[Case Study] How to Create Inspiring Social Media Content for an Airport
Social media can be a refreshing way for companies to break through the clutter of traditional media and connect with passengers/customers on a new and more personal level. However, with airports (and other companies) increasingly taking to social channels, the social space is also beginning to become cluttered, and it is becoming tougher to get through to people (and to potential passengers).

This segment of the Simpli-Airports Series focuses on surprising and delighting passengers and on how your airport can start to think of ways to better connect with social networks by benchmarking against what others are doing in this area. Ryan Hollingsworth, the Communications and Social Media Manager from what many consider to be one of the pioneer airports for airport marketing and social media, shares some insights from Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) on Surprising & Delighting fans by creating social media content that is meant to entertain and inspire.

How do you create interesting content? Start with the Why

The marketing mavens of CAK seem to have content development and “fan” engagement down almost to a science.  After recently hearing Ryan speak at the 2012 American Association of Airport Executives Social Media Summit, we immediately knew the insights from herself and CAK Sr. VP and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Kristie Van Auken, would be valuable to other airports.   CAK has found a way to take content development to another level, always focusing first on the “why.” 

The CAK secret to social content development is to take the approach of quality + great content = social success. 

As shared in the presentation below they also often follow the social media mantra of making sure that all content fits the following criteria: Relevant, Interesting, Timely, Entertaining, Educational, and Empowering. 

Time allocation for the creation of such content is also an important thing to note. Interestingly, only about 45% of the airports surveyed for the recent SimpliFlying Social Media Outlook Report indicated that they currently spend more than 50 man-hours per month on social media. CAK shared with us that the majority of the time that they spend on social efforts, is spent developing the content, with much less time spent on the actual execution. 

According to Hollingsworth, 40% of her time at CAK is spent on social media with the remaining 60% spent on other aspects of her job. Two people at CAK regularly work on social media, those two people being Van Auken and Hollingsworth. Of the time the team spends on social media, the majority is spent on creating content, strategy and developing the thoughts. Actually going on Twitter or Facebook to post most often takes a few seconds, at best, but the content development and strategy is what the CAK team of marketers focuses their time on. 

Simpli-Airports Series: CAK Surprise and Delight

We are excited to share Ryan’s presentation below, in hopes that the CAK example can help other airports to see the importance and benefits of creating relevant, entertaining and inspiring content to use on social media. In the presentation, CAK shares details on how they find the correct mix of traditional marketing tactics and pair them with social media to connect with passengers both on and offline. Ryan also shares some of the ways in which CAK focuses on developing content before it is posted, aiming for increased “likes” to each post. 

In the remainder of this Simpli-Airports Series, we will continue to explore case studies around airports that are using social media to drive specific goals and also take a look at how they are allocating resources and budgets to these areas:

  • Week 3: Social Interest and Photo-Sharing
  • Week 4: Social Crowd Sourcing

We look forward to conversing with you on how you can improve your airport social media program in each of these focus areas. 

Join us next week for the third segment of this Simpli-Airports series when we take a deeper look at using social media to develop social interest through new(er) platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. 

Do you have an interesting airport case study that you would like us to share with our readers? Write us at: airports@simpliflying.com.

[Featured image: Courtesy of the the Akron-Canton Airport: The airport held a social countdown, leading to the start of new Southwest Airlines service at CAK, complete with a dedicated hashtag.  CAK Airline station crews got into the social fun by helping with the countdown photos.]

Elizabeth Cecconi

Elizabeth Cecconi

Head of Airport Engagement at SimpliFlying
Elizabeth Cecconi headed the airports practice at SimplFlying as the company's Airport Engagement Executive from January to November 2012. She has worked in the Aviation industry for over 8 years, most recently heading all marketing and air service efforts at the South Bend Airport, in Indiana, USA and, prior to that, as a member of the Akron-Canton Airport (Ohio) marketing team. When she is not leading global business development (airports) for SimpliFlying, she can often be found boating on Lake Ontario at her home in Western NY State, or off traveling and skiing.

You can find Elizabeth on LinkedIn.

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