Good Furahi-day! what a better way to welcome the weekend ahead colluding with end month! For most of us urbanites, social media has become an important part of our everyday life: whether we’re updating pictures of ourselves at the gym, enjoying that hilarious cat video our roommate from high school sent us or trying to ignore a flood of baby pictures from our former classmates, we are all constantly plugged in.
With eyeballs worryingly attached to our screens, most industries across the globe are dedicating a lot of resources toward making sure they can be found online during a 3.00 am online shopping session. Business entities mostly use social media for promotional purposes and for functional uses that help them to better serve their customers. To be quite frank, some companies just got onto the social media bandwagon to look cool! For whatever reason, social media has and continues to change the way businesses function.
Logistics firms can first and foremost leverage social media to establish visibility: in today’s society, people are much more likely to find service providers online or based on social media recommendations.
This is beneficial in directing business to the supply chain management firm based on online views or recommendations. Likewise logistics companies can use online reviews and the wealth of information available online to find their own suppliers or service providers, or even recruit personnel, by posting job vacancies as needed.
Social media is continuously being exploited as a Marketing platform, through which logistics firms can keep their current and potential customers informed about company news or new products and services as they arise. This provides a unique opportunity to connect a company’s offering to consumers with minimal interruptions or “background noise”, while sharing product information in greater detail.
Indirect marketing of the company can also be implemented by using social media to generate consumer goodwill, by posting human interest information that shows the firm as the sum of several talented individuals, as opposed to a faceless corporation that has no idea of what is happening in the real world, thus fostering customer loyalty.
Supply chain managers can also use social media to gather information about consumers’ reaction to their product or service. The very nature of social media encourages sharing and airing of views and opinions, meaning collecting customer feedback becomes easier, more personal and more detailed, providing a sort of score sheet for players in the logistics industry: positive reviews mean focus is mostly on maintaining performance, where negative feedback indicates the need for a change, often very specifically stating the issue.
Functional purposes of social media are also reliant on the ‘sharing” aspect of social media. Where consumers feel the need to address their queries on a firm’s page or website, a negative story can be spun into gold by responding to said query and resolving the issue.
Where once was an ‘angry commenter’ now stands proof that the company cares for consumers and prides itself on keeping them happy. As a bonus, such activity endears the company to all viewers, encouraging consumer faith in the company that will not abandon them during a crisis, but will work to assist as needed.
With social media sites such as Facebook offering the option of embedding additional applications to a company’s corporate page, logistical functionality can be increased by adding customizations that benefit customers. One such example would be to include the package tracking service directly on the social media page, meaning customers can check in on their shipment and inform their social circles through broadcast buttons, such as Twitter’s retweets or shares on Facebook.
With all these potential benefits comes great risk. Social media accounts are accepted as “mini press-conferences” held by participating companies. As such, information availed through these channels must be carefully reviewed for accuracy of the information as well as being clear of errors which can spread very rapidly across the internet community.
In spite of this, social media remains and will continue to be a pertinent part of the logistics industry and the business world in general, becoming a resource that companies cannot afford to ignore. If you are yet to register your supply chain management firm for social media, we welcome you to join us on the digital side of business, and learn to enjoy the interactions!
The golden rule remains to be there is no science in using social media: keep experimenting.