You probably use technology more than they do
If you are counting on that new Twitter account to bring in loads of truck driver applications, you might be disappointed. According to a new Randall-Reilly Market Intelligence report, just 3.5% of company equipment drivers and 4.6% of owner-operators use that social media network. Even if you look at just the 50-and-under crowd, it’s still just 4.3% of company drivers and 7.9% of owner-operators.
The Trucking Connectivity Study, released last month and based on telephone and online research conducted this winter, shows substantially greater use of Facebook than Twitter among drivers. In fact, a majority of company drivers – including 60% of drivers 50 or younger – use Facebook. A majority of each of the other groups in the study – owner-operators, fleet managers and executives, truck dealers and parts distributors – don’t use any of the major social media networks.
Among those that “do” social media, Facebook is used the most and most frequently. A large number of Facebook users in all groups access it at least once a day, but LinkedIn and Twitter users often go for a week or more without logging onto those networks.
The study confirms some things you might assume, such as the fact that younger professionals tend to use smartphones and social media more than older professionals. And it’s probably not surprising that executives and managers of trucking companies and private fleets use the Internet more frequently than drivers and owner-operators, who spend most of their days behind a steering wheel. For the same reason, it’s logical that radio and satellite radio are major sources of news and information for drivers and owner-operators and basically irrelevant for fleets, dealers and distributors.
Nor would it shock you that drivers and owner-operators are more likely to access the Internet and social media in the evening than at other times of the day. But that’s useful information when you are trying to target messages that are likely to be read by the greatest number of people.
You might be surprised, however, that given the mobile nature of their work, only about 45% of owner-operators use a smartphone (at least for any purpose other than making phone calls). Age makes a big difference in smartphone use, however; about 60% of owner-operators 50 and younger use them, while only about 37% of older owner-operators do so. Barely 51% of company drivers use a smartphone for any purpose other than making calls, and the age breakdown among smartphone users is almost identical to that for owner-operators.
While social media might not be the key today to finding new drivers, the Internet in general is very important. About 59% of company drivers say that they use an Internet search most often to find jobs, and that figure doesn’t vary significantly by age. Trucking magazines were second at nearly 15%. Among owner-operators, Internet searches are used most often by just 32%, but that is still the dominant single source with trucking magazines holding that same 15%. Larger than any single option was “Other,” which reflects independent owner-operators and others that simply aren’t in the job market as well as those who rely on word of mouth.
AVERY VISE is executive director, trucking research and analysis for Randall-Reilly and senior editor, industry analysis for Commercial Carrier Journal. E-mail email@example.com.
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