How Airlines Use Social Media: Lessons for Everyone

In an effort to build customer engagement, an increasing number of airlines are creating an active social media presence — Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and check-in locations for location-based apps. SimpliFlying, “a unique blog offering insights, hindsights, and foresights into the world of airline and airport branding”, has created an infographic that shows how the airline industry has allocated resources to social media. We all know that it’s easy to set up social media profiles, but many brands fail to follow through and dedicate the huge amount of time and energy it takes to gain followers and create meaningful dialog. And who could forget the string of recent airline-industry PR debacles that had the companies scrambling to redeem themselves? These days, a social-media presence is vital for public relations, branding, marketing — everything, really.

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Crisis Management: Listen Up, Toyota and Tiger Woods!

The recent string of high-profile public relations disasters is impressive. Consider these, to name a few:

  • The Tiger Woods sex scandal
  • The Toyota safety debacle
  • Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines
  • NBC’s talk show wars

All of these situations have one thing in common: the brands — be they companies or, in the case of Tiger Woods, a hybrid (personal brand + corporate entity) — failed to get in front of their PR train wrecks and effectively manage the resulting fallout. A late response can get a brand back on track, but damage control becomes an uphill battle.

These entities and their advisers would do well to watch this video from Tom Peters. Peters, co-author of the classic In Search of Excellence and a string of other excellent books, argues that the reaction to the problem often becomes more of a problem than the foul up would have been if dealt with honestly.

Tom’s mantra: Come clean and come clean fast!

The problem is never the problem. The response to the problem invariably becomes the problem. Make those responses positive, quick, and overwhelming.

Toyota… Southwest… Tiger… NBC… Are you listening?

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