SOCIAL MEDIA; A TOOL OR A TOY By G. Ray Gompf

The dearth of social media out there now has sparked a revolution, but does it have any business uses that are applicable to our industry and clearly the answer is yes.  Therefore I would say it clearly is a very useful tool for our business not just some annoying toy with no relevance.

One of my favourites is LinkedIN.com

LinkedIN is quite like the more well known Facebook but it seems to be more for business uses than other social media.  It claims that it’s all about business linkages and LinkedIn doesn’t disappoint.  I have two interests in this world, trucking and writing.  Most of my 1500 or so contacts are from the truck/transportation industry in Canada. A few of them are in the writing world.  But LinkedIn tells me that those 1500 direct contacts I have also connect me to nearly 37,000 other people.

The search engine associated with LinkedIn also allows me to search the database of members by company, by location, or by job description making it a very valuable tool.

There are group discussions on LinkedIn that are quite specific on what the discussion topic can be.  And, if you want to discuss something not covered you can start your own discussion group and go from there.  Finding a group that meets your needs is not difficult at all.

Over the past year or so, the social media organization FACEBOOK has grown and people in our industry have devised ways and means to make this social media work for them.  Some of these groups listed below have North American scope, some are Canadian Centric.

Missing Truck Drivers Group

Missingtruckdriver@groups.facebook.com

This group provides details on Drivers who may have gone missing.  Frankly, this happens with too much regularity.  For one reason or another it’s happening at least several times a week and when we have other drivers out there looking for the lost, then many eyes have a better chance of finding the lost than not.  This is one of those groups we wish we didn’t have to have but are very glad that it is there.  The group has been responsible for finding more than one person.

Cross Road Truckers Group

crossroadstruckersgroup@groups.facebook.com

This is a group where truckers share a lot of information from weather related road closures, to construction news, to whatever will help with your long term trip planning.  We pretty much know when we’re planning a trip which roads we will be taking but often enough when we get a thousand miles along our chosen route, there’s a problem that we could have known about before committing to this particular routing.  So, with this group, we all knew that on March 19th, 2012 that virtually all the east west road in Saskatchewan were closed do to a blizzard.  Which was quite helpful for trucks leaving Ontario going west to know that despite the fact we were basking in mid July temperatures and gorgeous sunshine, there was a major winter storm have way to the beach.

Canadian Truckers Kick Ass.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/116547654769/

While this group is less formal in its cause, it’s good to be able to connect with other Canadian truckers.

Rights for truck drivers

https://www.facebook.com/groups/196998107020076/

This is a group that discusses the ramification of rules and regulations in the US particularly but we all know that the rules and regulations of the US have large application in Canada.

FREIGHT BROKERS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/23164862234/

This is a group where actual loads are posted.  Where load brokers can connect with truckers requiring loads.  This is another source to the load boards out there.  What I’ve found is that some of the more urgent freight is posted and often the more urgent the better the pay per mile that can be negotiated.

There has been lots of discussion about the value of social media in and around the industry but these are groups that actually can help you in your daily existence.   These are by no means the only groups dealing with the trucking industry.  I belong to at least a dozen more, but these ones seem to have the most useful information available.

This brings me to talk about the fundraising events that we do within the trucking industry for various causes and all of these causes have representation on the social media outlets discussed above.

A few years ago, Rachele Champagne had an idea to run a convoy to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.  That first year Rachele organized a convoy that ran from the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Cornwall, Ontario to the 730 Truck Stop in Cardinal, Ontario.  That first effort one chilly Saturday in October raised just shy of $20,000 but it was a good start.

The next year, the convoy for a cure spun off several other convoys all doing the same thing.  There was one in Edmonton, Western Ontario (Dorchester to Woodstock); one in Moncton; and another in the Dallas Texas area.

Over the years the convoy for a cure has raised more than $100,000 for the cause.  Kristin in Edmonton; Joanne in Western Ontario and Cindy in Dallas and of course Rachele in Eastern Ontario have and continue to do wonders in organizing this wonderful fundraiser.

It’s become sort of a competition amongst the various convoys to be the largest fund raiser of the various convoys.  Friendly competition for bragging rights of course.

Joanne Milne of the Western Ontario Convoy wrote on the following on that facebook site

The 2012 season is up & rolling for various convoys across Canada & the United States, all raising awareness & funds for their unique and worthy causes!  We here at the Ontario West convoy are also moving forward with some new changes for 2012. We will now be called “Trucking for a Cure” we have a new name, but we are still a support group on behalf of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Ontario as a non profit/capital event. We have decided to continue our relationship with the foundation as the driving force battling breast cancer & to continue celebrating the roll women play in the transportation industry! With the generous support of our drivers and sponsors we have raised over $81,000 for the foundation since 2010. The foundation relies on caring, community-minded people & organizations like “Trucking for a Cure” to raise funds for breast cancer awareness, education and research. Funds raised at such events as this, are used to fund research & fellowships, as well as breast health incentives across Ontario, and to allow them to continue working to improve the lives of those affected with breast cancer! Our 2012 “Team Cure” once again looks forward to a successful fund raising year, & the continuous support of our sponsors & drivers who are the driving force behind breast cancer! *Let’s drive out breast cancer 1 truck at a time*” 

Why not create a fundraiser in your area?  This is the power of social media.