Winning Business for Your Warehouse: Social Media Marketing 101

Date: February 24,2021


How 3PLs Can Gain More Customers Through Social Media Advertising

In the Third-Party Logistics Benchmark Report, 77% of 3PLs viewed acquiring new customers as their biggest opportunity in 2021 and in our previous blog, we discussed this idea using SEO and paid search as avenues to accomplish this. Now to continue the spirit of third-party logistics (3PLs) winning new business through online avenues, no discussion would be complete without social media and what it can do for businesses. It’s changed the landscape of customer to business dialogue. It’s revolutionized market penetration for aspiring new brands. It’s even offered a way for businesses to humanize their brand on a fundamental level. What’s more, it’s possible for businesses who’ve never done it to be successful at it.

To start off, social media can be broken down into two camps: organic and paid.

Organic social describes the posts that you make and add to your business page. They can be seen only by those that follow you or who look for a specific category or hashtag contained in the post. While it doesn’t require any cost to get started, unless you already have a social following, it is significantly more difficult for users to see your content.

Paid Social on the other hand describes running ads on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the myriad of other social media platforms out there. These ads appear in a user’s feed with the look and feel of a regular post from a friend they follow, but have specific business purposes, like purchasing goods, contacting the business, or even growing your social media following.

Using Organic Social Media as a Warehouse

Organic social media as a warehouse provides information, brand presence, and expertise to those considering your warehouse as a viable option to conduct business with.

While noted earlier that organic social does require a pre-requisite following for it to be effective, as a warehouse this is not terribly difficult to start out with, as customers and small budget social campaigns can drastically increase the reach of your organic social posts.

Once you do get that strong social media following, using organic social media is a great way to showcase company updates, demonstrate expertise, and generally highlight information your customers would find valuable to see from someone they’re following. Examples of good social media posts as a warehouse would be industry updates that could affect your customers. Like if potential political sanctions could prevent customers from sourcing goods and materials, a social post describing the downstream implications of such sanctions would demonstrate expertise and provide value to the customer’s business. As a third-party logistics operator, do not simply try to do funny memes (comically captioned images) or caption contests. These types of posts should not be the purpose of your warehouse's social media. Furthermore, it’s not truly valuable to your customers, as they will follow you for your logistics expertise, not for the humor you provide.

And as always, it’s important to test. Find out which platforms, messages, and types of content are most likely to resonate with your customers and drive engagement. It’s through engagement that social media platforms reward organic social pages with greater reach to a wider audience.

With a strong organic social media presence, a warehouse can greatly assist their sales team in closing new business, as well as preventing the churn of current customers.

Using Paid Social Media as a 3PL Warehouse

Warehouses can use paid social media campaigns to do just about any measurable activity online. From filling out a lead generation form to tracking phone calls to your business, paid social has the potential to directly grow a third-party logistics business in terms of both customers and revenue.

Facebook is a popular choice for paid campaigns as they know a scary amount of what you do on their platform. So, if you wanted to target all the people in Ohama, Nebraska, who run online ecommerce businesses, and are between the ages of 20-40, as a warehouse, you can likely do this. , A 3PL warehouse could then send this group of targeted users paid social ads, asking if they’re ready to grow their online business and let someone else take care of the warehousing and shipping of their product.

Different social media platforms have different targeting capabilities for paid social ads, but most all have a common set of demographic targeting (location, age, etc.), mixed in with some layer of interest targeting. As a warehouse, it benefits you to find out the core characteristics of your customers and begin targeting users like them. Finding the commonality of targeting criteria may require some extra attention and testing when monitoring a paid campaign’s performance (i.e., part of the budget will go to one audience while the remaining budget will go to a different audience, and measure which campaign fulfilled its objective more efficiently). However, once you can home in on this audience, it becomes far easier to find further like-minded users who are also searching for warehousing and third-party logistics services.

Social Media Marketing Conclusions for 3PLs

If you’re looking to become a more resilient 3PL warehouse in 2021, you will need to add more customers, while retaining the ones you have currently. Using social media from both an organic and paid perspective can accomplish both of these goals, and know what you’re using each for. Make sure you understand your goals, target audience, message, and budget, and then begin testing. While there’s a lot to know about social media, it's possible for warehouses to run themselves. If you haven’t already started, now might be the time to give it a try.

To find more strategies to win new business, check out 4 Website Best Practices for 3PL Warehouses and 3 Strategies to Grow Your 3PL Warehouse on our blog today.

Prepare Your 3PL Warehouse for 2021

This year’s report shares the latest trends and best practices today’s warehouses need to consider to be successful in 2021—including technology, outsourcing, and Amazon.

Download the report
State of the 3PL Industry

Daniel Zimmerman

Written by Daniel Zimmerman

Daniel is an experienced digital marketer, having formerly worked for some of the biggest digital marketing agencies in Southern California. Now tackling the logistics industry, he specializes in utilizing the right medium to find and show customers WMS solutions to pain points they face every day.