How LinkedIn Can Move Your Logistics Company’s Bottom Line
October 8, 2020
The supply chain and logistics market has changed dramatically over the past several years and continues to do so on a regular basis. 3PL vendors, warehouses, and other transportation firms have to constantly be on the alert for new trends in the industry in order to stay competitive.
Of course, besides cutting costs and streamlining operations, logistics companies always have to think about where new customers are coming from. As B2B marketing strategies continue to emerge and evolve, executives have to investigate which tools, techniques, and platforms are most suitable for reaching their target audience and engaging with their ideal buyers.
In the marketing world, social media plays a vital role in moving prospects down the sales funnel. And in a B2B context, one platform stands head and shoulders above the rest: LinkedIn. The following information will provide answers to these questions:
What challenges do logistics companies currently face?
Why should you use LinkedIn as part of your B2B marketing strategy?
How can LinkedIn marketing have a positive impact on your bottom line?
Let’s dig deeper into these questions, one at a time.
What Challenges Do Logistics Companies Face?
In today’s economy, logistics companies are facing a number of serious challenges to their current viability, as well as their long-term sustainability. Here are just a few of the obstacles to growth that these businesses must overcome:
1. A saturated market
The logistics sector has become extremely crowded over the years. For instance, in the United States 3PL companies alone have well over 22,000 businesses in operation, based in or operating from many major cities, from one coast to the other. Not surprisingly, with this market saturation comes a high level of competition — which means strong advertising campaigns from industry peers, as well as the constant potential for pricing strategies designed to undercut other firms.
2. High operational costs
It takes a lot of overhead for logistics companies to run and maintain their fleets. For instance, the price of fuel has fluctuated quite a bit over the past two decades, but it remains one of the biggest concerns for cargo carriers and 3PL vendors. Spikes in gas and diesel costs can negatively impact a company’s bottom line across the board and cause executives to shift resources away from other key areas, such as marketing and recruiting. Moreover, as fleet vehicles age their managers have to navigate higher maintenance and repair costs, and eventually dip into the organization’s budget in order to replace them.
3. A shortage of drivers
The biggest issue that many logistics companies are dealing with involves a scarcity of qualified, licensed drivers to operate their fleet vehicles. In 2018 there was a “driver deficit” of 60,800 in the U.S., and no doubt that number will continue to increase over the next several years as organizations scramble to replace older drivers and recruit more female employees. As a result of this labor shortage, companies are compelled to offer higher wages, better benefits, and other perks to attract new talent — all of which, while helpful to the drivers, eat into their employers’ profit margin.
Why Use LinkedIn?
Before we get into specifics on how you can leverage LinkedIn to help you overcome some of the challenges mentioned above, let’s first establish why incorporating LinkedIn into your B2B marketing strategy is a good idea in general. Here are 4 key reasons why you should use LinkedIn:
LinkedIn has a vast reach, with some 706 million monthly users; and that number continues to grow year over year. However, LinkedIn is unique among the social media “giants” in that its consumers are mostly employers, employees, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and corporate decision-makers. For example, over 50 million companies have a profile on LinkedIn, and individual professionals that number many millions more maintain an active presence on the site.
This reach is not limited to the United States, either. In fact, approximately 70% of LinkedIn users reside outside of the United States, a percentage that includes 211 million users in Europe, and 179 million users in Asia Pacific. The platform is available in 24 languages, making its influence truly international in scope.
The fact that LinkedIn has such an extensive reach, combined with the type of users it attracts, makes it a perfect fit for B2B companies that want to grow their network and generate more leads. In addition, logistics companies that want to attract new recruits can effectively target both men and women on the platform. (Research indicates that 57% of LinkedIn users are men, and 43% are women. Moreover, 29% of American men use the platform, as do 24% of American women.)
In its early years, LinkedIn was known more as a “recruitment platform” than a social media platform. However, the modern iteration of the site has truly transcended its origins. For instance, the platform reported in early 2020 that it currently generates 15 times more content impressions than job postings, and has enjoyed a 50% increase in year-over-year user engagement.
With those figures in mind, it’s easy to see why so many companies invest a good portion of their marketing budget into LinkedIn. Not only is it a great platform for identifying and vetting job candidates, but it also provides an exceptionally effective way to generate more leads from the B2B consumer base. In fact, studies indicate that 80% of all B2B leads from social media come from LinkedIn.
In marketing terms, LinkedIn also provides a high level of adaptability and flexibility as B2B companies target prospects at different stages of the “buyer’s journey.” For instance, LinkedIn marketing allows businesses to focus on the three main segments of the sales funnel:
Awareness. Marketers can post high-level overviews to their company’s LinkedIn account in order to increase brand awareness and stimulate interest in the product or service offered. In the context of recruitment for the logistics sector, perhaps such content would come in the form of a blog post explaining why job candidates should consider signing on with a particular carrier.
Evaluation. In the middle of the funnel, marketers and sales reps can leverage white papers, case studies, comparison charts, testimonials, and other pieces of content to help consumers evaluate the organization’s product/service. For instance, a logistics company may list and/or describe job benefits to persuade interested drivers to investigate further; or publish a comparison chart featuring top competitors to demonstrate to prospective business partners why they should work with the company instead.
Decision. In the final stage of the funnel, a B2B company can “close the deal” by offering special promotions, free product trials, or other incentives. In terms of recruitment, an organization can make the process to fill out a job application easy and intuitive for interested candidates.
LinkedIn’s platform also allows you to track who is interacting with your content, and how. For example, LinkedIn’s site-wide “Insight” tag enables marketers to see which visitors are coming to the company’s website as a direct result of content posted to LinkedIn. Moreover, event-specific pixels allow you to gauge the effectiveness of a lead generation campaign by tracking how many users complete a lead capture form, and where they came from.
LinkedIn exceptional analytics capabilities can be helpful both in terms of your marketing strategy and your recruitment tactics. When you have a clear understanding of which pieces of content are most engaging to your target audience, then you can refine your content strategy accordingly. At the same time, you can minimize your spending on recruitment by identifying how best to pique the interest of high-performing candidates, and then diverting resources into those marketing channels.
How to Leverage LinkedIn to Move Your Bottom Line
Now that we’ve talked about some of the reasons why you should use LinkedIn as part of your marketing and recruitment plans, the next logical question is: how can you do it? Here are 4 suggestions that may prove helpful for logistics companies:
1. Join a discussion group for logistics/supply chain professionals.
There are scores of communities on LinkedIn dedicated to the logistics sector, some of which have hundreds of thousands of members. These discussion groups are not only great forums for trading ideas on best practices and staying up to date on the latest trends, but can also help you to grow your company’s network in an “organic” way. You may be able to generate several B2B leads as a result of your participation in one or several such groups, and even target ideal job candidates for current or future openings.
2. Position yourself as a thought leader with well-researched content.
Business owners and corporate executives tend to view content from LinkedIn as more credible than content from other social media sites. (Shocking, we know.) It follows that one of the best ways to establish your credentials as a “thought leader” in your industry is to regularly publish well-researched, insightful, and engaging articles to your LinkedIn account.
Over time, your posts will not only contribute to increased brand awareness, but their valuable, actionable insights will also bolster your following on the platform. In the end, you’ll be viewed as a trustworthy source for information and advice. In turn, discerning B2B buyers looking for a warehousing/fulfillment partner will be more inclined to consider you before other companies.
3. Implement a consistent recruitment strategy.
LinkedIn, when used properly, can be a powerful recruitment tool. Research indicates that there are more than 190 million American workers with profiles on LinkedIn; some 30,000 companies use the platform to post more than 3 million jobs each month; and job seekers can select from over 50,000 skills to market themselves to prospective employers. Moreover, three-quarters of people who change jobs use LinkedIn to some extent as part of the decision-making process; and employers that hire from LinkedIn are 40% less likely to lose the employee within the first six months.
These and many other statistics demonstrate the potential impact that LinkedIn can generate as a medium for identifying, screening, engaging with, and ultimately converting job candidates. For instance, you can use LinkedIn’s highly customizable search filters to zero in on the prospects that are most suitable for your current needs and even examine a candidate’s posting history as part of your vetting process.
4. Leverage LinkedIn’s highly targeted and customizable advertising.
LinkedIn says that its platform has “ads for any budget,” and it’s hard to dispute that claim. Whether you want to interest prospective B2B buyers or recruit high performers for your workforce, there are several pricing options from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions that will allow you to stay within budget for any campaign. These options include cost per click (CPC), cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM), and cost per send (CPS). You can set campaigns by a total budget, daily budget, or by predefined bid limits.
LinkedIn’s advertising features enable you to only target audience segments that have the highest potential value to your company, either as business partners or employees. By taking advantage of the site’s powerful and flexible marketing capabilities, you’ll streamline your efforts and reduce costs at the same time.
Use LinkedIn to Move Your Company’s Bottom Line
As the above information demonstrates, LinkedIn can be a wonderful tool for growing your consumer base, recruiting highly qualified talent, and attracting new B2B buyers. Of course, you may need help from professionals that specialize in LinkedIn marketing in order to achieve the highest possible ROI from your efforts. Regardless, if you leverage LinkedIn’s capabilities in the right way, it can move your logistics company’s bottom line in the right direction — guaranteed!