VC10er
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Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 6:29 am

I have recently been obsessed with Instagram, although not nearly as much as a.net!

I have been following a few airlines and 9 out of 10 comments are vile hate filled “I will never fly you again” messages. United is all about killing dogs and Dr Dao and somehow those things seem to be connected to someone’s lost baggage. So, I started following Delta (expecting to find more love) nope...it was all “you are the worst airline ever”, “never fly Delta, all the others are far better” after a story about a broken seat or 4 hour wait on a runway...even “Delta staff were put on this planet to ruin people’s lives and provide horrible customer service”- so I checked out some of the most well reputed international airlines and again just more trolling. Everyone spewing hate.

Even the beloved Southwest is now the airline who cannot stop their engines from exploding!

I posted a nice reply on a United post showing off the SFO Polaris Lounge, or perhaps it was a trip in GF recently (can’t recall) and then some young woman with a Pomeranian as her avatar comments on my post; claims I was paid by United to say this and then piles on more hate. I replied “you had a bad experience with UA, you have the right to complain, I have the right to say something positive”- she then accused me of trying to brainwash others into seeing things my way and that’s downright wrong. Anyway, she’s probably 12 years old.

But, my question is: is it worth it for an airline to post something new and great like a destination, a new plane a new Lounge or Award, celebrate and employee, etc- if they are just going to be hit with 100 vile responses about how the need to go out of business (another fav among the trolls). Clearly someone at the airline is there to respond to the more serious comments regarding serious issues with apologies and promises to attempt to resolve the situation. But Instagram is not the place to resolve an issue? The following is: “Yeah right you puppy killers!” Or “Delta enjoys trapping people on old crappy planes on runways and doesn’t do anything for people with missed connections. #Deltasucks”

I TOTALLY REALIZE that Social Media is the norm and necessary very often. Just truly how productive is it for any airline to spend the time to post flier photos or the award they were just given or the new 787 they just got? Does it ever work to enhance their image and engage with the public?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
Sula123
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 7:47 am

Very good post. While the phenomenon of vile posts is an issue for all airlines it appears to be of entirely different magnitude in the US. Check social media for European airlines and you’ll find that their posts draw responses from happy customers and airline fanboys. There are complaints but altogether more balanced.
 
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EA CO AS
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 8:04 am

I don't remember the source, but a study a few years ago - which may as well be a generation ago at this point - concluded that companies who have a large, active social media presence did not have a substantial brand relevance over similar companies who had no social media presence.

Having said that, about two years ago, AS decided to go full bore into social media and put together a SocialCare team that has an average response time of 10 minutes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While there are the usual "I'll never fly you again" posts, most are from guests who simply are using those channels to engage quickly with the company, and they do seem to appreciate having that option available to them.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
Virtual737
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 8:28 am

These lies the main problem with the interweb. Anonymity or perceived anonymity. Until people are prepared to act on the net the same as they do in "the real world" then things will only get worse. It is also far too easy to create multiple accounts on most social media and appear to be multiple voices. It is almost impossible to stop this without draconian measures that would also kill the good that is the interweb, so it is not going to change any time soon.

Personally I hardly ever use any of the FaceBook / Instgram / Twitter ilk as I have no need to see what my friends ate for dinner last night. I might follow a link to a "tweet" if its about something I find interesting (such as Elon Musk, for example), or use YouTube for training about new tech, but all it takes is a look at one comments section to realise they are a total waste of time.

Take a person of average intelligence on the internet. Then realise that about half the others are even dumber and that's about all you need to know.
 
joffie
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 8:56 am

Same could be said about most companies. Remember most passengers have no complaints, it is always the small minority who are vocal. No different to how one persons tweet about something is considered outrage, and how media use twitter as a news source. I remember reading that story that one person was outraged about a non chinese girl wearing a chinese dress and it blew up from there, really a non issue.
Companies will do anything to protect their brand, personally I have written to companies after my main point of contact failed and problems were resolved quickly. Companies now employ full time social media people who sit on FB/twitter all day to respond to questions.
 
DominoxX
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 9:06 am

Chilean firms are quite good with social media, Jetsmart & Sky are solid examples and the social media for SCL is very active among its mods and customers alike. near to zero complaints and full of commentators giving positive feedback.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 9:28 am

Wow. Interesting post. One that does actually make you think.

I have come to believe (personal opinion, so there you go) that social media and social platform somehow just manage to extract the very worst out of human nature for some reason. Anonymity and the likelihood of being able to spit out hate, rants and vent in all freedom might possibly be the root cause?
 
ELBOB
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 9:33 am

EA CO AS wrote:
Having said that, about two years ago, AS decided to go full bore into social media and put together a SocialCare team that has an average response time of 10 minutes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


But they could have put the same investment into their e-mail and telephone channels and improved the experience there. They don't need to be on social media, actually I have more respect for companies who aren't because in that case they're treating all their customers equally.

Why should someone get better service just because they have an account on Twitter than someone who calls by phone?

Why should I subject myself to Facebook's invasive tracking and advertising just to get decent support for a flight for which I've paid good money?
 
VC10er
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 10:39 am

Hi, I actually did go to a few international airlines, LH, SQ and LX. The nasty displaced hate was there too. Yes, there were some “wow” posts for them as you’d expect over United or Delta, but I’m still unsure how much this helps their brand.
The person I got into a discussion with (who was baiting me for a nasty fight, but I wouldn’t budge) along with so many others were there for ONE REASON ONLY: to trash talk and be vile. In fact she considered my positive note to actually go against the purpose of social media interactions, which to her was to spew hate at the airline. Saying something nice was unacceptable even under the banner of free speech! In fact went onto say that my through my positive comment there would be no incentive for United to change.
Naturally the vast majority who may walk off a United or Delta flight and feel like it was a great flight will not think to take the time and say so on Instagram.
The majority of people on there are there (IMHO) to vent displaced anger at a faceless company with full protection of their true identity- not even a picture of their face in most cases.
United posted a cute vintage picture of a mom with 2 kids standing by an engine of a DC-8 for mother’s day. I remember my mom taking me on a VC-10 and it was a meaningful moment of my childhood. But all it did was draw fire about dead dogs and lost luggage.
I posted another comment on there that basically said “common, there is so much hate in the world- stop making it worse” I went on to ask this young woman if she knew UA had more women pilots than any other airline...that seemed to quiet her.
Sure UA is an easy target, but if we all have something nice to say about our favorite airline- as enthusiasts we should all go on and thank the good folks at EVERY airline! Make a difference by example.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
wnflyguy
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 12:18 pm

WN has double down on social media! Anything including this post right here will pop up at WN in HDQ at the 24/7 365 social media room! They read EVERYTHING.
That being said WN is very proactive in this front. Good or Bad they are on top of situations.
I've heard amazing stories how customers have tweeted about situations and within seconds the have responded with positive results. Before it required a long line at a T/C or some time on a Phone call being on hold.

JetBlue has also embraced and taken social media next level with the same stories as WN.

Of the majors Delta is quick to respond also.

Spirit and Frontier no so much!

Allegiant requires a 3 night stay and a car rental for any kind of response.

Flyguy
my post are my opinion only and not those of southwest airlines and or airtran airlines.
 
VC10er
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 12:57 pm

wnflyguy wrote:
WN has double down on social media! Anything including this post right here will pop up at WN in HDQ at the 24/7 365 social media room! They read EVERYTHING.
That being said WN is very proactive in this front. Good or Bad they are on top of situations.
I've heard amazing stories how customers have tweeted about situations and within seconds the have responded with positive results. Before it required a long line at a T/C or some time on a Phone call being on hold.

JetBlue has also embraced and taken social media next level with the same stories as WN.

Of the majors Delta is quick to respond also.

Spirit and Frontier no so much!

Allegiant requires a 3 night stay and a car rental for any kind of response.

Flyguy


I don’t know enough to say where United is on this, but they seem to actively engage with people with issues and respond appropriately. They have thanked me for my posts right away.

They seem to ignore the truly mean spirited posts and follow the “don’t dignify with a response” rule.

What is highlighted here for me is that while it might be a very vocal, very small group- people don’t like airlines in general- or that they are simply easy targets because no matter the airline (unless you’re in F or carry some HUGE status) flying today is a hassle. Nerves are generally on edge after packing, traveling to the airport, long lines, security etc. We all know the glamour days are long gone.
Some of the people trolling are younger than the 767 they are about to board! And they don’t have access to fabulous lounges.

I just read on someone else’s Instagram “someone, somewhere is praying right now for what you take for granted” - I will get into the new EWR Polaris Lounge, many people won’t and I’m sure knowing some folks travel like that creates an “off with their heads” anger.

It’s easy to find on Social Media!
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
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jeffh747
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 4:18 pm

I think social media, specifically Instagram, is a necessity nowadays for brand recognition. Someone posts a photo of a Frontier sharklet, Frontier likes the post, making the poster feel “special” and reposts it on their own account, it’s free advertising and a great way to connect with their customers.
Spirit Airlines recently started using social media and on their posts ironically, I’ve seen nothing but love for them.
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stlgph
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Thu May 17, 2018 4:52 pm

The art of talking on the phone is pretty much a lost art.

What used to be done by an army 600 or more spread across numerous call centers can now be done by a smaller army of 5 to 10 people sitting in a room plugging away on social media platforms ... posting updates on weather, service changes, answering individual questions about travel interruptions, etc. The cost of 10 is far, far less than the cost of a few hundred and gets the job done. So yes, the cost is worth it for that alone.

Posting a bunch of other stuff is just busy work ... keeps the people occupied at their jobs and keeps the customers occupied while they are traveling and have nothing to do except stare at their phones.

As for the other concerns about the endless comments about "how bad you suck," "you're the worst airline ever," "i'm never flying you again," blah blah - you just let it go and move on. As a TV reporter I used to get "couple several" death threats a month. I never cared and never paid any attention to it.
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Fri May 18, 2018 12:59 am

VC10er wrote:
But, my question is: is it worth it for an airline to post something new and great like a destination, a new plane a new Lounge or Award, celebrate and employee, etc- if they are just going to be hit with 100 vile responses about how the need to go out of business (another fav among the trolls). Clearly someone at the airline is there to respond to the more serious comments regarding serious issues with apologies and promises to attempt to resolve the situation. But Instagram is not the place to resolve an issue? The following is: “Yeah right you puppy killers!” Or “Delta enjoys trapping people on old crappy planes on runways and doesn’t do anything for people with missed connections. #Deltasucks”


As a social media practitioner I always advise being active lest the brand be hijacked on social media. Yes, there will be trolls, but there are plenty of people who are smart enough to ignore those trolls, and if the brand plays their cards right they can easily kill those trolls without doing a thing - their legion of fans will do it for them.

So yes, it's absolutely worth it.
I FLY KLM+ALASKA+QATAR+MALAYSIA+AIRASIA+MALINDO
 
VC10er
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Fri May 18, 2018 5:46 am

TheFlyingDisk wrote:
VC10er wrote:
But, my question is: is it worth it for an airline to post something new and great like a destination, a new plane a new Lounge or Award, celebrate and employee, etc- if they are just going to be hit with 100 vile responses about how the need to go out of business (another fav among the trolls). Clearly someone at the airline is there to respond to the more serious comments regarding serious issues with apologies and promises to attempt to resolve the situation. But Instagram is not the place to resolve an issue? The following is: “Yeah right you puppy killers!” Or “Delta enjoys trapping people on old crappy planes on runways and doesn’t do anything for people with missed connections. #Deltasucks”


As a social media practitioner I always advise being active lest the brand be hijacked on social media. Yes, there will be trolls, but there are plenty of people who are smart enough to ignore those trolls, and if the brand plays their cards right they can easily kill those trolls without doing a thing - their legion of fans will do it for them.

So yes, it's absolutely worth it.


Very wise! I agree with that. It seems (from what I tracked) people who complained well got quick responses and resolutions. Those who’s issues were resolved plus some form of compensation (compensation such as miles added) were mentioned only by the passenger and not the airline. To transparently address and fix an issue for the world to see is great PR.

On a new post from UA (posted after I started this thread) was a great passenger pic of the “Friend Ship” 747-400. There must have been 2 dozen replys and all but one were glowing comments about the last UA 747. Many people begging for United to buy 747-8s! It was interesting to see the remarkable turn around in comments because the 747 brand entered the mix. No talk puppy murders - only folks waxing on about their wonderful memories aboard a United 747 and how sorely they shall be missed.

I understand the power of Social Media, heck I watched how it changed the fundamentals of my profession: branding and advertising. The world has a platform it never had before.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
txjim
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Fri May 18, 2018 3:37 pm

wnflyguy wrote:
WN has double down on social media! Anything including this post right here will pop up at WN in HDQ at the 24/7 365 social media room! They read EVERYTHING.

Flyguy

Did I mention that I LOVE Southwest??!!! Greatest airline ever!!

(Send free inaugural HNL tickets to txjim C/O Airliners.net)
 
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bgm
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Re: Airlines and Social Media- gosh is it worth it?

Sun May 20, 2018 1:41 am

Sula123 wrote:
Very good post. While the phenomenon of vile posts is an issue for all airlines it appears to be of entirely different magnitude in the US. Check social media for European airlines and you’ll find that their posts draw responses from happy customers and airline fanboys. There are complaints but altogether more balanced.


This.

Every time I go on any form of social media, look at anything US-related and it's just one crazy shitshow of vitriol and hate. It sadly just reaffirms my signature on a.net.

I think that it's necessary for airlines to use social media as this is what customers prefer. Which would your rather do: stay on hold for an hour, or shoot off a Twitter DM and get a response pretty quickly? Of course, if it's a complex issue, talking on the phone will be easier. I've found the US carriers are very responsive on Twitter, they seem to like using that channel (less cost/manpower?). KLM are also excellent as are some other European airlines, others not so much. I think in a few years it will be the default way to manage issues.
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