DAILY NEWS Oct 17, 2012 5:07 PM - 0 comments

Canadian trucking firms missing out on social media opportunities

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By: James Menzies

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Canadian transportation companies are missing out on many of the benefits that can be gained from a well-executed social media strategy, according to speakers at the Surface Transportation Summit held today.

The event, hosted by Motortruck Fleet Executive, Canadian Transportation & Logistics and Dan Goodwill & Associates, brought together more than 200 shipper and carrier executives.

Dan Goodwill, president of Dan Goodwill & Associates, said that of the global population of seven billion people, a billion of them now have Facebook accounts. More than 85% of logistics professionals are on Facebook, 22% on Twitter and 19% on LinkedIn, Goodwill pointed out. Motor carriers that don’t have a social media presence are missing out on opportunities to connect with prospective hires, clients and business partners, he added.

Lee Palmer, president of Palmer Marketing, agreed that Canadian transport companies are not keeping pace with their American counterparts in this emerging world. Palmer’s firm looked at the social media activity of the top 100 fleets in the US and Canada and found while the American carriers were well represented, most of the Canadian ones were not.

“In Canada, the small guys have turned to (social media) marketing more so than the big guys,” Palmer said. “The smaller companies have been quicker to react to the new media…some really big players in Canada just aren’t participating.”

Palmer said social media should not replace traditional marketing methods, but rather complement them.

“Social media is another arrow in your quiver,” he said. “Everybody receives a message a different way, it’s just a matter of spreading it out and seeing what works best for you.”

Benefits of creating a social media program include: access to drivers and other prospective employees; the ability to create online communities for employees and customers; enhanced brand awareness; and greater online visibility.

Goodwill said social media can play a vital role in building a sales pipeline, as it can be used to identify new leads and also to keep track of key contacts as they change positions. Before jumping into the fray, however, Goodwill said it’s a good idea to set some objectives and guidelines. To start, he said a company should determine what it wants its online identity to be.

“What do you want customers to know about you?” he asked. “Figure out how you want to present yourself to the world.”

He also encouraged companies to spend some time “listening” to determine what’s already being said about them online. Social media activities should be entrusted to those who will represent the company well, avoiding poor grammar or offensive language. Once you get started, Palmer said, staying active is vital.

“There’s no room for one-night stands in social media,” he quipped. “The worst thing you can do is engage and stop, or engage poorly.”

He also cautioned delegates to avoid chest-pounding, and to provide meaningful content on a regular basis.

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