How airlines can drive and measure ROI from social media (Plus: Free passes for webinar)

By Shubhodeep Pal

In a recent conversation with a senior airline executive at a conference in Singapore, he proudly boasted to me how successful his airline’s social media efforts have been. “We will soon be the most followed airline in the country, even ahead of the national carrier!”. I didn’t quite understand what he was so happy about.

Ever since airlines exploded into social media through a multitude of platforms and services, there has been a half-hearted race to gain the proverbial “first-mover advantage”. And too often, airlines trying to one-up one another on follower numbers miss the point of these new mediums. It’s to drive specific business goals and then measure the results.

The two pillars of social media success for airlines

  1. Getting into social media is critical, but not without a strategy

A few years ago, when social media was the new, hesitant, unshapely kid-on-the-block, it seemed to be yet another distraction for teenagers. Today, many airlines, big and small, have leveraged social media to gain access to a hitherto unreachable audience, both in terms of demographics and size.

Although social media provides a fantastic platform for instant interaction and driving buzz, the platforms employed can become banes if there isn’t a specific strategy (linked to business objectives) in place. For airlines especially, there needs to be a focus on which key goals are to be met via social media as well as how to scale up in the long-term. Otherwise, you might end up like Jet2, which had to shut down its Twitter account when they couldn’t deal with the excessive traffic it was receiving.

And this brings us to the next, more crucial “pillar”.

2. You must know which metrics to measure, and how

In many business circles, a common assumption is that it is enough to “enter” or “place yourself” in social media. The rest will happen on its own when fans and followers are acquired. That is a myth.

Although fan- and follower-numbers are good metrics to measure the awareness your airline has generated, solely depending on a specific number of fans to measure success can be fatal.

Can your social media team answer these questions?

  1. How many of your Facebook fans have flown you at least thrice in the last 3 months.
  2. How many of those in your Frequent Flier program have more than 5000 followers on Twitter?

The key take-away from this point is that the buck doesn’t stop with follower numbers: look beyond them, there’s a wealth of information those numbers can provide if you know where to look and what to look for.

If you didn’t have the answer to either of the above questions, you need to attend our webinar on driving social media ROI for airlines on March 1.

Webinar on driving social media ROI for Airlines

In the webinar, Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying will walk airline executives through a detailed roadmap of how to establish benchmarks, select metrics and translate social media initiatives into numbers. Sign up today for the webinar at http://bit.ly/airlineroi and learn how to use ROI Dashboards to determine success.

If you’d like to win a free pass to the webinar, just give one of the two best answers to the following question:

What is the best way for airlines to measure success on social media, a.k.a ROI?

You can answer on Quora, Twitter (@simpliflying) or in the comments here to qualify.

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