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The fleet owner's guide to building a digital presence

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

Let’s face it: when it comes to using digital tools like websites and social media, transportation companies have typically been behind the curve. For a long time, it simply wasn’t necessary. Even today, some fleet owners do not see how posting on social media or maintaining a website would have any meaningful impact on their business.

However, that’s an outdated and wrong-headed approach. It’s just a fact that activities that used to be done offline (like researching companies and products and finding new contacts) are now invariably completed online. If you don’t have a presence there, many potential customers will simply assume you’re not as advanced as other companies who do - or worse, they may not even know you exist at all. 

Plus, if you’re looking to recruit younger drivers (and what fleet isn’t?), a digital presence is a must-have. Millennials and Gen Zers look to digital resources like social media and websites to form impressions about potential employers and judge their reliability. They won’t want to work for a company that they perceive as being behind the curve in any way. 

Done properly, having a web and social media presence can help fleets of any size grow their business, engage with customers and attract new employees - all of which you can’t afford to miss out on in a hyper-competitive industry facing a serious driver shortage. 

Whether building a digital presence is one of your business resolutions for 2019 or you’re thinking of how you can strengthen an existing program, here are a few tips to get started.

Define your goals
Whether designing a website or choosing which social media platforms to create profiles on, take the time to first set your goals about what you’re hoping to gain from your digital presence and then establish a timeline for your strategy. Doing things for the sake of it or because you think you should is not a sound digital strategy. For example, if you don’t plan to feature lots of photos, you probably don’t need Instagram. If one of your goals is to attract more customers, consider having a section on your website featuring customer testimonials. If you want to use social media to attract new drivers, choose platforms that lend themselves well to posting and sharing job descriptions, like Facebook.

Think quality, not quantity
Think realistically about how much time and staff resources you have to devote to your digital presence and plan posts and updates accordingly. There’s nothing worse than a company that starts enthusiastically with four posts per day on social media, only to have that dwindle to four weeks between posts because there’s not enough content or staff to sustain that. Remember: your digital presence doesn’t have to be flashy, it just has to be relevant.

The companies who reap the most rewards from their digital marketing efforts are the ones who listen. Time spent reading what people are saying online about your business, your competitors and the industry in general is time well-spent as it provides insights that can be turned into successful business strategies. It can also help improve customer service and give you the opportunity to display your strength in this area, as long as you respond to any customer concerns online promptly and professionally. Even if you can’t resolve the issue immediately, showing the customer (and everyone else in cyberspace who’s reading the exchange) that your company is paying attention and doing their best to fix it can turn the situation into a positive one.

A thoughtful social media and web strategy focused on concrete goals not only helps grow your business, but if you’re ever considering selling, it can also increase your fleet’s valuation. Investors commonly check out companies’ digital channels while researching companies they might acquire, and if your fleet doesn’t have a well-run website and social media program (or doesn’t have these channels at all), you’re missing out on a chance to show off your company’s competence, professionalism and culture to potential buyers. 
For more on how you can improve other aspects of fleet management, visit: Fleet Management Solutions

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