I was recently asked about how travel providers, airlines in particular, interact online and how they should improve their social media strategies. And I shook my head a bit, because I think that was the exact wrong question.
Social media doesn’t matter. Or at least the way most companies and travel providers in particular ask the question it doesn’t matter.
Companies are too often obsessed with social media awards or metrics like how fast they answer tweets. In fact some tweets should go unanswered. If someone with 30 followers is trolling you don’t swing at a pitch in the dirt. You’re better off not responding, even though your average response time metric will fall.
Airlines in particular first need to ask themselves what business they are in. And they need to do their business well rather than managing their social media per se.
- Social media can matter. I actually remember United Breaks Guitars. But that wasn’t really a social media problem. It was a checked baggage problem.
- US Airways didn’t lose business because they tweeted out pornography with a model airplane.
- Spirit Airlines has an anemic twitter presence on purpose as part of their brand. They are signaling the one important thing about the airline. They are cheap.
What actually matters is:
- to find out where your customers are and interact with them in they way they find most convenient, and
- to do so authentically.
They key to good online presence is to say what you think honestly. You get killed by spin or what comes off as disingenuous. That’s when you become a meme. And you develop a negative association with your brand. Not because you didn’t have a social media strategy but because you BS’d your customers.
A devaluation is not an enhancement and you didn’t do it because your members asked for their points to be worth less. Say cash prices are going up and you had to increase points prices too (if that fits the facts).