Archive for March, 2011

Two quick links to share.

The first is from Mashable, and it looks at clicks-per-share on Facebook vs. Twitter. In Mashable’s sampling, Facebook creamed Twitter. This counters a SocialTwist study done late last year that gave Twitter a big advantage.

Why the discrepancy? Could be the difference in the audiences (Mashable’s studied only Mashable readers, for example), or it could have to do with the myriad changes Facebook has been introducing.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that both networks have their advantages–and both can generate reach.

The other post, by Ragan Communications’ Priya Rames, is self-explanatory: 5 excruciatingly dumb things PR pros do with social media.

These might be worth tacking up in the ‘ol cubicle. At the very least, they’ll have me thinking as I ponder things to post on Facebook and Twitter.


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The AAAE annual conference agenda has been expanded to include a social media panel. I’m putting it together, and I’m shooting for a worthwhile hour that gets the audience involved beyond simply listening to a few PowerPoints. Here’s the official description I banged out for the conference program:

Airports are using social media to connect with customers and support their marketing and communications efforts. How are they doing it, and how could they do it better without breaking the bank? Whether you’ve already established a social media presence or just know you need to, come to this session and get some ideas–and bring lots of questions, because this will be interactive!

My goal is to assemble three or four folks with extensive social media experience, including at least one agency rep. Instead of prepping canned presentations, my thought is to show some examples of cool stuff that airports are already doing, like French Lick’s simple but effective Facebook intro page. Then, we’ll open it up to questions from the floor.

I expect the audience mix will be, um, mixed–we’ll surely have a few social media community managers, but they’ll probably be outnumbered by  senior airport executives who may or may not have well-established social media efforts. The panel will be prepared for the full range of questions, from curious beginner to Mashable-is-my-bible.

I’ve confirmed the first speaker: South Bend marketing and development director Elizabeth Cecconi (@ViewFromSBN and the engine powering @SBNAirport on channel Twitter). Elizabeth has experience bootstrapping an airport social media effort and integrating marketing into it. Can’t wait to hear her share some of her experiences.

The panel is Wednesday, May 18 at 2:15 p.m.

More updates here when I have ’em. Meantime, if you have any suggestions on what would make a good one-hour social media panel, leave them below.

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Southern Indiana’s French Lick Airport (FRH) is just one example of how little airports can do big things on social media platforms. Check out this top-notch welcome page, which is set as the default landing page for those that haven’t liked the site yet:

The page has just about everything, yet isn’t too busy: an intro on the airport, a newsletter sign-up page, some branding images and a website URL, and even a link to the privacy statement.

FRH also does a grand job extending its marketing to available offline platforms, including its snowplows and other operations vehicles.

More proof that smart marketing doesn’t have to mean expensive marketing….

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Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. One of your social media channels is going to carry a message that should not have gone out. It might be an ill-conceived attempt at humor or promotion (hello, Kenneth Cole), or just a simple mix-up between your social media captain’s private and public feed. (We’re looking in your general direction, rogue @ChryslerAutos f-bomber.)

The question is, how do you recover?

The Red Cross rebounded nicely from a goof-up last month, diffusing a potentially embarrassing situation with  a little bit of humor combined with a dash of perspective. (While we’re here, let’s recognize the nice work by Dogfish Head to leverage the opportunity to do a little good, for both the world and its brand.)

Chrysler’s response to its f-bomb situation was slightly less inspiring. Having your account “compromised” isn’t exactly the same as the having the person running it make a mistake and/or use poor judgment. (Not surprisingly, the good folks at Dogfish Head have five times as many Twitter followers as the official Chrysler Twitter feed. Being engaging and straightforward tends to breed fans and followers.) A follow-up post on the car company’s official blog made no bones about where blame should be placed, even naming the “agency of record” that employed the now-former social media account manager.

Some first-cut take-aways: in the social media scape, honesty is good, as is transparency and personality. The corporate, buttoned-up approach isn’t always effective. (Oh, and a social media manager who doesn’t drink, swear or post status updates on personal-life chicanery is probably worth six figures.)

Clearly, the response to a rouge message will be dictated at least in part by the message’s content. That said, a smart organization will at least ponder some scenarios to better prepare for the inevitable.



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Last week, I attended an airport finance conference in Jacksonville. I didn’t expect to hear much, if anything, about social media, and in that regard, I wasn’t disappointed. But one little nugget did pop up in the unlikeliest of presentations, and–in the “if you don’t think social media monitoring is important, then check this out” spirit, it’s worth sharing here.

One of the sessions was on airport credit ratings–a typical topic for a gathering of airport finance pros. Presenter Ken Cushine from Frasca & Associates gave a wide-ranging talk entitled, “Trends in Airport Credit & Overview of Best Practices for U.S. Airports.” Cushine offered lots of good detail on how airports can stay on the bright side of analysts who (among other things) rate the investment quality of the all-important bonds they issue to help fund things like new terminals.

On Slide 19, Cushine encouraged airports to “do a Google search” to ferret out any negative press, because “the analysts will.”

Cushine didn’t mention social media platforms, but really, did he have to? Search engines like Google catalog Twitter timelines, and of course searching Twitter itself is a breeze. In other words, it’s more than the media that can help shape your reputation these days.

So, senior-level exec–you don’t believe in social media because, from where you sit, “likes” don’t equate to revenue, you can’t control the message, there’s no demonstrable ROI, and blah, blah, blah? Well, here’s hoping that either, A) your organization is perfect, and therefore never generates any negative feedback from anyone, or at least anyone with Internet access, B) your customers just don’t use the Internet much, or C) those who you want (or need) to impress don’t know how to use this, this, or (heaven forbid!) this.

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Airport Manager Bob Nicholas, A.A.E., has been at New York’s Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport (ITH) for nearly two decades, but he’s innovating–and producing results–like a new hire trying to make his mark.

The airport set a new annual record for passengers in 2010 and is breaking ground in the green arena, too. It’s also making solid use of its social media space.

ITH is on Facebook and Twitter–okay, no new earth turning over there. But promoting and holding a scheduled chat session on the Facebook wall and inviting your fans (and everyone else) to join in? That’s good stuff.

Nicholas answered questions for about an hour this afternoon, and I participated (as one of my Facebook alter-egos; Amin privilege has its privileges). He talked about several topics, including  ITH’s sustainable master plan and even the airport’s art program. He even chimed in on the value of ITH’s social media efforts.

Nicholas, a self-described survivor of the rotary-phone era, is the first to admit that emerging media isn’t exactly in his wheelhouse. But here’s the thing: by both supporting his airport’s social media efforts and participating in them, he’s doing exactly what an organization’s leader should.

This guy never played a down of pro football, yet he’s gotten some pretty big awards (three, to be exact) for his head coaching efforts. Put another way, great leaders don’t have to be able to run the plays. They can do just fine by both knowing what needs to be done and trusting the people picked to do it.

Seems like ITH is in pretty sound hands.

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