Driver Recruitment Swings Toward Social Media
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Truck driver recruiting efforts swung significantly toward social media last year, according to experts.
“For years there were folks that were not necessarily wanting to put all of their eggs in the digital and social media basket when it came to recruiting,” said Priscilla Peters, vice president of marketing and training at Conversion Interactive Agency. “They kind of sat on the sidelines and watched for a while, and now they’re realizing they’ve got to get in the game.”
The 2022 Recruiting & Retention Annual Report released by Conversion and the Professional Driver Agency found video content on social media platforms drove the shift. Driver leads from Instagram soared 324% year-over-year, while leads from Facebook stories grew by 165% from the prior year. The report noted vertical video ad formats were the fastest growing driver lead generator in 2022.
“Social media allows employer brands to really connect with drivers and other potential candidates,” Peters said. “[With] traditional media it’s more difficult to do that.”
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She added that candidates are looking to learn more about the company, not just the job opening.
“The best performing content isn’t necessarily recruiting-type content,” Peters said. “It’s not that a driver necessarily wants to hear about every job opening you have. They want to see how do you treat your other drivers and what’s going on at your carrier.”
Peters noted it’s not enough to just have a landing page or a website; carriers should post fun, informative social media content that engages potential candidates.
Peters also recommends that carriers be attentive to current drivers who post reviews. The report noted that 71.6% of drivers said such reviews influenced them the most when choosing a carrier.
The growth of social media-based recruiting also reflects a generational shift, said Josh Lovan, an industry business adviser at J.J. Keller. “I think the biggest differentiator with social media and recruiting now is the younger generation,” he said. “A lot of the younger generations, especially the millennials, they really care about social values. They really care about environmental sustainability, what your company is doing, and social media allows a company to really showcase what makes our company us, what is our culture.”
Lovan added those values extend to how carriers celebrate and reward current drivers, and social media provides carriers with a platform to highlight drivers’ accomplishments.
“The most successful companies that start getting a lot of traction with social media figured out how to recognize and praise employees,” Lovan said. “That can be a litany of different things. But the point is, every single week somebody in marketing should be talking about some kind of great thing that a driver did the week prior.”
Matthew Carr, vice president of operations at CPC Logistics, noted this kind of content can draw the attention of drivers not necessarily looking for a job.
“The job boards are great if you’re looking for an active candidate, but the passive candidates aren’t going to be there,” he said. “The majority of people are spending the majority of their time doing something other than going through job boards. With the shortages we have in our industry — and every industry — it’s important to meet candidates where they are, and social media gets you there. “
Marketing and advertising agency Colling Media has seen a shift in carriers seeking more control over recruiting to improve return on investment. That means reduced spending on buying leads from vendors, and more work on generating their own leads and connections.
“We see more of a trend toward carriers having their own assets,” Colling President Doug Campbell said. “Their own websites, their own social media feeds, their own things, where they’re more in control of that lead flow and working through that process of getting their own leads. Where the person comes in knowing ahead of time, ‘I’m looking for this carrier.’ ”
Campbell noted this has caused a shift away from broad advertising methods like television, radio broadcast and billboards. He noted these methods go out to everyone — not just drivers — making it difficult to fully track their effectiveness. Avenues such as paid search or social media allow for that control.
“That’s where social media has such a great impact, because it can put a broad message out there,” Campbell said. “A more branding, a more awareness message, letting people know that a carrier is hiring, letting people know the benefits of driving for a particular carrier — the types of routes or types of equipment that they have — while still having the ability, because it’s digital, to actually drive a click that’s trackable through to a lead form.”
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