1. Imagine you’re back at the start. What were the 3 most important things you thought of doing?
Our first and foremost objective was to create a solid Social Media strategy. Our second most important objective was to have key decision makers embrace the strategy. The third was to launch successfully. Our primary goal in building these communities was to recruit brand enthusiasts and engage with them within these communities by consistently being relevant to them and to Emirates. I’m happy to say we accomplished all of our objectives.
2. How did you decide which platforms to tackle more aggressively than others and why?
We have a solid, proven methodology defined as our Social Media Maturity road map. As part of this road map, we first looked at all the conversations happening about our brand and where these conversations were taking place first. Facebook was an obvious choice for us especially since we were launching our new brand platform “Hello Tomorrow”. We revamped our presence on YouTube recently as well.
3. How do you measure the success (ROI) of your social media efforts?
We have been here only for four months. How we measure our success right now is our growth and engagement on Facebook. As Facebook quoted recently “The Emirates page is one of the fastest growing and most engaging travel pages on Facebook”. Our engagement rate target was an average of 1%. We regularly see engagement rates exceed 10%(making us one of the most engaged travel brands globally, well above the airline sector). Social Bakers’ July report reveals Emirates is currently the most engaging airline brand on Facebook. Our “Talking About” target was a 10% average; over the first three months we’ve seen it reach more than 60%.
4. Do you have an internal team working on thinking up social initiatives or do you work with an external agency?
Most of our social initiatives are conceived internally based on our communication and marketing plans. However, we also have a strong agency partner that helps us execute these initiatives effectively.
5. How important do you think is customer service via social media? Are you dedicating resources to it?
To be able to provide the best Customer Service is of paramount importance to Emirates. We are working internally on planning how to do that via social media. We will have cross-functional resources to handle customer service through social media in the near future.
6. How large is the social media team at Emirates? Is it cross-functional?
We have a small dedicated team. However, we also work with teams across the entire organization.
7. Are there any long-term goals that your social media team is striving towards?
We always plan for the future. We are the fastest growing airline in the world. We have future plans to match this massive growth. For example, creating a wider social footprint and to be able to participate in the conversations happening on those platforms.
8. With in-flight wi-fi right becoming increasingly popular, when can we see wifi on all (or most) planes of Emirates?
We have plans to roll out faster and higher bandwidth wi-fi services soon. Having these services will give us the exciting opportunity to talk to our fans while they are on-board our aircraft.
9. What sort of tools do you use to manage your social presence?
Most of the tools we use are related to efficiency and measurement. We employ a variety of tools. For instance: Sysomos, BuddyMedia, SocialBakers. These tools help us with listening, media monitoring, content scheduling, moderation, analytics, competitive analysis and measuring engagement.
10. What has been your greatest takeaway from the process of building your airline’s social media strategy so far?
My greatest takeaway: Social Media Strategy is something that needs be owned by everyone in the entire organization. Especially the key decision makers who need to believe and adapt to Social Media. We are absolutely blessed here at Emirates to see it happening so quickly. Seeing the senior executives so excited and enthusiastic about the potential of social media is extremely heartening. We are fairly new. So we are testing, learning and allowing ourselves to make small mistakes and to make adjustments based on what we learn as we travel on our path.
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Featured Image: One of the many outstanding images used by Emirates as its cover photo on Facebook.
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