This is where social media steps in. With the help of social media, you are able to reach out to a global audience without much constraints as social media has no boundaries. And not just global connections but also local connections can be built with the help of social media marketing. The key is to not use social media as a pure advertising platform, rather use it as a platform that enables you to build relations through interaction and communication. This interaction should revolve around sharing knowledge, industry discussion and audience engagement.
Recruiting for any industry used to initially depend on other means such as job referrals and portals. Today, the younger generation are not afraid to go after what they want. They are also very vocal about their views, especially on social media. This makes social media a great platform for headhunting and recruiting young talent. In fact, social media platforms like LinkedIn are designed purely for the purpose of professional socialising. This platform not only enables you to build connections among people within the same industry but also allows you to post job posting on your industry page to attract potential candidates.
Acts as an Educational Medium
Oil and gas industry is not a mainstream business. As the oil and gas industry is not as glamorous as fashion and retail brand, people may not have sufficient knowledge about your products and services. Only the people directly connected to the industry are aware of the happenings within the oil and gas industry. So lack of mass awareness leads to misinformation regarding what actually happens at an oil and gas company. One information that your company needs to spread is about your efforts for the environment and sustainability as this information is important for the masses. Even if oil and gas industries produce whitepapers and reports to keep the masses informed about their happenings, they are not able to grab as much attention. Social media, therefore, beneficial in educating people. How? You could use social media to promote the blogs and whitepapers you publish to grab their attention. Also, the microblogging platform of Twitter can also be used to provide quick news snippets to the audience. The smaller the message, the higher the chances of the audience reading it.
Social media platforms have a huge number of followers. This makes it a great place to build brand awareness for your oil and gas company. Social media platforms are varied. Facebook allows you to engage with your audience with multiple features. LinkedIn allows you to build professional connections, while Instagram enables you to post images about your business and products. While oil and gas industries may consider using Facebook and LinkedIn, they will be a little sceptical about Instagram. However, you can very well use Instagram as well. It is not necessary to have flashy product images to get people to follow you on Instagram. What you need to focus on is building a brand identity through the photos you upload. Apart from your project images and product images, you can upload images of the people who work for you, the work life of your employees and the different events that take place in your organisation. Take a look at the example given below.
Oil and gas industry should not limit their scope of promotion just because their business is not mainstream. In fact, the use of social media for oil and gas industry promotion is a smart move to tap a larger audience.
Social media marketing indeed has some amazing benefits for oil and gas companies that we discussed. However, these benefits will only reflect when you choose the right types of social media platforms for your businessand use it effectively to promote your products and services. While there are a huge number of options available in social media, the ones that are used extensively by a majority include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. Each of these social media platforms have their own set of benefits for every business. Now, we do not want you to overburden yourself by opening a business account on each and every platform. We have, therefore, selected a set of social media platforms that will be beneficial for your oil and gas company.
Facebook is one of the most extensively used social media platform on the internet today. It is also a platform that has the largest variety of active users. Hence, it is a highly preferred social media platform by businesses. Facebook has also adapted a lot over the years to accommodate different business types. It has incorporated many options that can help a business to not only promote but also get direct leads through their business page itself.
To begin with, by having a business page, you get the option to boost your posts which helps them to appear not only in the newsfeed of your current followers but also to non-followers. Apart from that, Facebook also allows you to create forms for direct enquiry that helps you get leads through your Facebook page. You could also make direct sales through your Facebook page by posting items on it. With so many features, you can easily use Facebook to not only engage and inform about your business but also to get leads.
Thinking from the point of view of your industry, you can use Facebook to promote a recently published blog or whitepaper so that more people are aware about it and your content will get more views. This will eventually get you more leads. You could also consider boosting posts that include a report about your recent oil site acquiring to make the audience aware about your growth. This will not only keep the masses informed about your growth, but also open new business avenues for your company at the new campsite, with people now aware that it is functional.
Even though YouTube is a social media platform, it is more like a search engine where people search for videos on different things. You can create your personal or business profile on YouTube and post videos to educate the masses about your industry. You can upload ‘How to’ videos about your products such as “How to use diesel to clean vehicle parts?” to educate the masses about its use. With such videos, you can become an expert in your field, globally. YouTube can also be used to showcase videos of events within your company to build an emotional connection with the audience.
LinkedIn is a social media platform to connect with professionals. If you use LinkedIn to publish content that has information about your industry and processes, it is likely to get more professional attention here as people from the similar industry will be reading it. This will have a dual benefit for you. You will not only enhance your visibility among the similar minded circle but will also be able to build more connections with other companies by showcasing your expertise in the field.
Twitter is a microblogging social media. It is called microblogging as it allows a user to post content in not more than 280 characters. While you may wonder how you can use such limited characters to promote your industry, there are multiple ways. In the limited characters, you can promote your new blog and other content along with the link. This will help in further promoting your content and getting more traffic to your oil and gas website. The tweets can also be retweeted by other people, thereby increasing your visibility.
These social media platforms are not only useful to spread awareness among your audience but also to engage with them and convert them into leads.
Oil and Gas Companies Using Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing benefits for the oil and gas industry are real, and this has already been recognised by big brands around the world. To put more emphasis on the benefits of social media for oil and gas industry, here are a few top oil and gas companies around the world who use different social media platforms to enhance their online presence.
Royal Dutch Shell, commonly known as Shell, is one of the most prominent companies in the oil and gas industry and the fifth largest company in the world as of 2018. With global operations, Shell has been able to build a brand name. But even after being a prominent name in the oil and gas sector, Shell Company is using social media marketing to keep its presence alive on the internet as well. Opting for social media marketing enables Shell Company to connect with millions of followers online. This proved that Shell Company is indeed a forerunner in the industry that is not only good at its service but is also adaptive to new ideas such as social media marketing. One prominent example of Shell’s social media efforts can be identified by the Shell’s Influenster campaign.
British Petroleum is another multinational oil and gas company. It has a long heritage from the time it was founded in the year 1909. Their social media pages include a lot of content around the people and focus more on having an interaction with their audience. In fact, their strategy is pretty engaging as they often post polls and hold contests about guessing their offshore locations. Also, British Petroleum posts content for the varied audience they have, including job seekers, industry vendors, general masses, etc. British Petroleum is also an adaptive company that has been introducing new technologies from the time of its initiation. British Petroleum constantly updates its social media pages with case studies to keep the masses informed of technologies that have been useful for years now.
Another multinational oil and gas company, ConocoPhillips is based out of Texas and the world’s largest independent pure-play exploration company. The company was formed after the merger of two American companies, Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Co. in 2002. The people at ConocoPhillips have a ‘SPIRIT Values’ theme. This theme stands for safety, people, integrity, responsibility, innovation and teamwork. This theme is constantly showcased on their social media pages. ConocoPhillips also uses its social media pages to introduce the new process and technological innovations. The company pays extra attention to the sustainability theme in their social media posts. They publish blogs, reports and videos around the theme of sustainability. A look at the Instagram page of the company will show you not only the different campsites of the company but also the people who work hard on these sites. A perfect balance.
Formerly famous as the Statoil and StatoilHydro, Equinor is a multinational energy company based out of Norway. The company deals in petroleum and wind energy production with operative quarters in more than 30 countries in the world. The company experienced a new wave when it decided to change its name. It also took a new step when it came forward to support the concept of digitalization. With so many changes taking place in the company, the same can be seen on their social media pages, where they keep the audience updated on not just what’s happening on their campsites but also their overall policies. If you take a look at the newsfeed, it reflects their ideology about digitalisation. Equinor even took an initiative to engage young minds by running a contest called the Young Imagineers, where they asked young minds to come up with ideas for a better tomorrow. This contest alone gained a lot of popularity on social media.
Another one of the seven super majors of the oil and gas industry is the Total Company from France. This company covers every function of the oil and gas industry which includes natural gas exploration, power generation, refining, petroleum products, crude oil, etc. The company has a fair social media presence. If you take a look at Total’s social media posts, they are focused on increasing engagement. A good example of the same is their LinkedIn profile. Apart from the general report and blog content posts, their LinkedIn profile has a contest post by the name, “What’s my job?”. This post was supported with graphics to help users guess the job profile. Total has been using a similar idea to run contests and keep the audience engaged.
Social Media Best Practices for Oil and Gas Companies
Going by the benefits, we spoke about and the real-life examples of large oil and gas firms around the world, there is no denying that social media is important for oil and gas companies. And if you are planning to use social media marketing for your company, you need to ensure that you do it right! Social media marketing is not just about simply posting content on your business page. It is a meticulous strategy that involves a lot of planning, scheduling and decision making. You cannot simply start social media marketing one fine day. Here are some best practices for social media marketing.
1. Work on Audience
We already discussed the fact that the oil and gas industry is not a mainstream business like retail and fashion. Considering that you are dealing with a raw material, you have a business that deals in B2B contracts. For businesses targeting the audience is very essential. You need to get very specific on your audience type even before you start choosing which social media platforms you are going to use. To identify this audience, you need to conduct a proper research. Start with your existing customers and clients. Find out which social media platform they prefer the most. You should also take a look at your competitors on social media and figure out what platforms they are using. Considering that most of your audience will be professionals from the oil and gas industry, LinkedIn is one social media platform that you should consider.
2. Maintain Consistency
We have shared the images of how the different social media pages of oil and gas companies look like. If you see the images again, you will notice that each of the companies have been consistent in maintaining their brand identity on their social platforms. This is essential as it makes it easy for the audience to identify you on social media and connect your online presence with your real presence. Ensure that your brand logo, company details, contact details, etc. are consistent throughout different platforms. Even though it is social media, being professional in your brand identity is a must.
3. Analyze Your Performance
Social media marketing is done with the intention to not only promote your business but also to engage with the audience and create a relationship. Now if you post regularly on your social media pages and keep getting likes and comments, then it means you are doing well. However, you cannot measure exactly how well your strategy is performing unless you view the analytics to measure your performance. Social media platforms provide analytical data which enables a business profile user to measure how their posts, sponsored content and ads are performing.
4. Always Respond
When we talk about engagement, it should not be a one-way communication. Both you and the users should interact with each other. If you plan to post an interesting content that requires the user to comment and then not reply to their comment, you may lose their attention and interest. Communication should always be complete. So if you have followers and audience that are posting comments and queries on your social media, make sure you reply to every relevant comment with a good answer. This gives the audience a sense of importance and also portrays you as an organization that listens and provides prompt solution to its customers.
By now, we have discussed so many factors that prove how social media marketing is important for oil and gas companies. In fact, social media is a fuel to your digital marketing fire . Keeping this in mind, we would recommend that you don’t just take up one form of digital marketing but combine a few types to create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for your business.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.