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Let’s step things up and be more social

Social media is here to stay, and trucking companies would benefit if utilized properly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s important to be social, for people and companies, and for those in the trucking industry, it’s no different.

Transportation leaders and those in operations and IT all benefit from a strong social media effort. Sharing company developments, joining in conversations, communicating services, recruiting, negotiating, coordinating, and providing customer service are all that much easier when social media platforms are used.

According to Francisco Martinez, vice-president of social media and influencer marketing for Zen Media, there are six easy steps to social media success.

The first seems like an easy one – listen.

Speaking during Omnitracs Outlook 2018 in Nashville, Tenn., Martinez said listening is not always as simple as it sounds, and it is important to hear what people are saying about your company to gain insight, conduct market research, improve customer service, and ultimately to reach out to current and potential customers.

“Your intent matters,” said Martinez. “People are tired of being inundated with sales pitches.”

Acknowledging that a company must sell its product to make money, Martinez said though businesses should use social media to work toward selling its product, it should not be the initial intent, but rather lead to a sales pitch at some point down the line.

The second key to social media success is to define your objectives. Trucking companies must look at what they want to accomplish as a business, develop a strategy to do so, define their performance indicators, and have their social media personnel work in tandem with other departments if they are to find success.

“Like every other department in your company is financially successful, you have to treat your social media the same way,” Martinez said.

Setting goals is another important step. Increasing online traffic, raising awareness of the company, generating leads, and increasing thought leadership are all realistic targets to set.

A helpful tool in creating these goals is to be S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, and time-bound – and to hold your social media department accountable to this metric.

Segmenting your audience by determining who they are and why they are interested in your message is also important.
“If you listen and segment properly, people will listen,” Martinez explained, adding that when advertising campaigns are tailored for a particular segment, the customer understands and appreciates that.

Next, you must chose the appropriate social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, among others.

But each offers their own unique qualities.

“You’re the same person on Facebook as you are on LinkedIn, you’re just in a different form,” Martinez said of the distinction between how a company, or individual, uses each of the platforms.

Francisco Martinez.

Delivering content strategy is the fifth step in a successful social media strategy.

Companies must look at the type of content they want to provide, as well as frequency, define the content objectives, and assign roles.

Martinez said companies should tailor the content they post so that 80% adds value to the business and brand, while the remaining 20% should be sales in nature.

“The problem isn’t that there is nothing to post,” said Martinez of the time commitment a social media effort involves, “the problem is that people don’t think of all the stuff they can post.”

Reactions to social media posts, such as reach, comments, shares, clicks, and engagement, are important, as they show whether the effort is working and how many people are interacting with the content.

The final step in a social media campaign is to engage and facilitate. This includes creating attractive content that people want to share and react to, engaging the company as a brand, and making the content sharable.

If your company’s social media efforts are successful, then you are ahead of the game. Martinez said it’s not always about the content, but rather whether you’re engaging current customers and potential customers. And even if a social media expert would do it differently, you can’t argue with success.

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