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Truck Manufacturers and Social Media: The Good and Not So Good

by David Patton

Last year at the Mid America Trucking Show, a keynote speaker dismissed social media as a marketing tool. One year later, all of the major truck manufacturers have jumped on board with social media, with varying levels of success.


Freightliner and International are successfully using Facebook and Twitter to engage with their audiences. Freightliner spotlights a truck and its driver on a weekly basis and shares relevant information about its brand including news stories, features, contests and polls that provide incentives for participation. Freightliner’s Facebook page features information and contests related to NASCAR (Freightliner is the official hauler of NASCAR), a great strategy for expanding Freightliner’s audience beyond the trucking world.


International frequently shares relevant photographs of company-related events and of its trucks around the world on Facebook. During the 2012 Mid-America Show in Louisville, International made its company historian available for questions via social media.


International began tweeting about Mid-America long before the show began and was active on Twitter throughout the three-day event. International often provides rewards for Twitter engagement and is good about keeping its Tweets interesting, Tweeting about holidays and other topical news.


Several truck manufacturers are successfully using YouTube. Freightliner, Kenworth, Mack and International all have done a good job of posting videos of new trucks and their features. Freightliner and Mack have featured truck owners and their stories. Freightliner has shared its history and videos of classic Freightliner trucks. International frequently shares driving tips with its owners, and it provided great coverage of MATS, from show set-up to a recap of events. International and Volvo used YouTube to discuss the causes in which the companies are involved.


Some truck manufacturers certainly have room for improvement in their social media marketing.  Mack and Peterbilt do not have Facebook pages or have long deserted them. Kenworth is on Facebook but not consistently.


Here are some insights into areas that truck manufacturers could improve on in social media:


  • None of the truck brands are using the Milestone feature on the new Facebook Timeline format. Posting Milestones would be a great way for these companies to share their brand heritage, especially considering that many truck manufacturers have long and interesting histories.


  • Every brand would benefit from engaging consumers and the press on Twitter. As I mentioned before, International provides a great example of how a company can use Twitter to converse with users rather than simply promote itself, and its variety of content makes its tweets more effective. Kenworth, Mack, and Volvo Trucks could benefit from posting more content on Twitter and making the content more varied.


  • Google Plus is an up and coming social network with over 100 million users. We recommend that truck manufacturers claim their pages and start using this site for promotion and networking.


  • Regularly posting high quality videos on YouTube that cover a diverse range of topics can help increase brand awareness and give fans more to talk about. Kenworth and Western Star could benefit from more diverse content and a higher frequency of video uploads. Because it does not have a YouTube channel, Peterbilt is missing a great opportunity to promote its brand.




I look forward to seeing how truck manufacturers develop their social media strategies in the future as the industry becomes more connected through social networks. Social media is a great opportunity for truck manufacturers to continue to build their brand image and connect more directly with customers and fans. Because the truck industry has a high level of brand loyalty and interest, truck manufacturers can greatly benefit from effectively using social media.


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5 Responses to “Truck Manufacturers and Social Media: The Good and Not So Good”

  1. David Patton Says:

    I want to make a note that I viewed the incorrect Peterbilt Facebook page when writing this blog. The official Peterbilt Facebook page, listed as Peterbilt Motor Company, is well-managed, making good use of photos and videos. Peterbilt’s page even outlines the company’s history through milestones, which no other OEM has done yet.

  2. MissNo Says:

    Personally I believe that the ideal startegy for trucking, cargo and freight industry companies when it comes to social media is to choose a couple of main stream social networks like Facebook to communicate with employees and have their info updated out there and Twitter to communicate to the general public and employees. In combination with these big social networks I would use one or two nitch social networks dedicated to the industry like Equipalizer.

  3. Allen Smith Says:

    Trucking is definitely discovering that Social Media is the “new way” to reach out and build relationships.
    We are at a time where honesty and transparency are valued more than facts and figures.

    Navistar International is a Gold Sponsor for the 2012 Truck Driver Social Media Convention in October- Harrah’s in Kansas City, MO
    The event is to Unite and Honor Professional Drivers

    Navistar readily interacts on FaceBook and Twitter as do most of the major truck manufacturers. It’s refreshing to see the relationship creation instead of the “sales pitch”

    Although Social Media is a must for those who desire to increase their audience, there are those who should stay away.


  4. Carhauler Says:

    The potential of social media for trucking is unlimited. Look how fast it has grown to date…we are already on our second social media convention for trucking.


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