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SOCIAL MEDIA: A powerful taxi industry tool… if used correctly



Social media has become a powerful tool, for both good and bad, for the UK taxi industry in recent years. It has enabled taxi drivers and companies to connect with customers, promote their services, and respond to feedback. It has also created new challenges and opportunities for the industry, such as competition from ride-hailing apps, online reputation management, and customer loyalty.


One of the main benefits of social media for the UK taxi industry is that it can allow reach to a wider audience and attract new customers. By creating engaging content, such as videos, photos, stories, and testimonials, taxi drivers and companies can showcase their professionalism, reliability, and personality.

One of the huge social media successes in the industry can be seen via Tom Hutley's YouTube channel, Tom the Taxi Driver. Tom is a licensed London cabbie, a tour guide, an author, and a successful YouTuber with over 75,000 subscribers.

He started his channel in 2020 and has since produced hundreds of videos showcasing his life as a taxi driver, his knowledge of London's history and culture, and his tips and tricks for aspiring cabbies. Used in the right way, social media can both highlight issues facing cabbies in a particular region and provide positive PR.

However, social media also poses some challenges and risks for the UK taxi industry. The biggest challenge of social media is that it requires cabbies with no media training to manage not only their own online reputation and image, but potentially the industry’s too. Since social media is a public platform where anyone can post or share anything, taxi drivers and companies have to be careful about what they say and do online.


Most brands avoid posting or engaging in anything that could damage their credibility or reputation, such as offensive or inappropriate content, false or misleading information, or spamming or trolling. The taxi industry should be no different. Whilst it’s only human and right that cabbies monitor what others are saying about the trade they represent online, it does require a united and professional response. It’s worth noting that an industry’s PR is sometimes only as strong as its weakest link.


TaxiPoint caught up with Tom Hutley to learn more about how he views digital marketing in the trade and whether argumentative interactions can ever return positive industry PR


SHOULD MORE DRIVERS LOOK AT DIGITALLY MARKETING THEMSELVES AND THE TRADE? WHAT BENEFITS MIGHT THERE

BE TO THE DRIVER?


Definitely. If you use social media, you already have a digital footprint that people can see and build a profile about who you are. Marketing yourself online is just an extension of that.


As more and more services become digital, so too is your presence and your trustability.


I would encourage drivers not to look at it as digital marketing, but another opportunity to build trust with your customers and audience. I have many people reaching out to book me specifically because they have grown to know and trust me! I helped a lady from across the pond who I had never met, but she had watched enough of my videos to trust me to collect her children from the airport and help them move into university.


The benefits can extend much further than just work. It could be getting your name established in your local community. Promoting your personal interests outside of driving the taxi. As technology progresses, it will be the people without a strong digital presence who will lose out. It’s like asking around your group of friends “hey do you know of this person?” or “is this person trustworthy?” If you can’t find any information about that person, you’re likely to be sceptical if you can trust them.


CAN ANGRY OR ARGUMENTATIVE POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA EVER BARE POSITIVE PR OR RESULTS FOR THE TAXI INDUSTRY?


I get that there’s a lot of passionate drivers out there, but passion can be very easily misinterpreted as malicious comments. Especially in a short form medium that doesn’t allow for tone or context to be conveyed (i.e. Twitter).


I generally abide by the rule of “speak favourably of your competitors”. If you imagine the global titans of business, you would never hear Bezos slagging off Tesco’s. Ramsay putting down McDonalds. Or Branson going ape on Ryanair. The taxi trade is no different.

We have a lot of challenges that face the taxi industry in London. But rather than going all out with angry comments, we need drivers to unite, ensuring we deliver concise and professional messaging, that encourages policy makers to listen to us. Reputation takes years to build and can be lost in an instant. Each micro-interaction online could be another “cut” in the taxi trade. Death by a thousand cuts.


Take the time to construct your messaging, what is the point of your comment? Can it be interpreted negatively? How does this look to an outsider of the trade? Every comment is a chance to promote the trade rather than tear it down.

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