Technology has enabled the transportation and logistics industry to save at levels that were once unimaginable. The amount is poised to hit $236 million over the next three to four years with the potential to go even higher as technology advances across the globe. In fact, Jeff Sass, senior vice president, sales and marketing for trucking conglomerate Navistar, suggests that used in the right ways, new technology might help to eliminate the driver shortage entirely.
Used correctly, information can help fleets achieve better load matches, improve routing, and overcome structural challenges such as the ever-present driver shortage. “If our industry could get just 5% more efficiency out of our operations, it could possibly eliminate the driver shortage entirely.”
Efficiencies in scheduling, supply chain management, and even payment have grown exponentially, enabling the trucking industry itself to grow and providing partners that can help. Payment leader EFS/WEX has a unique perspective on the trucking industry that makes their collaboration even more relevant. They are fluent in the business of trucking and experts in payment. They have been successful in simplifying complex payment systems to create efficiencies that enable even more saving while unlocking insights and opportunities for greater control over the financial supply chain and growth for the company.
Fleet supply chain networks are becoming more robust as technology continues to push boundaries, but there are other fleet networks that needs developing as well — social media networks within the trucking industry. If efficiencies brought on by developing technology can work to eliminate the driver shortage, then social media can complement that effort, possibly becoming the most powerful tool to address the crisis. Some trucking companies may be slow to adopt the technology, but they are coming around, not to follow a trend, but out of necessity to speak to a broader and younger audience.
“The time has come when transportation companies can no longer afford not to be on social media,” said Ken Weinberg, vice president and co-founder of CLI. “If you want to be in the trucking business today, you need a presence on social media to secure your place in the industry.”
Trucking companies and carriers are beginning to develop communications and fleet networking strategies that include social media, but they are still generally lagging behind other B2B companies. Studies have shown that 87% of business-to-business companies across all industries use social media. As expected, the larger fleets have more resources to put toward a dedicated social media presence, but as social media channels like Instagram and Twitter become ubiquitous tools for communication, more and more companies and company employees are embracing the fleet networks accordingly.
As the usage of smart phones and handhelds by truck drivers increases, so too does the popularity of social media among those users. They use their phones to stay connected with the industry and fleet networks as well as their family and friends. They use social media to read the news of the day or to stay on top of weather and traffic alerts. Fleet managers and operators use these various channels for driver recruitment and brand awareness and to highlight company culture.
Currently Twitter and Facebook seem to be the most-used platforms within the trucking industry. Gary Snyder, business development manager for CLI, suggests that companies could become more aware of the value of social media as they begin to track how many people are following them on those sites and how many leads they’re generating. He goes on to say that among the carriers using Twitter, 70% tweeted at least once per week. For the companies with Facebook pages, 63% updated them weekly. The figure for LinkedIn was only 26% but that percentage across the industry is increasing as communication and recruiting managers are putting more emphasis on LinkedIn as a critical fleet networking and advertising channel.
Advertisers Are Getting Smart About Targeting Fleet Networks
As the number of social media platforms grows and the industry embraces social media as a way of life, fleet managers and advertisers are getting smarter about how to reach fleet networks – by understanding where drivers are on social media. What are the platforms? Who are the users? How are they using each platform? To understand the full scope, we need to look at the numbers.
- Daily users: 2.07 billion
- Hours of video watched daily: 100 million
- Percentage of FB users who check platform daily: 75%
- Hours of video watched daily: 1 billion
- Average time spent: 40 minutes
- Monthly active users: 330 million
- Average time spent: 1 minute
- Percentage of Twitter users on mobile: 80%
- Daily active users: 500 million
- Average time spent: 15 minutes
- Percentage of Internet users age 18-29 who use Instagram: 59%
- Number of members: 500 million
- Average time spent: 2 minutes
- Percentage of LinkedIn users who check platform daily: 40%
While those numbers might seem astronomical, the trucking industry needs to put them into the context of their own fleet networks. Trucking industry marketing expert Randall Reilly provides research that can target opportunities within the trucking industry, driver, and fleet networks.
According to our research, we’ve found that 79.9% of company drivers and 69.7% of owner-operators use social media, with the top used being Facebook and YouTube.
— Randall Reilly
The study goes on to show that that smartphone users check Facebook 14 times a day. The constant increase in mobile use among drivers and these statistics on where they are spending time are revealing huge opportunities to reach drivers on social media. Additionally, companies can use driver database information like email addresses and phone numbers to further refine targeting methods on social media platforms.
Let’s face it, social media is here to stay, and everyone is using it. By embracing that idea and developing social media strategies along with the rest of business operations, fleet networks can work even harder for the good of the company and the industry overall.