Having entrenched itself into the lives of so many, it’s now abundantly clear that social media isn’t just a passing fad. It may take on new platforms over the years, but in one form or another, an ever-larger segment of the folks...
Having entrenched itself into the lives of so many, it’s now abundantly clear that social media isn’t just a passing fad. It may take on new platforms over the years, but in one form or another, an ever-larger segment of the folks in the trucking industry will be using technology to exchange ideas, learn and share information.
Colleague Adam Ledlow and I recently gave a presentation on social media to the Toronto Trucking Association and we’ll be following it up with a similar talk at the Private Motor Truck Council conference in June.
Interest in this subject is growing, but why? I think it’s quite simple: Social media allows you to engage, to inform and to be informed on a continuous basis.
Another reason to be interested in social media is that your customers are interested, and so too are your competitors. How are your competitors engaging your customers? Are they making overtures at your drivers? Don’t get left out of the conversation.
Mike McCarron, managing partner of MSM Transportation, columnist for Motortruck Fleet Executive and blogger on Trucknews.com, has written and spoken about his a-ha moment in relation to social media, what he cleverly describes as “this generation’s version of the cocktail party.”
During a presentation on the subject at last year’s Ontario Trucking Association convention, he explained why he’s decided to get involved. “When I saw the stats and did some reading, I found out that our customers were making big decisions using social media,” McCarron said. “We were using an old-fashioned relationship model. It scared me a little bit; the power equation has shifted. I don’t control the perception anymore – that’s controlled by the engagement that I have out there.”
Others are coming to that realization as well. Last year, a handful of Canadian trucking companies had a presence on the social networking site Twitter. That list is growing each week.
And then there’s Facebook, which is increasingly being used by companies to create an online community for their drivers. Think of the isolation a driver feels while on the road. How often do drivers change companies because they feel they have nobody to call when faced with challenges while far away from home? Progressive carriers are creating Facebook pages that serve as online communities that are never more than a click away.
Paramount Freight Systems, Best Fleet to Drive For contest winner in the Owner/Operator category for two years running has a fantastic Facebook site for its drivers. It’s home to contests, birthday greetings, truck pictures and much more. Members feel a sense of pride and belonging. Prospective hires can visit the page and get a feel for the company’s culture. It’s working.
“Believe it, drivers are using Facebook. As of Jan. 16, we have recruited 25 owner/operators off of Facebook,” the company admitted during its Best Fleets to Drive For competition evaluation process.
As a trucking company, if you don’t have a presence on any of the popular social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you’re simply not as connected as you could be. It may even be indirectly costing you customers and drivers, in ways you don’t even understand. The good news is, there’s no last call at this cocktail party and everyone’s invited.