Lufthansa’s MySkyStatus Combines Social Media, Flight Tracking

Flight trackers have been around for a long time, but they haven’t worked very well with social media. Dopplr and TripIt have the ability to connect with your social profiles, but not in real time.

Enter Lufthansa:

myskystatus

The branded MySkyStatus application automatically posts periodic departure, arrival, and en route flight info as status updates to users’ Facebook and Twitter streams. An accompanying link enables users to continue tracking the flight’s progress. And it doesn’t just work for Lufthansa flights — the list of participating carriers is exhaustive. The service mimics what people are doing already — tweeting when they arrive — but has the added advantages of being more accurate and working while you’re in the air with no Internet connectivity.

myskystatusupdates

MySkyStatus is similar to the German site FlightMemory, which launched earlier this year and also updates Twitter when your flight departs or arrives.

The days of proprietary brand experiences are over. Brands today need to contribute to people’s lives in a useful way and not limit their outreach to brand-only engagement. In offering this service, Lufthansa has demonstrated a good execution of social media strategy:

  • MySkyStatus is easy to use
  • Customers receive something of value with minimal effort
  • Because it’s valuable, users naturally want to share it with others
  • It works just as well with Lufthansa’s competitors’ services as with its own
  • It gives users choices about what/how much information they want to share
  • It communicates up front what customers will gain even before they engage with the application

Way to go! It will be interesting to see the next moves from Dopplr and TripIt.

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NHL: Great Use of Twitter Lists for Branding, Outreach

Wondering how to use Twitter Lists to support your marketing strategy? Let’s take a look at the National Hockey League’s use of this new feature to engage its fans.

National Hockey League
Image via Wikipedia

As I described recently, Twitter Lists enable you to easily follow a group of users who have been grouped together by other Twitter users. Selecting people to include on a list is an endorsement of the value of their contributions.

The NHL has taken this concept one step further by leveraging lists as a crowdsourcing tool. Here’s what they did:

Yesterday morning, they tweeted

nhl-twitter-lists

Tweets flooded in from their 115,000+ followers. There are now 20 lists for users to check out, which is unfortunately the upper limit. (Twitter may want to rethink this in general, but especially for brands trying to reach out to their customers.) While the NHL waits for approval from Twitter to add more lists, some can be found here at the account of Michael DiLorenzo, Director of Social Media Marketing and Strategy for the NHL. In addition, the NHL’s Twitter account is now part of more than 800 user-created lists.

Quite a success story. The NHL’s effort has enabled it to collect customer data and helped its fans to connect with each other. The response from fans definitely shows how Twitter Lists can be a major resource for companies and organizations seeking to reach out to their constituents.

Related articles:

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Twitter Lists: A New Way to Organize Your Timeline and Your Time

Are you like me? Do you follow a lot of people on Twitter?

Good news: Help has arrived. The new Twitter Lists feature has now been rolled out to all users. Billed as an easy way to manage what can be a fire hose of updates from all the people you follow, lists help you break down the flow into manageable portions. They help you by organizing tweets from a single person or a group of people in one place for easy access and segmentation.

Twitter bird logo icon illustration
Image by Matt Hamm via Flickr

You can make your lists either public or private. Public lists enable others to look at your lists and subscribe to them without having to follow each of the individual users. You can group the people you follow into different categories and read only the updates that interest you. At this point, creating lists is time-consuming. You need to look through your followers, search for users, or add people from their Twitter pages.

For professionals, the most valuable aspect of lists is in the subscription feature. If you’re choosy about subscribing only to the lists of Twitter users in your industry who you respect, you can gain insights from what they are discussing. List descriptions are coming soon — these will tell others what the list is all about vs. having to rely on the list name alone.

Here are some ways Twitter Lists can provide value:

  • It’s easy to follow a trusted group of tweeters
    Before, it was difficult to follow a group of people all at once. Now you can easily create a list of your co-workers, for example, or thought leaders in your field, and follow them with one click.
  • You can separate the people you actually read from the crowd and let them know they’re valuable
    In addition to helping you by improving your Twitter experience, adding someone to a list tells them that you appreciate their content and that they are head and shoulders above the Twitter fray. Although everyone appreciates being retweeted, lists are another way to show people your gratitude for their contributions.
  • You can brand your Twitter presence
    The people you follow and the content of your tweets are part of your personal brand. Lists are another way to communicate this and to differentiate yourself. If you create lists that are specific to your field and include people you consider leaders, you can demonstrate that you are a subject matter expert and are fully engaged.
  • You can find great people to follow
    The lists of people you respect can offer insights about them and also some ideas about who you should start following. Before, you needed to look at individual timelines to accomplish this. For example, you could go to Pete Cashmore’s profile and see who he follows and communicates with. Very time-consuming. Now I see that Pete has created a list of fellow contributors at Mashable, making it easy to follow them all with one click. As more people create lists, it will be interesting to see who they value and recommend. Lists should be an improvement over the Twitter Suggested Users list and other directories.
  • It’s another way to measure influence
    Now, on everyone’s Twitter page, there’s another number included in addition to the number of people you’re following and how many people are following you. It shows how many times other people have included you in their lists. Coupled with retweet metrics, it shows how valuable your stream is to others.

Previously only available via Twitter’s Web interface, the Lists feature is now enabled in the Seesmic desktop client. It displays your lists in the left sidebar from any of your Twitter accounts. It also enables you add any Twitter user to any user list from any of your accounts. Right now, list functionality in Seesmic is incomplete. You can only see lists that you follow, not any lists that include you. And lists have to be created via Twitter’s site; you can’t create lists in the client itself. Functionality for both is coming soon. TweetDeck will also be adding list features in coming weeks, and other clients are sure to follow suit.

Twitter lists have a lot to offer. What do you think? Have you created any lists? What uses have you found for them?

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Saturday Social Marketing Round-Up

Here are some must-see posts about social marketing for your weekend reading pleasure:

234 social media marketing examples
Image by Pete Kim via Flickr

Do you make these Top 11 mistakes with your social media?
Social media can be seriously profitable for your business. “It’s the secret low cost marketing weapon used by the leading entrepreneurs. But, it can go horribly wrong if you make these mistakes…” explains today’s 30 Days of Social Media contributor, Meredith Collins. She identifies 11 mistakes that you don’t want to make.

Social media marketing: In search of an opt-out
Lines are being drawn between email and social media marketing, but not all elements have obvious correlations. Here’s why the unsubscribe doesn’t directly translate to social media.

Social Marketing Is Rooted In The Brand
Your brand is something that lives in the hearts and minds of people out there, and in that sense social marketing is the purest expression of branding.

Utilizing Social Media for Exposing Your Business Website
Social media is a wonderful way for business owners who already have great content on their websites to expand their reach further with marketing their products.

A quick check-up for your social media marketing plan
This little quiz (which you technically can’t fail as we have not devised a scoring system for it—yet) should help you identify the areas where your organization/team is strongest and weakest with respect to social marketing.

Introducing Google Social Search
Google Social Search plugs into your Twitter and FriendFeed accounts and sifts through content based on what people have been talking about. This seems like another function that’s moving you closer to Google Wave, with everything happening seamlessly in one window of information.

Google Social Search Introduces New Opportunities Within SEO
Google has launched a new experimental feature in Google Labs that searches your social circle in addition to your regular Google search results.

Is Social Media Marketing a New Requirement of SEO?
Here’s an interesting question worth a minute of pondering for any SEO practitioner: “[I]s it now a necessity for an SEO to have practical social media skills?”

Strategies: Which social networking site is best for your small business?
In the olden days – say five years ago – it was enough for a small business to market its services with advertising and public relations. But in the last few years, an avalanche of new opportunities has cascaded on the Internet in the form of social networking sites. These sites give entrepreneurs more opportunities to get the word out about their companies, but they’ve also made many of us feel overwhelmed, trying to keep up.

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5 Steps to Developing a Meaningful Social Media Strategy

Many businesses have yet to embrace social media. Why? For all its benefits — an inexpensive way to get the message out (and to more people),  improved branding and customer engagement, speed of feedback/results, etc. — it is very time-consuming. Unless you have a lot of hours to devote to it, or a designated employee, it can swallow you up without achieving any results.

Social Media Brand Engagement Curve
Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

Here are five steps to help you get going with a social media strategy:

1. Set Goals and Define Your Target Audience
You need a real understanding of what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach. The best strategy will come from clearly setting your goals. These might include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Managing your reputation
  • Improving your search rankings
  • Getting more relevant site visitors
  • Increasing sales

2. Listen to What People are Talking About
Find out who is saying what about your brand and where they are saying it. Here are some free tools that give visibility to conversations about your company or brand:

  • Google Alerts monitors millions of news sites and blogs. It’s easy to set up alerts for keywords that are important to your brand. You can choose to receive batched or streaming reports.
  • Alltop is an online news aggregator. It scans blogs, forums, and news sites  to  collect the headlines of the latest stories on a topic.
  • TweetDeck and Seesmic are desktop applications  that combine search with Facebook and Twitter monitoring. They are highly configurable, making it easy to track conversations and brand mentions.
  • BackType is a real-time, conversational search engine. It scans the Web to find out what  people are saying about topics and Web sites that interest you.
  • Monitter enables marketers to listen to the Twitter conversations taking place about their brand in real time. Enter the keywords you want to search, and all tweets with those keywords are at your fingertips.

3. Make Contact and Engage
You need to demonstrate your company’s commitment to developing online relationships. Go where your customers are — build a community on Twitter, create a Facebook page, comment on blogs, upload images to Flickr, create videos for YouTube — all to further the discussion and create positive WOM.

4. Use Offline Events to Support Your Online Community
Nothing beats face-to-face communication. You can build stronger relationships with your online community via trade shows and other offline events. Organize a Tweetup, offer a special session with your CEO, give exclusive access to new product launches, all to cement the bonds you’ve built with social media.

5. Measure Your Success
To begin measuring social media success, you need to answer some more questions:

  • Did we learn anything new about our customers?
  • Did our customers learn anything about us?
  • Were we able to engage our customers in new conversations?
  • Do our employees now have an effective way to monitor external feedback and reputation management?

Trendpedia is a blog search engine that enables tracking and graphing of topics and term comparison. It can help benchmark your company vs. your competitors by running the same search and parameters before and after the beginning of your engagement campaign.

Companies that embrace social media are reaping its rewards. By creating a dialogue with key stakeholders, they are able to get a better sense of how they are perceived by their target audiences, and their customers are empowered to talk with them, not at them. If implemented thoughtfully and correctly, this engagement can be instrumental in achieving your goals.

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9 Must-Read Posts About Social Media

Here are some great recent blog posts on navigating the world of social media:

The 4Cs Social Media Framework
Image by Gauravonomics via Flickr

Mapping Your Way Through Social Media
To enable any kind of social media strategy, you need a door opener. An entry point to help you reach the people and places you need to be. A social map can help you with this.

Tips from the Trenches: Using Social Media in Business
Although many businesses know how to use social media to connect with others and build relationships, plenty still struggle to see how social media will benefit them, especially business-to-business companies.

Use Social Media to spot issues before they hit the Contact Center
Firey laptop batteries, defective chips, tainted foods, toothpaste that stains teeth – these are just some real examples of issues that struck companies recently that might have been headed off at the pass by social media.

Is Social Media Marketing a New Requirement of SEO?
The goal of social media marketing is to communicate with a community of humans. Indirectly, the goal of SEO is the same. But with SEO the attention is focused at the search engines with the assumption that humans will be reached through the engines. So while the eventual goal is the same, the initial one is not and, as marketers know, that makes a difference when it comes to strategy and tactics.

Social Media Time Management: Resource Allocation
Organizations that are embarking on social media are going to be at different levels of maturity. That’s okay. What’s most important is that you recognize where on the spectrum you sit, so you can plan your efforts accordingly, and focus on how to get to the next level.

Integrating Social Media- A Middle Up Down Approach
In talking with Jess Krywosa yesterday, I realized that I hadn’t explained much about my take on how I get traction on social media projects in companies. The way we do it at New Marketing Labs more often than not is with what I call the middle-down, middle-up approach. Okay, that might take a few sentences to explain for some of you.

Leveraging SEO and Social Media for Maximum Results
Broadly approached as a great standalone marketing strategy, social media marketing is integrated more and more with search engine optimization (SEO).

Redefining social media
I sat on a panel at SUPERCOMM’s Digital Media Forum in Chicago on Friday called, “Redefining Social Media.” (Eric Forst of Visible Technologies and Edward Moran of Deloitte & Touche spoke with me, ably moderated by Patty Brown of The Content Strategy Group.) The name of the panel initially threw me, because it feels like anything old enough to be redefined seems a bit passé, which social media most decidedly is not. But I think there is a point to be made about social media and how it is maturing.

Is Your Office Youngster the Social-Media Whiz?
Business owners are trying to figure out what difference a tweet or Facebook post can make to their bottom lines. Younger employees frequently lead the way.

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Got a Tweet to Spare? It Could Help Your Favorite Charity

Social media is all about engaging people and facilitating conversation.

The global nature of that communication is a very powerful platform for generating awareness and spreading the word about causes and issues.

Charities can really benefit from an active social media presence. Social networks are a boon for fundraising, as evidenced by several recent campaigns:

  • Using the #BeatCancer meme, a combined Twitter/Facebook effort helped raise $70,000 for cancer organizations.
  • FarmVille, the popular Facebook game (over 56 million members play each month), sold a virtual crop of sweet potato seeds and raised almost $500k for feeding poor children in Haiti.
  • TwitCause, service built on top of Twitter, used tweets to promote a diabetes research walk and to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And Haagen-Dazs has pledged a $1 donation for each #HelpHoneyBees tweet from November 5-11 to raise awareness about the worldwide collapse of honeybee colonies.
  • SocialVibe, which develops charity-focused sites and social media applications, has launched a Halloween trick-or-treat program called Click 4 Good geared toward Twitter, Facebook,  and MySpace users.
  • Room to Read partnered with Twitter to raise money for African and Asian schools and libraries by selling custom wines from Crushpad.
  • Facebook has enabled its members to buy virtual gifts to benefit various nonprofit groups.
Money Back Guarantee
Image by Roby© via Flickr

Even during this recession, when overall donations to charitable groups are down, social networking campaigns have helped replenish nonprofit coffers.

Methods for leveraging social media are still evolving — nonprofits need to tread lightly in order not to “over message”. But its advantages for getting the word out about good causes means that more charities should, and undoubtedly will, jump in and embrace the medium for doing good works.

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