TikTok could be a useful recruitment tool for trucking companies

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Updated May 11, 2022

Alex Nino compares people driving four-wheelers in the rain to SpongeBob at Mrs. Puff’s boating school.

“Everyone in California literally acts like they don’t know how to drive the minute they see a single drop of water on the (ground),” he said in a recent video.

Nino is a California-based truck driver who hosts his own TikTok and YouTube channels featuring content that exhibits the lifestyle of a trucker, as well as some safety content mainly directed toward fellow drivers like his video showing “the seatbelt trick,” where he loops his seatbelt through his door handle in the unsafe areas where he sometimes has to sleep.

There are other truck drivers on the app, too, including @crazyunclechris_, who showed a video of a Nissan Cube sitting on railroad tracks while waiting for a traffic light to turn green. Chris, who was parked in his truck behind the tracks said, “I have got to put train horns on this truck just so I can scare people when they do that.”

One video showed a truck’s dashcam that recorded another truck ahead losing an axle that flew into the driver’s truck.

“I almost got Final Destinationed,” @bumpycheese’s caption reads.

As a child and grandchild of former truck drivers, I’m aware of the general rules four-wheelers should follow when sharing the road with 18-wheelers: when you’re passing, get around quickly because you never know what can fly off a truck; move over when a truck has its hazards on; be mindful of trucks’ blind spots; and never, whatsoever, cut a truck off because they can’t stop on a dime, etc. etc.

The popular video app, although know for silly dance videos, features content across a wide spectrum of interests, from house decorating tips and recipes to politics and, yes, even trucking. And it could be a great tool for educating people about any topic, including driving and interacting safely with tractor trailers on the road and the trucking lifestyle.

But, unfortunately, it isn’t that easy to get specific content out to all drivers because it’s based on an algorithm tailored to each individual and what they like.

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That being said, I have two takeaways: one for TikTok and one for trucking companies.

For TikTok, I think it would be a good idea to show, during dedicated months like Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April or National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, for instance, important educational content that could save lives across all of its users.

And for trucking companies, I think Nino is a great example of how TikTok can be used as a platform to recruit drivers by showing the trucking lifestyle.

“I’m showing the internet what it’s like making a delivery,” Nino said in one of his TikToks as he dropped a load of produce in the Bay Area.

Nino talks about what it’s like living part-time in a truck, from what he eats and where he sleeps to offering tips on things like seat cushions and handy products like his toothbrush caddy. He also takes his young son over the road with him on occasion, dressing him in a tiny reflective vest and showing him how to pre-trip the vehicle. He doesn’t shy away from the tougher side of being on the road, either, and shares some of his worst fears.

Trucking companies can do a few things to get their content in front of the people who just might be considering a career in the industry. Because the platform shows content based on videos users “heart,” comment on, share or watch multiple times, among other things, it’s important to understand how to get in front of the right audience.

Hootsuite offers nine tips to work with the algorithm. Some of those include finding your subculture by tailoring your content to a specific group of people and using hashtags; creating content that grabs attention within seconds; writing engaging captions; and interacting with other TikTok users, among other things, like posting at the right time of day.

With driver retention being among the top burdens for trucking companies, their leadership should make moves to take advantage of every possible avenue to recruit drivers, and TikTok – as widely used as it is with over 1 billion monthly active users – could be a beneficial tool.

Angel Coker Jones is a senior editor of Commercial Carrier Journal, covering the technology, safety and business segments. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and kayaking, horseback riding, foraging for medicinal plants and napping. She also enjoys traveling to new places to try local food, beer and wine. Reach her at [email protected].