Sahail Ashraf posted on 17 October 2017
Airlines have always gone big in the marketing world. They have created huge TV and radio campaigns and dominated ads in cinemas too.
With social media, and perhaps this is to be expected, airlines have been making a big impact.
But there obviously have to be some front-runners and some approaches that work better than others.
If a brand does absolutely nothing else on social, it has to do customer service. Huge PR meltdowns have erupted in the past, as brands don’t respond to customer issues quickly enough.
With news now being spread more often on social rather than TV or print, it is vital that big brands become expert at being aware of and responding to customer queries and complaints. KLM is perhaps the very best example of this and the one platform on which it has absolutely excelled is Twitter.
That’s right, KLM are perhaps the very best airline on Twitter. And there is a reason for this.
Brands that do well on social have worked hard to develop a strong customer experience. Part of a customer experience is the response from a brand to any problems or queries. If that part of the customer experience is mastered by brands, they will see a corresponding rise in their value online.
So what does KLM do that is so good? It responds to 90% or more of replies and mentions. That is actually quite a feat because even smaller companies have difficulty in matching that level of response.
Now, we’re sure that KLM doesn’t have just one person on this, but even with a team, it is still pretty spectacular. KLM realised that the positive relationships with customers were of a paramount importance. This solid approach to customer service works for them and makes customers more loyal over time.
Staring contest, who wins? pic.twitter.com/oyuV8HjGTk
— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) August 29, 2017
It’s not hard to see why Emirates rules on Instagram. Pick out one of their posts at any point in the day and you will see a high quality, customer-focused approach to Instagram. They know what they are doing, and they work hard to make sure they constantly improve.
Aside from their work with influencers, the airline also has a pretty impressive back catalogue of posts, all of which push forward the idea of Emirates just being super confident on the platform.
When you hit the Instagram account for this frankly inspiring airline, you find beautiful, glossy and exciting images. It is so expertly done, every post could come straight out of a brochure.
Take a look at this one and you can see that the airline makes a big effort to bring an aspirational feel to its Instagram feed. This is a simply beautiful image, and it ticks all the boxes for passengers. And there were over 50,000 likes in just 20 hours.
And then there’s this post. Again, glossy, aspirational, and beautiful.
They can also do quirky and fun too, with this post being a great example of making passenger flights that little bit easier.
There is something interesting at work here though. Emirates are well known for their reliance on influencers. A huge chunk of their most engaged with posts on Instagram are on the back of an influencer.
If you’re looking for an airline that dominates Facebook, Qatar Airways is probably it. It has an incredibly dynamic presence on the platform, and it works hard too.
The airline makes it look easy, but it has involved some proactive work. It has the biggest level of engagement overall, and you can see this just by looking at a few posts. Tellingly, Emirates is the next most popular airline on Facebook.
Perhaps the only way to describe the airline’s official Facebook page is ‘busy’. There is so much going on here that it seems like it’s the classic idea of a Facebook page being a mini-website. There is chat functionality, plenty of video and lots of contests and prizes. It is essentially offering all that fans need.
Well, taking Qatar as an example, brands that fly people to dream destinations should be excited about what they do. They should also replicate the customer service in the air on the ground, or in cyberspace at least.
The general feeling is that the more open and available the airlines are, the better their levels of success on social media. Going back to KLM, they have such a huge Twitter presence that when they marry that up with world-class customer service, the end result is a brand that has conquered the platform. The audience now relies on the brand to keep up the good work.
And if you look at Emirates (which has a highly respected place in the industry anyway), the brand has so many photos on Instagram the feed seems endless. But the audience loves them for it. Being able to produce high quality images from all over the world makes them successful.
We think the biggest lesson here comes from KLM. You can either do social media well or badly. You can listen to your audience and help or ignore them completely. But these airlines are picking up on the immediacy of social, and the ability to transport an audience through amazing photos and videos.
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