It may be summer now, but thoughts of autumn are already in my head. For many people that means the leaves change colors, kids go back to school, and more comfortable temperatures are on their way. But for me, it also means football; specifically, college football. Sure, the NFL is the king of football, but that doesn’t stop me from watching and following my favorite college teams. I’m a Big Ten fan and my team is the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Many of you may be asking, “Minnesota has a college football team?” And the answer is, “Yes, they do.” And what’s more, at one time they were great.
Unfortunately, I don’t live in Southeastern Conference (SEC) country where college football is on the front page of every news outlet. So how does someone like me get information on a football team that doesn’t typically register with traditional press where I live? I turn to social media. This strategy can easily be applied to just about any field, including the supply chain and transportation industry. As much as I wish supply chain news was regularly on the front page of the New York Times or the cover of Forbes magazine, it rarely gains that amount of attention. However, thanks to the internet, we have another way to find industry-relevant information—if you know where to look.
LinkedIn® is a great place to start. Initially, it was only a tool for building networks and finding new opportunities. But now it’s grown to be so much more. LinkedIn® positions itself as a place for professionals to create and share content that is relevant to them. You can follow your customers, vendors, and suppliers to get the latest news and information. One of LinkedIn’s latest features is Pulse. With Pulse you can now follow channels like the Logistics & Supply Chain channel and read what thought leaders and other professionals say on trending topics. The beauty of LinkedIn® as a source for news is that you can tailor the information to suit your needs. If you discover that you follow a company that no longer shares helpful or pertinent content, simply unfollow them. Here at C.H. Robinson, I strive to share information that resonates with our audience—whether it’s curated or original content. It’s all about providing value.
Just like tweets work for football conversations, they’re a perfect way to share supply chain news quickly. I stay on top of trending topics like the rejection of the P3 alliance and when FMCSA Chief, Anne Ferro, stepped down. Twitter® is a tool that when used properly can offer unlimited information about any topic—from world news to personal conversations. In our industry, following #supplychain often provides valuable insight and updates about today’s market.
To make the most out of Twitter®, making lists allows users to quickly sort information. This strategy makes it easy to find handles that focus on a particular topic like technology or government regulations.
For a deeper understanding on a topic, you can watch a YouTube® video. You may already watch video tutorials in your personal life, why not do the same at work? The next time you need the answer to a supply chain question, see if the answer is available on YouTube®.
These are just a few of the social media channels you can use to stay up to date on the latest supply chain and logistics information. Keep in mind that not all social media channels are relevant to the supply chain. For example, I’m still trying to figure out a practical connection between supply chains and SnapChat®—when I do, I’ll be sure to share it on social media.
In my job I get asked all the time, “How will social media impact the supply chain?” Right now, it’s about information and about building relationships. These tools are a simple and fast way to connect the industry with massive amounts of information—something we didn’t always have access to 10 years ago. Social media channels may come and go but the concept isn’t going away. Just as I’ll continue to use social media every day at work, I know that when I watch the Gophers beat Wisconsin this year I’ll be tuned in to social media. Ski U Mah!
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