A lot of business owners scoff at social media and think it really doesn’t have any impact or potential benefit for them. If you own a fleet of any size, a well-executed social media marketing strategy can help grow your business.
At the same time, fleet owners preparing to sell should be on top of their social media game for another important reason. Social media marketing can increase a company’s valuation, when managed and executed strategically and efficiently.
Potential acquirers will scrutinize your social channels...
Investors regularly review social media channels to research companies they are interested in acquiring. If your fleet operation lacks a professional, well-executed social media presence (that you control), you could risk jeopardizing your company’s valuation.
Five ways social media can increase fleet valuation:
1) Raise brand awareness. Social media is one of the most effective marketing tools marketers can utilize to raise brand recognition and awareness. Social media can also boost brand favorability quickly. According to a 2011 study by Ogilvy & Mather and ChatThreads, social media appeared to have the strongest impact on shifting brand favorability higher. Most important, we find that acquirers are typically willing to pay a higher valuation for a company with a strong brand. So, use social media to build your fleet’s brand with customers, employees, contractors and other valuable audiences.
2) Increase sales. Social media isn’t simply a way to reconnect with old friends. Savvy marketers (and business owners) know that the top social sites offer a variety of tools to help drive sales. A recent article on CIO.com cited three significant examples to reinforce this fact: $3 million in sales for Dell Outlet using Twitter; $2 million in sales for Starwood via one Facebook campaign; and a 1,600% ROI for VMware through hosting a Google+ Hangout. If you could land just one new account using social media, how much would that be worth?
3) Enhance your reputation through thought leadership initiatives. LinkedIn tends to lead the pack as a marketing resource for B2B organizations because the site makes it easy for individuals to connect with others in their industry niche. According to LinkedIn, 60% of the site’s members are interested in garnering industry insights while engaging with the social channel. Recently, LinkedIn began to allow anyone to publish articles. A well-written column on how to lower operating costs or how to boost efficiency would build your reputation as a thought leader in the trucking industry.
4) Improve customer service and satisfaction. The happier the customer, the more likely an enduring business-customer relationship will result. On the other hand, an unsatisfied customer is more likely to post a negative review of your fleet or your service on social media than to call you and complain. Do you know what your customers are saying about your fleet on social media? Today, 74% of Internet users utilize social networking sites, according to Pew Research. People (especially millennials and younger age groups) expect to communicate with businesses via social media. Use social media to quickly address customer complaints and improve customer satisfaction.
5) Tout your success stories. Social media offers a multitude of channels to share success stories and testimonials that distinguish your fleet operation from others. You can recirculate any success story from your website, YouTube channel, PR sites or in news stories through your social channels to gain visibility and positive traction for your company. Often one great success story is all it takes to win over that client you have been chasing for years!
Investor’s social eyes are on you, so get your social media plan in order...
If you are considering selling all or a portion of your fleet, don’t neglect the importance of your social media presence. Acquirers will closely scrutinize information about your business (as well as the activities of your key management) on social sites.
Be proactive about strategically managing your social profiles and shining a bright light on your accomplishments and capabilities.
With an effective social media plan in place, you may be able to secure a higher valuation for your fleet than you ever would have imagined. Start building and polishing your social media image today and it will pay off tomorrow!