An analysis of how KLM is winning the social media battle among European Airlines

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Peter Claridge of Unmetric, an exclusive aviation partner of SimpliFlying. Unmetric is a social media benchmarking company that helps brands analyse how well they’re doing on social media by including in-depth insights into numerous metrics as well as information on what kind of content “works” and how competitors are faring. Among its clients are Citibank, Nestle and AirTel. Look out for even more exciting stuff from our collaboration with Unmetric in the days to come.

With interesting posts, quirky social media campaigns, more fans, higher fan growth rates and a whole lot of social media love, KLM are the undisputed European kings of social media for airlines. Their latest campaign, encouraging people to ‘stewardess’ themselves (Ryan Air take note: you can use stewardesses, get huge publicity and not have to resort to innuendo) and in the process got well over 55,000 new fans in just 7 days, encouraged people to share their snaps and invite their friends to try it out for themselves.

The campaign itself is a lot like past social media campaigns like Yearbook Yourself where you take a photo and it digitally inserts it in to a scene and using a few basic brightness/contrast controls you can make it very nearly almost look like you as a stewardess or a pilot.

As an idea and in execution it’s not unique, but it seems to have caught the imagination of loads of people as the fan growth rate for KLM has shot up since the campaign was launched and people’s willingness to put their own face in to a KLM air stewardess uniform certainly means that there is positive engagement going on.

So does Facebook’s “Talking about This” really matter?

KLM are also leading the way when it comes to getting people really engaged. Now, if you were to look at the chart below you might disagree with this statement because clearly Lufthansa have far more people talking about them as a percentage of fans (and kudos to them!).


Further investigation reveals the limitations of the simplistic Talking About This metric because we don’t think we could find a social media expert that will claim that a like, comment and share have the same engagement value (although if you do disagree, tell us in the comments and we’ll give you a soapbox to explain your opinion). Using our Engagement Comparison chart we can see that KLM are clear winners when it comes to getting more valuable engagement from the fans.

This means that KLM are getting comments and shares on their posts than all the other airlines. We believe that a Share is super valuable because the person really wants to associate themselves with your brand and wants to let their friends know that they are positive about your brand.

It’s also apparent that Air France and Alitalia are struggling to engage people on the same level as the other three big airlines, whether this is because the local populations are not as Facebook obsessed as the other countries is unknown, but they could probably do with posting more often as the chart below indicates.

It’s interesting to note that only BA refuses to allow people to post on their wall and their engagement is quite low as a result, maybe they don’t know how to handle criticisms all that well.

Ultimately, KLM’s ability to get their fans to express themselves more wins them the crown of the undisputed champ of the social space among European airlines. Moreover, we’re pretty sure they’d give the best American and Asian airlines a run for their money too!

This article has been modified from the original that appeared here.

Find out more about how Unmetric can help your airline benchmark its social media prowess hereOr drop us a line directly at

Shubhodeep Pal

Shubhodeep Pal

Former VP, Products and Operations at SimpliFlying
Shubhodeep Pal was leading SimpliFlying's Research, Product Development, Marketing and Business Development from December 2010 to December 2017 from the headquarters in Singapore. He has spoken at airline conferences and delivered training workshops for senior aviation executives. He has also appeared on television interviews and been quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal. His writings have appeared extensively on SimpliFlying and respected industry outlets such as Airlinetrends, Tnooz, Airport World, Low Cost and Regional Airline Business Magazine and Loyalty360. In a previous role, he also conducted a workshop on social media at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore.
Shubhodeep Pal
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