How airlines use social media

Tue 4 October 2011 15:28, Blog Competition

How airlines use social media
The winner of this month is Luccie P. Abasa Bosire. She is an IBMS (International Business Management Studies) student at HAN University of Applied Science. In her article, she summed up how and why airlines use social media as a tool for their strategies. Let's take a look!

Over the years Social networks have proven to be gaining fame day by day. There is no doubt that they have become one of our favorite media vehicles to ensure that a large target group can be reached in a short time.

As the hype for social networks continues many companies are jumping on the bandwagon to ensure that they are not left behind. Airlines in that regard are no exception.

Brand awareness 

  • KLM

 In the Netherlands, KLM  is very active in the field of social media. Since it had to deal with ash clouds the airline used Twitter and Facebook with some regularity successfully. The KLM fan page on Facebook is very popular and it has been up for a challenge as depicted March 21st

KLM uses Twitter, facebook, Flickr, Youtube and Foursquare (a location-based social networking website based on hardware for mobile devices). The service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices such as smart phones. Users "check-in" at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes "badges". 

  • British Airways  

British Airways has also given itself a more fashionable brand image by launching two web sites as part of a new social media marketing strategy. Its former digital marketing manager Chris Davies said at the Social Networking World Forum in London in 2009 that the sites had "challenged the perception of the brand" and made the airline seem more "up to date and exciting”.

  • Malaysia Airlines 

Malaysia Airlines has a Social media philosophy as well. Since its initial steps into the digital sphere early 2008, its online presence and following have grown enormously. Facebook and Twitter accounts are backed up by an employee blog and an active blogger engagement program.

Senior General Manager of Communications Indira Nair says the aim is primarily to reach out to audiences aged between 25 and 35, who are digitally savvy. “We use social media as a platform for communicating and interacting, and integrate these with a relevant mix of offline activities and events,” she says. “This encourages consumers to consider the ‘value’ proposition, rather than impulse purchasing based solely on price.”

For the 2009 IATA AGM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines was asked to recommend some worthwhile restaurants. It put a request out through its MAStravel Twitter account and received a number of suggestions, including one from a local celebrity.



Study the competition closely

As most companies have jumped on the bandwagon of social networking its easy to follow competitors to see what they have up their sleeves thus ensuring that they themselves provide a better deal. This will keep everyone on their toes and therefore encourage innovation and product development just to remain on top. Feedback from loyal social media followers will become increasingly more important to R&D departments. 


Apart from reaching a large number of online users with the demolition of boarders, the greatest benefit of social media marketing is that it allows for an immediate response from real people who are already interested in your products, name or brand. As such, these people are instant potential customers and “leads” for sales. The most difficult thing to do when you are trying to sell something is to locate people who have a predisposition to what you are selling; and, the benefit of social media marketing solves that problem instantly. 


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