Social Media and Logistics – A Powerful Mix
Social media has been an immensely powerful conduit to success for any industry. If your business is not yet found on social media, then you’re missing all the fun and income! Social media can get you so many leads and sales that not tapping into it is a waste of time, effort, and money.
It’s impossible to thrive in your business if you don’t have an online presence because people are now gearing towards online shopping or checking out companies using social media. Unfortunately, most companies involved in the freight or logistics industry fail to take advantage of the power of social media.
The industry is historically under-represented on social media simply because it is more conventional and relies on other operations, not on online practices. However, this does not mean that shipping and freight forwarding companies cannot take full advantage of the power of social media.
Social Media is for Freight and Logistics Too!
It’s a common misperception that social media is only beneficial to businesses that have fun and exciting products and services to promote. While the local beauty shop and the new clothing and bags company can definitely benefit from sharing their marketing-driven content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, social media can be equally beneficial for businesses in any industry that have engaging content.
For trucking and shipping companies, opportunities abound in social media for a variety of reasons. First, the industry as a whole has not widely embraced the idea of sharing online content. This means that there is a lot of room to dominate in the space. For most companies involved in logistics, the content possibilities are almost endless. Images, articles, tips, videos, infographics, and more can all be very interesting and informative to customers, prospects, employees, and other audiences.
Businesses and individuals are using Facebook and other social sites for far more than looking at pretty pictures of cupcakes and reading the latest Hollywood gossip. They are perusing these 24-hour channels to learn about the brands they choose to buy from. If you’re responsible for the marketing of a trucking or shipping company, the following tips may inspire you to expand your horizons when it comes to social media.
Post Informative and Engaging Content
Few would consider the trucking and shipping industry to be glamorous. Because of this, companies within the industry have historically been reluctant to share their stories for fear that few would be interested in them. Yet, perhaps these companies have sold themselves short, as there is an audience for nearly everything on the internet, including content detailing how products we use every day are transported from point A to point B.
Every business has a story to tell just as Zip Logistics has to that authentic appeal. Social media can get that story fleshed out for everyone to savor online. Brand storytelling thru social media is extremely powerful. With this route, many customers get to know a brand – the story behind the logo. Businesses are more than just logos or their products and services, there is always a story to tell about their dreams and visions that go beyond face value. This is where social media comes in to tell your story.
Provide Friendly and Excellent Customer Service
Word-of-mouth advertising is now digital and fast. It is a new reality that customers will use social channels to provide feedback on their experiences with companies. Even if you proactively direct customers to contact your customer service agents via phone or email, they know that they can have a bigger impact on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites where others are also reading the content.
Every business in every industry now potentially faces this problem, and how it is addressed can have a dramatic impact on future success. Online reputation management is simply a part of doing business, and it is not a good idea to ignore customers who complain about social channels or online review sites. Simply put, these complaints can be spread far and wide.
The logical solution is to consider your social channels as an important part of your customer service efforts. It’s a customer touchpoint that has to be managed just like phone calls and emails.
As the industry’s largest package delivery company, UPS delivers more than 15 million packages a day to more than 6.1 million customers. When you’re dealing with that amount of volume, there is bound to be an occasional delivery hiccup. When they happen, customers frequently complain directly about the company’s Facebook page. For this reason, UPS quickly and publicly responds to customer comments to address problems and defuse tension. While no company likes to see public complaints, UPS’ prompt efforts to provide resolution serve to strengthen their brand.
Most social media outlets offer advertising to increase reach to larger audiences. Compared to other mediums for customer acquisition, social media ad costs are typically nominal.
Many of the trucking and shipping industry leaders have already begun to add social media advertising into the multi-million dollar advertising budgets. For smaller companies, this outbound marketing strategy can also be beneficial by serving as a cost-effective way to reach new customers and increase brand awareness. Because social media advertising typically enables companies to set their own budget and to start and stop campaigns quickly, the flexibility is particularly useful when there is a cyclical or seasonal shift in sales volumes.
Aligning your company with another organization is yet another way to expand your online audience via social media. When it’s a non-profit, you also gain the benefits of helping others while strengthening your brand.
To maximize the effectiveness of a partnership with a non-profit, it’s important to choose an organization that is aligned with your corporate values and appeals to your customer base. In some cases, it may make sense to work with a local organization to generate buzz within a targeted area. A national or even an international non-profit can also be a strong choice depending on the goals of the campaign.
Create Content Matched to the Needs of Your Market
Freight forwarders and truckers face a unique set of challenges every day of their working life. On the road in an ever-changing environment, they are required to process information and quickly make decisions to meet their delivery deadlines.
Along with providing content for end-users, freight and trucking companies can also provide useful information and tips to truckers in real-time via social media to help drivers on the road, as well as customers waiting for their shipments. Creating a company-branded Twitter handle specifically for businesses that need your services can enable you to provide updates on weather, accidents, company updates, policy changes, and even tips on rest stops and weigh stations.
A dedicated Instagram account can be used to publish photos encouraging camaraderie and sharing between employees and contractors who rarely ever see each other in person.
Your Staff Can be Your Best Advertisers!
For years now, we know that social media can damage an organization. It can even lead to it going bankrupt. Numerous reports are showing us how this can happen. However, the exact opposite can also happen as posts from people working for the shipping company can benefit the organization.
A very interesting and effective way to promote the services of a shipping company or practically any business in the industry is to highlight the people that work there. This is especially effective with the use of videos that show regular employees doing day-to-day tasks.
There is no real limit to how you can use employees to promote an organization on social media. Just make sure everything is authentic because people relate to that, not to pre-recorded scripts. Those are much better for ads.
Plan and Collaborate on Your Social Media Strategy
One of the biggest problems with shipping companies is that they just post random articles on social media pages. This should be avoided at all costs because a lack of a social media strategy automatically means it is impossible to measure results and get new clients or nurture current ones.
The lack of social media strategy also has one negative aspect that few people realize. It makes it difficult to respond to social media remarks that are damaging. Because the vast majority of shipping companies do not even have a Facebook account, they cannot manage their online social media reputation properly.
To keep things as simple as possible, shipping companies need to have an online presence on social media. They also need to create a strategy that includes all the tasks that would be done and SMART goals that can be measured.
Use LinkedIn for Growing Networks
LinkedIn is definitely a very useful social media channel for freight or shipping companies. This is because it is very easy to reach decision-makers that can become clients or business partners. Fortunately, many shipping companies already have a presence on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, this does not mean that it is used right.
LinkedIn is nowadays very problematic because so many users spam others in an attempt to sell or promote something. This is where a content strategy comes in to help you. One of the best ways to promote a shipping company on LinkedIn is to create content that is valuable for your target audience.
For instance, you want to promote your products and services to Guyana or in the United States, Instead of using ads to reach companies that might need them, create articles that educate people about what is needed to transport goods to another country or location. When such an article is read, the decision-maker might check out your business and your products and services.
Hire a Social Media or Content Specialist
It is quite common to see shipping company staff handle social media promotion alone, without a specialist being involved. Whenever this is the case, the best thing that can be done is to take it one profile at a time or hire an expert hand to manage social media.
Most people underestimate how much time it takes to manage social media accounts. If the shipping company has only one person taking care of all channels and there is no specialized experience, bad decisions will be made.
Hiring a social media and content specialist will help you create posts that your target market can resonate with and would pique their interest to check out your products and services.
One of the highly underestimated benefits of social media is that you can target your post locally. This is something we normally think about when we discuss search engine optimization but most social networks offer different tools that help users to promote posts locally.
Use Local Marketing or Local SEO
Since we already discussed shipping between Guyana and United States, let’s say the shipping company has a special discount available for businesses that want to buy items from the United States. In this case, it makes sense to create social media posts that would only be seen by users in Guyana because the deal would not apply to businesses in other countries.
Expand Your Freight and Logistics Business with Social Media
There is no way to deny the fact that social media can be a very valuable tool for any shipping company that tries to expand its operations and get new clients. However, this opportunity is still underused. This can be a very beneficial thing since when you are an early adopter of new technology, you can instantly stand out.
The real problem is that most companies do not really know how to use social media properly. Because of this, it is a very good idea to work with an expert. Your business thrives online and even offline using very effective social media strategies, local promotion strategies, and awareness of modern trends to take full advantage of the social media space.