Social Media Management – Lesson from the Airlines: Don’t Leave Comments Up in the Air


Posted on October 22nd, by BallywhoSocial in Archives, Blog. No Comments

When it comes to engaging the consumer and handling customer service on social media, airlines seem to soar above the rest.

By Sarah Garcia

According to a recent study, only about 48 percent of comments on brands’ social pages are actually responded to.  In case you missed that – that is less than 50 percent. This means more than half of the queries, comments or messages on brand pages are left “up in the air.” The problem?  Social media is a two-way process.  Interaction is crucial to fostering an active following and community on social media. These guys call it “Social Devotion,” and they say that out of all industries, airlines do it best.  Let’s take a look and see what their formula is for staying above the rest.

Make it a Priority
Social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular for consumers to provide their feedback — positive or negative. According to this infographic from Liveops, a whopping 65 percent of consumers prefer contacting companies and brands on social media rather than by phone.

Some companies have even created their own teams to stay on top of these platforms and manage interactions. JetBlue created their “Real Time Recovery Team,” which is a group of crew members who work in their customer support department to monitor social media in real time, interacting and helping direct customers to the right resources. A small company won’t need an entire fleet of respondents, but someone should be in charge of interaction, and it should not just be done on the fly. You should make it a priority and have a plan in place.

Provide a Personalized Response
Consumers do not like automated phone systems, and they don’t want a canned response on social media, either. That is why they are seeking it out as an alternative. Keep your interaction fresh and real and consider personalizing it. Use the fan’s name when responding, like JetBlue did in this scenario below. If you want to take it one step further, sign off with a name to show that a real live human being is the one responding. Nicely done, JetBlue!

Using names (yours and theirs) will help personalize a response on social media.

Give it Some Personality
Personalization is one thing. Personality is another. Southwest Airlines is known for their distinct customer experience offline – a somewhat humorous and mildly laid-back approach – and they let that same personality shine through online as well. When appropriate, it is OK to jazz up your online interactions with a bit of personality. Let your brand’s social presence portray the same image it does offline.

Southwest Airlines portrays the same fun and friendly culture on social media as they do offline.

Speak Their Language
Airlines serve a wide range of consumers, both on and offline. It’s important to acknowledge all responses equally, and sometimes that may mean doing a bit of translation. For large companies who employ a social media team, they may have a bilingual member. For small businesses, an online translation tool can be helpful. Aside from literally speaking their language, you may also want to consider responding differently based on the tone of a particular comment.

Here, JetBlue responded to a comment in Spanish on their Facebook Page.

Social media continues to grow as an important communication tool for companies, and consumers are coming to expect timely interaction and response. When you ignore consumer feedback on social media, you aren’t just making your brand look bad, but are missing this invaluable opportunity to show that you care. Responding to both negative and positive feedback can help highlight your brand’s image, build relationships, improve consumer perception and ultimately drive ROI.

Sarah Garcia is a writer and community manager for BallywhoSocial. Find her on Twitter @SaTorrens or follow our BallywhoSocial account for social media tips, news and more @BallywhoSocial.





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