In about two months, energy supermajor Royal Dutch Shell gained a Facebook following of almost 1 million.  The world’s largest shipping company, Maersk, now has a following of nearly 300,000 on Facebook.  Chevron has 190,000, and ExxonMobil, in stark contrast, doesn’t even have a Facebook page.

One might look at these numbers and say, “well, they’re both huge global brands with hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide.  Getting a huge followership on Facebook should be a simple task.”

Not true at all.  In fact Shell only has 1,000 followers in the Netherlands, which is home to 10,000 Shell employees.

Using social media outlets like Facebook to your advantage takes a lot of effort and investment.  People don’t just “Like” you on Facebook because of your name.  They like you because you’ve figured out a way to engage with them, or allowed engagement, in a way that is personally meaningful.

The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Rooney recently interviewed Herbert Heitmann, EVP for External Communications at Royal Dutch Shell.  Here’s some insight into why Shell decided to make the leap into social media, and what they found in the process.

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