Consumer companies have been early adopters of social media as a marketing / customer relationship program. But 3PL’s and other B2B companies have been slow in their approach. The two words ‘social’ and ‘business’ just don’t seem to mix together.
But in a world where technology changes at a very rapid pace, it is not just how well or how fast you deliver goods, but also what value add- on services you provide. And ‘listening’ to what the public and the customers are saying goes a long way in creating / customizing your value propositions.
Most 3PL’s are wary of investing time and money on social media.
Common refrains :
– We deal with businesses only.
– What is the return I get on making investments in this ?
– How will it help me in making more money ?
But the point to note is that mobile technology is becoming so ubiquitous that the distinction between using a tool for personal purpose and using it for a business one, is fast diminishing.
A person may Twitter to update his personal contexts, but the same medium can be used (and is being used) by companies to draw his attention to a business related event or message.
A person may have a personal page at Facebook, but the same tool can be used by companies to advertise or draw attention to particular marketing campaigns. API integration
As mobile technologies and internet become widespread, 3PL’s must use every available avenue to listen, collect, collate and analyse ‘data’ present in social media. This data must then be analysed to make sense and correlate with existing marketing mixes.
A few examples of how 3PL’s can use social media :
1) Broadcast available loads to potential truckers through Twitter.
2) Follow Tweets of other 3PL’s to know what is happening at the competitors end.
3) Follow discussions on forums to know what customers are saying about you.
4) Measure the number of likes or dislikes on any trade promotion or scheme.
5) Initiate dialogues with potential customers through forums.
6) Disseminate expert information through blogs. An active, updated and rich content blog generates a good deal of mindshare with readers.
7) Video streams and podcasts are another way to capture customer attention.
The number of ways in which social media can be used are limitless.
It is a good avenue to dissipate information . It brings you one step closer to understanding your customer requirements. It provides quick feedback and can help in having a better user experience. Use it to your maximum benefit.