February 22, 2018 6:30 PM, EST

Industry Experts Champion Active, Friendly Online Presences as Recruiting Tools

Beverly Ringstaff, creative director at Conversion Interactive AgencyBeverly Ringstaff, creative director at Conversion Interactive Agency, by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A dutifully-managed online presence functions as an important tool for attracting drivers, according to recruiting experts at freight companies.

Beverly Ringstaff, creative director at Conversion Interactive Agency, said job review websites, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, serve as mirrors of a company. Conversion, an advertising firm that specializes in driver recruiting and retention, recently completed a survey revealing that 84% of drivers read company reviews online.

“Online reviews are really a reflection of your company’s quality, your culture,” Ringstaff said at the 2018 Recruitment & Retention Conference Feb. 22. “It really doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant, a dry cleaner or a trucking company.”

Conversion hosted the conference in conjunction with Transport Topics and American Trucking Associations.

Ringstaff stressed the importance of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, in addition to job review sites. She said social media channels offer valuable avenues for responding to customers one-on-one.

Establishing range by posting to a variety of sites is crucial for a strong online reputation, according to Ringstaff. However, she said if a company has a social media account that does not receive a lot of traffic, then that account should be taken down. Ringstaff said it is better for someone surfing the web to not find any social media presence for a company than to see an account that has nothing but question after unanswered question.

“The holy grail of social media is engagement. It’s such a big impact when somebody makes a comment on a page and you’ve answered their questions and solved their problem,” Ringstaff said. “This is where they go to know that you’re going to listen to what they said. It matters to them that you’re engaged.”

Brad Vaughn of Maverick

Vaughn by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Brad Vaughn, vice president of recruiting for Maverick Transportation, stressed the importance of keeping negative comments available on web pages for everyone to see because they show that a company is not afraid to address dissatisfied customers. Similarly, Lori Furnell, vice president of communications at Boyd Bros. Transportation, said that the “nod to weaknesses” lends authenticity.

Vaughn said that many of Maverick’s hires find out about open positions through social media. Maverick Transportation is based in Little Rock, Ark., and has about 1,700 trucks.

Maverick has an employee whose sole job is to manage the company’s media accounts. Vaughn said he had to cover for this person one day, and spent the entire day and evening answering a steady stream of questions that were asked over these channels.

“You’re the voice of the company,” Vaughn said. “You’re not the individual.”

In addition to attracting new drivers, an active and friendly social media presence may engage existing employees. For example, Vaughn said one Maverick driver went on Facebook to defend the company’s policies on driver pay.

Another Maverick driver went so far as to create his own YouTube channel, which he uses to document his day. Vaughn said this employee made $30,000 in referrals last year. Another one of Maverick’s senior officials has his own Facebook page and periodically hosts Facebook Live events.

Vaughn said companies also should use social media to acknowledge existing employees, creating posts for milestones such as rehires or graduation ceremonies.

“These things are a big deal. The vast majority of these folks appreciate the recognition,” Vaughn said. “Families appreciate it. You can’t just pat somebody on the back.”