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Social Media have become huge in the last few years. There are new Social Media that pop up every day. I have been personally involved with social media for about ten years and have found them to be helpful to our freight consulting business. Here are few thoughts on how to make effective us of them in your company.

Social Media are an integral part of a company’s Sales and Marketing Strategy

The first point to consider is that Social Media should not be looked at independently from a company’s Sales and Marketing Strategy. They should be an integral component and should be used to accomplish a company’s key marketing objectives. The selection, of which media to use, how and when they should be used, should be developed as part of a company’s Business Plan. The Social Media strategy should correlate directly with the company’s marketing goals, target markets and revenue targets.

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As the year 2013 winds down, it is time to reflect on the major transportation trends of the past year.  While I saw and read about a wide range of developments, these are the ones that resonated most with me.

1.Technology Comes to Freight Transportation

Last year I predicted that we would see a flurry of new technologies come to freight transportation.  They did and I wrote about some of these new companies on several occasions during the year.  Technology was successfully applied to the freight brokerage business, freight portals, LTL density calculations and to other segments of the industry.  Buytruckload.com, PostBidShip, Freightopolis, QuoteMyTruckload,  and Freightsnap were featured in various blogs during the year.  They are changing the way business is done in freight transportation.  Watch for more of these companies to surface in 2014.

2013 has been called the Year of the Network by numerous supply chain and transportation industry thought leaders.  Companies that built a successful supply chain trading partner network focused on three elements:

Connectivity— unite disparate systems and trading partners

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At the end of each year, I like to take stock of the major freight transportation stories of the past twelve months and look ahead to the trends that will drive the industry in the coming year.  The two blogs that I write are prepared from my perspective as a consultant to shippers and carriers.

This year I would like to hear from you.  Those of you who follow this blog observe trends in your segment of the industry.  Please take a minute to share them with me.  Please post them on this blog or send a private e mail to dan@dantranscon.com

Please feel free to select any major trend or trends that are having or will have a major impact on our industry, whether regulatory, economic, technological, demographic, consumer behavior, environmental, modal shifts or business strategy.

To broaden the range of inputs and perspectives, I will also post this request on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  In the coming weeks I will be preparing my two lists.  The lists will include a blend of my observations and yours.  Look for these two blogs in mid-December.  Thank you to those of you who take the time to share your observations with me.

 

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Social media has become one of the hottest marketing tools over the past five years. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and a host of new sites are now a major part of our daily lives. Since I began blogging in 2005, I have become an active participant in this new world. I have learned a great deal and continue to learn every day. Here are a few observations from my travels down the social media trail.

The first thing I learned is that you need to be very focused on what you are seeking to achieve from using social media, particularly from a business perspective. On Twitter you can follow virtually every path of interest, whether it is music, tennis, sailing, cooking or politics. There are thousands of people who share your interests on just about any topic. The question is how will you and your business prosper by participating in one or more social media or discussion groups? The first step on the journey is to set some clear goals, whether it is finding new prospects, recruiting new talent or demonstrating expertise.

Second, don't overlook the obvious. A good website is one of the best instruments for telling your story. However for a website to be truly effective, it has to be optimized. Search engine optimization is the process of identifying the key words about you and your company. If you develop a good website but don't perform SEO, it will likely be ineffective.

A third lesson is the value of consistent communication. In our case, I write a weekly blog that deals with topics of interest to our customers. It takes time, some writing skills, knowledge and persistence to prepare an interesting blog every week. My blog appears in several locations on the internet and is now read by thousands of people a week. After writing hundreds of blogs, they provide another source of traffic as individuals perform searches over time. Both the new and old blogs produce a steady flow of activity.

Fourth, select the social media sites and groups that are most relevant to what you do. Since my company offers freight transportation consulting services, we try to participate in those sites (e.g. LinkedIn transportation groups) where we will likely interact with prospective clients and vendors in our target industries. To raise our profile, we created a LinkedIn group (Freight Transportation Best Practices) and a daily newspaper (e.g. Dan's Transportation Newspaper) that most closely align with the mission of our company.

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