There’s a lot of talk in the industry about “The Great Crew Change.” Baby Boomers are retiring and leaving the industry. Soon, more than one-third of the workers in the U.S. oil industry will relinquish their roles to others. It’s true that hiring is always an important topic in the oilpatch. But these days, the skills needed to fill the positions are different. And, the people filling those positions are different, too.
A recent article in the Houston Post included this observation about the crew change at hand:
“‘The Great Crew Change’ coincides with ‘The Digitalization of Everything,’ changing the prerequisites for even the most basic jobs in the oil and gas industry. This new approach to work couldn’t come soon enough for an industry that struggles to attract and excite young people who have grown up in the digital world.”
How will companies adapt to this change? How will you overcome the challenges to connect with these digital doers – whether they are looking for a job or looking to hire your company?
THE INTERNET IN THEIR POCKETS
With this big change, we set out to learn how well oil and gas companies who are working in Oklahoma were positioned to attract and keep these new hires who communicate each day via a digital dialogue.
As you know, this younger workforce has grown up with the internet in their pockets. They build and sustain relationships online. Those under 40 do a lot of their work online — in the cloud. And, they research everything, using multiple sources.
Forbes magazine reminds us that millennials value peer recommendations more than internal studies. These young guys want experiences they can share and that make them feel good. In addition, their desire to know all the specs about what they want to buy before they ever purchase it, drives them online longer. From beer coolers to fishing gear to buying their next cars – they are online – usually on their phone, learning what’s best.
We looked at some of the most important online metrics to establish a baseline. We explored questions like:
- How many oil & gas related companies have a website?
- If they have a site, is the website secure and mobile friendly?
- Does the website show up on the first page of a Google search?
- Do these companies use social media to communicate with stakeholders and employees?
- Are there pages auto-created by Google or Facebook with their company names that the companies don’t own and use?
WE SET OUT TO SPOT THE TRENDS
Our goal was to identify the leaders, the followers, and who was stuck in the nondescript middle.
Leaders. We wanted to learn whether or not companies working in and around the oilfield in Oklahoma had jumped out in front of this generational change. How many companies are well positioned to attract and keep their audience?
Laggers. What about the other end of the spectrum? Were very many companies lagging behind? Are there companies in desperate need of playing catchup?
Lost-in-the-middle. Were there missed opportunities to educate and captivate an audience? Were there occurrences where companies could dominate their sector on Google, but they hadn’t developed their brand online? Were they simply putting forth a digital face that was static, uninformative, and uninteresting?
Our research focused on 100 oil and gas related companies that are working in Oklahoma. They were most often working in the SCOOP/STACK and Merge plays. We looked at E&P’s, operators, and service companies. We examined the digital footprint of companies of various sizes. Our research took in companies with annual revenue ranging from under $500,000 to more than $100 million annually. We reviewed companies with a small workforce of at least 5 employees to companies who employ several hundred.
The breakdown fell into 3 main buckets for revenue:
- 26% = $500K – $1M annual revenue
- 29% = $1M – $2.5M annual revenue
- 36% = $2.5M+ annual revenue
For the workforce, we can also group them into 3 main buckets:
- 32% = 5 – 9 employees
- 38% = 10 – 20 employees
- 28% = 21+ employees
The results of the website research informs us that barely over half of the companies (55) had a website at all. Of that half that had a site, 11% were more than 5 years old. (And, you should know that “website years” are a lot more like “dog years” than “human years.”)
NEARLY ONE-HALF DON’T HAVE A WEBSITE
- 61% of the companies with a website were flagged by Google as “not secure.”
- 35% of the companies with a website were not mobile compliant – their sites were not easily viewed on a phone.
Of those companies with a website, 56% did not have a page for career opportunities, company culture, or job applications. And 74% did not have a company news page or blog that could entice new employees and companies looking to work with you to learn more.
- 56% of the companies with a website do not have a page for job applicants
- 74% of the companies with a website do not share company news and updates
SOCIAL MEDIA RESULTS
Social media is increasingly important to companies in the oil and gas industry. For example, networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer companies a way to brand themselves. It is easy to demonstrate online a good company environment and culture. If companies take control of their messaging, then they let potential business partners know about their reliability and trustworthiness.
Also, social media gets you out amongst the people so relationships can be strengthened with stakeholders, other businesses, and employees. Finally, a strong social media presence gives companies a way to both connect and to differentiate.
One thing of interest is auto-generated pages. If enough public information can be gathered, both Facebook and LinkedIn will create a company/business page based on that public information. Many of the oil and gas related companies in our research had these “auto-generated” social media pages. Unfortunately, they weren’t claimed and owned. On top of that, many of these pages had followers connected to the page or reviews made by those followers. Sadly, the companies did not take advantage of their ready-made audiences to promote their brands.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR OIL AND GAS
- 36% have a Facebook presence
- Only 12% even use it
- 33% have a LinkedIn presence
- Only 18% have branded their page with a header image or description
- Only 8% ever post to their followers on LinkedIn
GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS
Like Facebook and LinkedIn, Google frequently creates a Google business page for companies, based on information Google can find online about the company. This Google business page shows up on the side of search results and “features” the company. This is called the Google “knowledge panel” or “knowledge pack.” It is actually a great service to the business because it stands out from the other search results.
The problem is that even though most companies in our study have a knowledge panel, they are not taking advantage of it because they have not claimed it so they can control the words and pictures that are displayed on the page.
THE GOOGLE KNOWLEDGE PANEL
- Nearly 80% have a Google knowledge panel for their company.
- Barely over half (55%) have claimed it and added their own content.
In conclusion, the interesting thing we discovered in this study is that the size of the company usually did bore little correlation to the scope or the quality of that company’s online presence. There were some small companies who were doing things right with their web and social media. They were already communicating with the new crew. And yet, many of the large companies that you would think would be well-equipped were sorely behind the times online. They were and are surprisingly unsophisticated and ill-prepared to compete in the digital world.
You are standing in a good place right now. Whether large or small, you are at a crossroads. If you get a mobile, secure website, then you jump out ahead of the competition. If you add a job board and a company news blog, then you stake your claim as a leader in the online world. Additionally, the list of features to turn your website from an online brochure into a useful tool is long. But, if you are serious about change, at least don’t continue to neglect the most basic elements of mobile accessibility and frequent content updates.
Next, in the area of social media, there are a plethora of opportunities to build your business. At the very least, claim your social media pages, brand them with the message you want people to know about your company, and engage with your stakeholders. Then you will establish your company as a trusted partner and a great place at which to work.
Developing your digital footprint is a relatively small investment in the future growth of your company. The returns are high. And yet, the price for not investing is to miss out on the attraction of the guys and gals in the great crew change. Failure to adapt is failure to perform, and in the end can be failure to survive.
DIGITAL MARKETING DONE RIGHT FOR OIL & GAS
In this report, we took a look around the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma, and gathered some data for you. We researched a few high profile companies within the oil and gas sector to see what they are doing with their digital marketing. Then, we put together a list that highlights some of their online marketing strengths. The results can shape your marketing decisions and help your business grow. Review the list. Compare your own website and social media presence to what they’ve done well. I believe the highlights will spark ideas for you.