With operations across 22 states, Norfolk Southern strives to engage communities and other stakeholders through a variety of communication channels, from social media to local civic clubs.
Norfolk Southern uses social media to put a face on a Fortune 300 company. Posting videos, photos, and tweets that highlight employees and the work they do helps the company connect with communities and educate people about the economic, environmental, and social benefits of rail.
As of early 2015, the railroad had more than 63,847 fans on Facebook, 17,500 followers on Twitter, and 4,088 followers on Instagram. We also have a presence on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, and Snapchat, with 21,215 followers across those channels. Norfolk Southern’s YouTube page has more than 6,500 subscribers and 2.4 million video views.
When it comes to discussing rail transportation, Norfolk Southern employees are the company’s best advocates. In 2014, volunteers through the company’s Thoroughbred Speakers Network gave more than two dozen presentations to civic, historical, neighborhood, and professional organizations. Speakers included a hazardous materials compliance officer, an assistant division superintendent, a chief dispatcher, and a trainmaster.
During 2014, CEO Wick Moorman gave more than a dozen presentations to groups as diverse as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Harvard Business School, and the South Carolina Forestry Association.
“Our mission is not only to educate the public about what we do and how we do it, but also to share an inside look at what it means to be a railroader. We have a lot of pride in our craft and we want to convey that in our communications.”
director public relations
Norfolk Southern’s Exhibit Car, a restored 1926 Pullman car, is a mobile museum that gives visitors a hands-on view of the company’s history and current contributions to U.S. freight transportation. In 2014, the Exhibit Car made a public tour by rail through Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Tennessee.
A locomotive simulator, complete with throttle, brake, and horn, is a popular display, putting visitors in control of a virtual freight train. A new game, “Load the Line,” challenges players to match freight products with the correct type of rail car. The Exhibit Car also features displays about the railroad’s volunteer programs, safety, and sustainability.