How can legacy airlines, airports or hotels make an entry into social media? Start from within

In the past few weeks, I’ve interacted with senior executives leading Marketing/Digital Marketing at a number of legacy airlines. Most of these have hardly made baby steps into social media branding. The biggest hurdle they seem to face is not achieving success in their new initiatives, but proving themselves internally.

And that’s only natural, since most monolithic organizations have more naysayers than doers. And the doers seldom have more clout than the naysayers. So, how to overcome this challenge?

Look within – start from the inside

My suggestion to these executives was to look at the upcoming marketing plans/campaigns. Something that’s already been budgeted for, and would be rolled out in the next three months. Then, work with the marketing team to “social media-fy” that plan. Basically, you’d want to add wings to the campaign through social media. And make sure there’s a way to measure the results (even if qualitative) so that you can measure the before-and-after effect of social media on the initiatives.

This allows you to achieve a few things:

  1. You prove that social media adds value
  2. There’s no need for substantial additional budget to run the SM activities
  3. Working from an already-planned initiative is much easier than proposing brand new (=risky) social media campaign
  4. You can then duplicate this for a couple of other marketing initiatives and then branch out social media gradually
  5. You prove your worth, and get started on the road to becoming a social media rockstar

Once you’ve done this, you can easily embark on the 11 steps I’ve suggested earlier, to quick-start the social media branding strategy at your airline, airport or hotel.

Does that help? Legacy airlines, are you listening?

If you have questions about the process, or would like to seek personal help in making this work, feel free to reach out to me by email: shashank[at]simpliflying[dot]com. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts on your efforts in social media in the comments or over on Twitter (@simpliflying)

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 16 comments
  • Vikram Singh
    Reply

    During my KLM years, I started a group of online communities under the business innovation umbrella. The first one Club China received a lot of kudos. http://clubchina.klm.com/
    Offers a lot of business services for b2b customers.

  • Kareem Simpson
    Reply

    Good idea….they should also take a few lines out of the marketing pages of other successful social media campaigns.

  • Aftab Khurhsid
    Reply

    Nice to see you in LinkedIN,we met in last World Brand Congress.appriciate if you can mail me the airline footage and slumdog song footage.rgds,
    aftab

  • Ravindra Neriyanuri
    Reply

    They can start with creating awareness, space in social media sites. Sponsor some events and highlight trends, and show why their airline/hotel/airport meets the expectations of various travellers (business, tourists). Ex: what are the best offers they have on tickets, meals and seating etc,. even new movies they are going to play in the inflight entertainment. Facilities they have for mothers traveling alone with small children/babies etc., Destination details, events, and discounts etc.,

    It's very important to know that the user in the social media “connects” instantly on seeing the brand.

    hope it helps.

    -Ravi

  • Kaushik Mhadeshwar
    Reply

    Some thoughts

    (1) The legacy airline brands and hotel brands that I can think of are not particularly favored by the youth so its going to be quite challenging to reach out to them on social media – social media is dominated by the youth.

    (2) Deals never go out of style in this category. If special offers can be given to the brand loyalists on social media, the channel could be popular.It can be a good way to give last-minute kind of deals.It is otherwise difficult to spread the word on last-minute deals.

    (3) It is always a good idea to have an official 'club' on various social networks to counter those which are set up by 'biased' parties.

  • Vikram Singh
    Reply

    During my KLM years, I started a group of online communities under the business innovation umbrella. The first one Club China received a lot of kudos. http://clubchina.klm.com/
    Offers a lot of business services for b2b customers.

  • Kareem Simpson
    Reply

    Good idea….they should also take a few lines out of the marketing pages of other successful social media campaigns.

  • Aftab Khurhsid
    Reply

    Nice to see you in LinkedIN,we met in last World Brand Congress.appriciate if you can mail me the airline footage and slumdog song footage.rgds,
    aftab

  • Ravindra Neriyanuri
    Reply

    They can start with creating awareness, space in social media sites. Sponsor some events and highlight trends, and show why their airline/hotel/airport meets the expectations of various travellers (business, tourists). Ex: what are the best offers they have on tickets, meals and seating etc,. even new movies they are going to play in the inflight entertainment. Facilities they have for mothers traveling alone with small children/babies etc., Destination details, events, and discounts etc.,

    It's very important to know that the user in the social media “connects” instantly on seeing the brand.

    hope it helps.

    -Ravi

  • Kaushik Mhadeshwar
    Reply

    Some thoughts

    (1) The legacy airline brands and hotel brands that I can think of are not particularly favored by the youth so its going to be quite challenging to reach out to them on social media – social media is dominated by the youth.

    (2) Deals never go out of style in this category. If special offers can be given to the brand loyalists on social media, the channel could be popular.It can be a good way to give last-minute kind of deals.It is otherwise difficult to spread the word on last-minute deals.

    (3) It is always a good idea to have an official 'club' on various social networks to counter those which are set up by 'biased' parties.

  • Hirochisung
    Reply

    Oh.. Cool, thank for good idea.

  • Hotel en Punta Umbria
    Reply

    Very interesting

  • Discount hotels
    Reply

    Social media is one of the new ways to make a good progress in terms of marketing a business and no wonder every establishment like those hotels enter the world of social media. If I will see those ads or services about different hotels in the internet, I will surely go for those discounted prices but still I ask what are the amenities available because for me its important to have a good amenities and the facilities as well.

  • RSA Certificate
    Reply

    Nowadays, internet is booming at its peak especially those social media sites wherein you can post what you want and a lot of people will see it. The best social media so far is facebook and twitter because of the billion followers that use it everyday for their past time and even in doing their work. Airlines and hotels make use of it because social media sites is a great tool for marketing their business because when you have thousand and thousand of followers, I can say that there is a possibility that one or two person will avail the services that is being produce by those company airlines and hotels.

  • Reply

    i just want to say thanks for your information

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