American truckers are active users of all kinds of social networking platforms, and you definitely miss a turn on the highway to recruiting success if you don’t know how to use social media to recruit truck drivers.
A good rule of thumb, like checking your mirrors, is to regularly create engaging content to back up your ad campaigns, and vice versa. Ads should be an organic extension of your trucking social media content, but the audience should be able to tell one from the other like a trucker can tell a Peterbilt from a Kenworth. Typically, ads include a text box with captions and a specific call to action to attract tractor-trailer drivers.
We’ve taken a long haul through various platforms, and advise you to shift gears wisely when using social media to recruit truck drivers.
Long before you launch lead generation ads, it's crucial to ensure you can effectively track all candidate sources and efforts. A seamless integration between your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and marketing channels is akin to having a navigator on a long haul, ensuring you stay on course in your hiring journey. Notably, Tenstreet and DriverReach are among the most well-known ATS in the transportation industry.
While some platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc) may have dedicated lead centers, they don’t allow you to compare and analyze the efficiency of all advertising sources in one place, in contrast to your ATS once it’s properly set up.
Now let’s review the platforms to which we allocated sufficient advertising budget over the last 5 years and focus on their highlights as well as gained insights.
Meta (Facebook and Instagram) has proved to be the best social media to recruit truck drivers. Various research shows that the majority of “old school” drivers – the ones who could drive an 18-wheeler in their sleep – are active Facebook users. It’s where the rubber meets the road in generating quality and affordable driver candidates. Moreover, if you’re looking for a payload of drivers for your transportation business, Meta is your route.
All in all, Facebook and Instagram are advertising- and driver acquisition-friendly platforms despite the fact that neither is a truck driver social network per se. Most notably, you can:
- Leverage various content types (video and static ads).
- Perform A/B testing of your campaigns.
- Tap into various placements: chats, stories, reels, feeds, Facebook audience network.
Here’s the gist of our tips and valuable insights on running ads to find truck drivers on Meta:
- Generate driver candidates via Facebook lead forms, they are like the express lane to obtaining leads. Having tried landing pages, calls, messages and instant experiences we can say with confidence that Facebook lead forms are the most effective. Candidates don’t have to be redirected anywhere, and the application process takes literally seconds, as the user's contact info is automatically populated into the form.
- Go broad when it comes to the audience. Job offer promotions fall under a special ad category on Facebook, which means that you will have limitations when it comes to the audience selection. Gender, age and zip settings will be restricted. The choice of interests will also be very limited. The good news is that broad targeting (basically just geo choice) does optimize quite well, so you should start seeing results 1-2 days after you publish your first ad.
- Enable retargeting. Even though the audience selection has some limitations, you can still use retargeting on the custom lists, websites audience, and your page audience. Use this opportunity to reach out to your ATS driver database.
- Install tracking via Facebook Pixel on your website. That will ensure you benefit from the retargeting mentioned above.
- Use all the placement options. From our experience, the biggest share of leads come from feeds (around 54%), but the remaining volume comes from all other Meta placements.
- Be prepared to wait for a fair Cost per Lead (CPL). If you are launching your campaigns for the first time, it can take 2-3 weeks for you to see a steady CPL. First, in the beginning you will have budget spent limitations as a new advertiser. Secondly, Meta algorithms would need some time to search and optimize for your target audience.
- Your budget can influence your CPL. Keep in mind that what you promote (job offer) and where you promote (geo) have a direct impact on your CPL. But also be aware that as you increase your budget, your CPL can rise as well. In our portfolio, we observe that clients with up to $5,000 monthly budget tend to have the CPL of $5-15, while those with budgets of $60,000 and higher normally have the CPL of $15-30.
- Use both videos and static images in your ads. Normally, you will see that videos bring around 20% cheaper results. However, they are not supported by all placements, so it is always a good idea to diversify your trucking social media content.
TikTok, although not a trucker social network, is similar to Meta in many aspects. It has its own lead forms to collect the user’s contact info, and the CPL is very close to that you get on Facebook and Instagram. Like Meta, TikTok allows you to track those who engage with your ads and fine-tune your ads to target the right audience.
The major differences are as follows:
- TikTok welcomes short form video content only.
- Feed is the only placement to run ads.
- The audience sees ads in the feed only. That’s why it’s important to update your advertising content regularly to ensure efficient engagement with leads.
- The volume of drivers on TikTok is lower than on Meta.
- The younger generation mostly uses TikTok (millennials and Gen Z), so you need to emphasize the required experience in your ads to eliminate irrelevant applicants.
Please bear in mind that TikTok ads shouldn't always be pranky or dancy - you’re free to leverage trends to promote your business the way you see it. Just beware of limitations and restrictions applied to musical trends in terms of copyright law.
We had negative experiences with Twitter twice - in 2020 and 2022. While Twitter may be particularly great for crypto and blockchain promotion, it’s no good for attracting leads from trucking and transportation.
We did get some leads, but trying to get through to them was like trying to find a parking spot for your big rig in downtown New York. This made us question if those were real driver candidates.
Even though Snapchat may seem somewhat similar to TikTok, and the United States ranked in 2nd place with a Snapchat audience base of over 108 million users, it’s not considered a truck driver social network by any means. We wasted several grands back in 2022 just to see it for ourselves. Additionally, in conversations with recruiting leaders we’ve never heard of anyone hiring CDL class A drivers from this platform.
We acknowledge that this may not be universally true, and if you’ve had a different experience with Snapchat, we’d be eager to hear your story.
Linkedin is a good fit for B2B advertising, enhancing brand awareness, and networking. We have successful advertising cases on Linkedin to attract leads for our clients’ brokerage and factoring business divisions, but not for hiring drivers.
Of course, Linkedin has numerous truck driver profiles, but it’s not the right social media for truck drivers as they don’t use Linkedin that often. It’s hard to engage with candidates on Linkedin and collect their contact details for further retargeting and remarketing.
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger constitute a distinct advertising niche due to their unique characteristics. First and foremost, there’s one fine point between Sponsored messages and Messaging objectives.
Messaging objective is a standard advertisement that encourages the audience to communicate with you via messenger. Sponsored message is a type of advertisement in which you send a certain message directly into the inbox of your audience. This type of advertisement is available in Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, however, they have one big limitation – audience. You can advertise only to candidates who had a previous conversation with you in the past year in Facebook messenger. And WhatsApp messenger allows you to reach out to those who have your phone number in their phone book.
Therefore, if your page doesn't have enough open conversations with potential drivers, running this type of trucking social media campaign might not be feasible. To give you a rough estimation, a page with 50K followers only managed to send 52 messages out of which 4 were answered. Therefore, when it comes to paid advertisement, this might not be the best budget allocation source.
An amazing reinforcement of your advertising efforts comes with a chatbot implemented in a messenger (Facebook, WhatsApp, your corporate website, or landing page). It’s one of the best ways to engage with potential drivers 24/7. Furthermore, it can serve as a source of free leads, provided that your chatbot is configured effectively to address drivers’ questions and concerns regarding your company and job openings.
There are numerous chatbots available in the market, each offering a range of features and customization options. Some ready-made chatbot solutions can be implemented on multiple platforms. They can efficiently process leads, tag them, and form audience lists that you can later incorporate in your advertising efforts on Facebook.
In conclusion, the strategic use of social media is instrumental in recruiting truck drivers. By understanding each platform's strengths, weaknesses, and audience demographics, you can optimize your hiring efforts. Make sure to integrate your ATS to track applicants efficiently and consider using chatbots to engage with candidates round the clock. Keep your content engaging and relevant and tailor your advertisements to match the platform and audience.
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