Logistical advantages to harnessing social media
The logistics industry is slower than others in making use of social media for marketing purposes despite the need to innovate and find ways to stay connected with customers.
A new report revealed that only 46 percent of the 655 companies surveyed make use of social media, which compared to other sectors is relatively few.
The industry is up against weak increases in transportation volumes, rising costs and its margins being squeezed.
However, social media offers logistic companies the chance to stay connected with clients, allowing a better exchange of ideas and the ability to find new opportunities ensuring they won’t end up buried amongst the others.
The study, which was focused on how logistics companies actually uses social media to achieve their goals, was conducted by the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel) together with a number of organisations from the Kennis Distributiecentra Logistiek.
The main reason for the low take up on social media was put down to decision makers not seeing an advantage for the logistics sector (40 percent) and further more they often lack knowledge about its application (36 per cent). Another 10 percent say they don’t have a budget for it.
This is surprising, as costs for social media marketing are low in comparison to traditional marketing due to the freely available communication channels (For example, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter).
Overall, the logistics sector is far behind other industrial sectors and misses potential gains. In addition, the study found that only 10 percent of the surveyed companies plan to invest in social media in the near future.
However, 40 percent are not sure about that and more than 50 percent are not planning to make use of social media at all.
The most common platform for social media marketing in Logistics is Linkedin, which is being used in 75 percent of cases. Facebook (69 percent) and Twitter (49 percent) follow closely, however are less often used in comparison to other industries.
Especially the fact that Twitter is less popular shows that the benefits of social media have not yet fully arrived at logistics managers' understanding.
One of the main goals of social media, according to 70 percent of companies, is to improve branding and establish deep relations with customers, partners and stock holders.
Over one third (40 percent) also use social media to come up with new ideas, while 20 percent use it for recruiting purposes. Nevertheless,social media is not considered as tools for sales activities.
A closer look at the use of social media in the logistics sector furthermore revealed that most of the social media activities are limited to private communication. Only 25 percent of the logistics managers focus their communication on lead management or customer support (B2B).
Concerning the benefits of social media, the study revealed that 41 percent of the social media marketeers recognised a gain in branding, 35 percent mentioned to have built new relationships, and 30 percent found inspiration for their business.
A remarkable 12 percent stated to have acquired new business. At the same time 30 percent did not recognize any benefit at all.
The application and gains of social media strongly depend on the specific business sectors. Logistics service contractors are the first to run social media marketing activities.
Nearly 80 percent already use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Tran-shipment contractors also make use of social media, but they strongly focus on LinkedIn, most likely due to the effectiveness of targeting.
When it comes to the different social media channels, Linkedin offers by far the most target specific communication channels, especially regardingb2b. Groups, company pages, subscriptions, profiles, and an advertising system similar to Google AdWords allow work on various online marketing goals, such as branding, lead management, traffic, etc.
Opposite to that, Twitter and Facebook are particularly suited for b2c activities, because these networks mainly target the social environment of their users. Professional company profiles, groups, company pages, and advertisements are possible as well, however the targeting is not as sophisticated as in LinkedIn.
Furthermore, while Twitter more serves to share short information and send messages, Facebook allows to enhance branding by interaction (facebook apps) and visual appearance. The difference might not appear crucial at first, yet these platforms each work in their own way.
As we can also see, there is no better or worse. The right channels have to be selected, according to the goals of online marketing investments. Furthermore social media activities still have to be in line with the corporate identity and its relevant environment.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.