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As our industry fights a losing battle against an aging workforce, competitive pay scales, demanding work and the unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19, carriers are actively seeking creative ways to retain and recruit new drivers.

The trick? Gaining drivers’ attention before other carriers do, by whatever means possible. While some companies are offering sign-on bonuses, retention bonuses, higher pay and more home time, the trick seems to be getting the message out there to the drivers that are actually looking for work. One way to do this is via the power of social media.

During yesterday’s webinar hosted in partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association, panelists – including TruckRight CEO and Co-Founder Dirk Kupar, Veriha Trucking’s Director of Corporate Development, Tricia Sloan, Kriska Transportation Group’s Marketing and Social Media Specialist Sean LeBlanc, and Boyle Transportation’s Recruiting and Retention Manger, Laura Duryea – explored the distinct strategies companies can use to reach drivers effectively.

Key takeaways from the webinar? Well, they might surprise you.

Blasting about bonuses are great, and so is highlighting the perks your company offers (like newer, tricked-out trucks and competitive benefits packages), but social media success actually comes down to a few other things entirely, such as being honest and transparent.

The other key to experiencing social media success? Being consistent with your approach; there’s no “one and done” strategy here.

“It’s really about relationship-building,” says Sloan, who started implementing proactive social media strategies about three years ago.

And last, but most certainly not least, there’s celebrating your culture online and showing the divers you already have that you’re thankful. If you don’t, it could cost you — big time.

“The industry turnover rate is 100 percent plus. Watch your culture, make sure you show your drivers appreciation,” says Duryea.

With that, let’s dive a little deeper into each.

Honesty Counts

If you want to be trusted, be honest. It’s that simple.

If your company’s available home time leaves something to be desired, for example, be transparent about that if someone asks or comments about it on social. Don’t lie, don’t spin the truth, don’t misrepresent how your company works from the bottom up.

If you spin tall tales during the initial recruiting stages, the drivers are going to find out the truth sooner or later once they’re hired. And unhappy drivers, as we know, lead to higher turnover.

At the same time, however, it’s important to control the narrative.

“I try to give them the benefits,” says Duryea. “They [truck drivers] could maybe make more at other places, but our quality of life is important here. I try to emphasize the benefits of getting more rest, exercise, getting away from the truck, and having a healthy life. Those things are important for a lot people, especially if they have been a driver for a long time.”

Consistency is Key

The only way you’re going to see results online is through consistency.

Think it’s sufficient to post about jobs openings once every couple weeks and leave it at that? Think again. A lack of diligence on your social platforms not only brings about a lack of interest, it also comes across as unprofessional.

With COVID especially, there’s been less face time at terminals and print ads are all but disappearing. Social media, says LeBlanc, is the place in which you can build your reputation to highlight your culture. “We find it invaluable,” he says, adding that it’s important to post at a regular cadence. “You want to show you’re reliable and that your company is engaged.”

So how often should you post? It really varies platform to platform, but you should aim for five to seven posts a week on Facebook, for example. Post less, and you risk losing connection with followers (remember, recruiting is about relationship-building) but if you post too much, you can easily veer into the lane of annoying.

If you don’t think you can handle the volume of work, which many recruiters find to be the hardest part on top of an already-packed schedule, there are companies out there that can handle social media management for you.

Showcase (and Celebrate!) Your Company Culture

Each of the panelists agrees: showcasing and celebrating company culture is paramount.

“You have to celebrate, congratulate, pat people on the back,” says Kupar. “People want to work for people. They want to work for people where they feel valued. People don’t quit companies, they quit people. So, if you have high turnover, you have to take a look.”

Celebrate wins publicly on social and let your drivers have their moments in the spotlight, whether it’s reaching a safety milestone, number of miles, or volunteer work in your community.

“I try to mix it up, highlight things that are happening in the industry,” says Boyle, “Like the Highway Angels program. It’s important to highlight these people. Or if someone does something great in our company, like [winning] awards, or posting pictures about community, or drivers interacting with each other is important, because it shows community.”

It’s important to ensure you’re recognizing the good deed within the fleet, and within your company as a whole, because that highlights your culture.

The Time to Get Social is Now

Where do you begin? Well, you’re in luck, because the answer is simple: you just start.

You don’t have to be great, you just have to do it, and do it consistently. Be open to making mistakes, having some fun with it, and embracing all the potential social media can offer as it relates to driver recruiting and retention.

“Social media is a great way to show people you value your culture, and represent who and what you are as a carrier,” says Jim Schoonover​, TCA Vice President of Operations and Education.

What will you do to get started?

Click here to watch the full recording.