This was noted via Twitter back when the article came out, but I wanted to note it here on the blog as well. I was humbled to be among the contributing writers featured in the inaugural issue of Airport Focus International. I was even more pleased to write about social media.
I learned quite a bit while researching the piece, and was able to relay a few cool stories about how social media gained a foothold at a couple of airports. I also was handed a stellar checklist that airports should have handy when planning or evaluating their social media strategy. The list, courtesy of Aviation Week online community manager Rupa Haria, is reprinted here:
Observe. Spend a few weeks looking at how other businesses do it. Look at your competitors, other airports and airlines (she touts British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand on Twitter specifically). Then step away from aviation and see how other service industries do it. It’s worth observing service-orientated businesses such as restaurant groups.
Experiment. Each airport has a different type of audience. If yours focuses on business travelers, remember that they’re time-pressed and probably want factual information, and fast. If your focus is on low-cost carriers, you’ll be attracting passengers looking for bargains. Work with your airline customers to better promote any last-minute offers or fares.
Collaborate. Most airports don’t have enough news to feed social media platforms on an hourly basis. By collaborating with airline and concession partners, you can keep your passengers informed of offers and updates while simultaneously keeping your social media feeds fresh.
Engage. Social media is a two-way communication tool, not an opportunity for an organization to just post hyperlinks to press releases. Discuss and converse with your community, but most importantly, keep it relevant.
Be human. “I personally don’t agree with too much informality when a person is representing her brand, but at the same time, responses shouldn’t look like they’ve been red-penned by the legal department,” says Haria.
Be careful. Always remember that whatever you write is being broadcast to potentially millions of people. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. If you’re empowering a team to handle social media, draft some basic guidelines outlining the do’s and don’ts. That way, there’s little room for interpretation.
Prepare for crisis. When you encounter a crisis, the first place people will likely be talking about you is on Twitter. If your crisis communications plan involves lengthy approval processes for media statements, revise them to empower your “online voice” to make that decision and responsibly Tweet about what’s going on.
Remember your manners. – Silence is deafening. In an online environment, it’s important to make sure you’re ahead of the game and talking about yourself when others are, 24 hours a day. Social media cannot be seen as a 9 – 5 job. Make sure someone is at least monitoring the online world whilst your customers are still awake.
Check out the entire article by clicking here (or on the cover image above) and flipping to page 29.