With social media’s surge in popularity, consumers have more opportunities than ever to quickly share their experiences about products, services, and brands with many other potential customers. Irritated customers often post on social networking sites about their travels not going according to plan, thus if social listening is used, airlines can reshape their image with the way they handle complaints and respond to crises. Airlines should also strive to build relationships with their customers, and post content that their audiences will enjoy.
After hearing about all the ways social media can help businesses, some companies may want to dive right in and create as many online profiles as possible. Organizations must keep in mind the critical factors that come before deciding which social technologies to use to connect with consumers, such as what strategies they will use to continually engage consumers.
One of the most important parts of that engagement comes with building relationships with consumers. Companies should research their customer base, and post content on social media accounts that those audiences will relate to and find interesting, as opposed to just marketing and promotional messages. Focus should not be on getting immediate sales, but instead on building long-term, trusting relationships that will lead to brand loyalty, and thus, future profits.
While building relationships with consumers is certainly a key objective, organizations cannot afford to forget about their employees. Finnair recently learned that employees who are proud of the company they work for are a fiercely powerful brand asset. In October of 2015, Finnair became the first European carrier to receive a new Airbus jetliner. They took the opportunity to get their employees excited about their brand all over again by taking some employees to the production location to see and learn about the jet. The employees who did not go on the trip were kept in the loop by corporate posts about it on social media and their intranet. In order to get their co-workers feeling comfortable with and enthusiastic about the new plane, they took 1000 employees on a flight in it, and then posted a story, complete with photos and videos from the trip, onto their corporate blog. Finnair displayed good practice in social media management that strengthened relationships with their employees by updating and reconnecting them with their corporate brand.
Proper social media use can turn consumers into loyal customers and employees to brand ambassadors. If organizations conduct research into their audiences, create strategies to engage with them appropriately and measure their outcomes on suitable social media platforms, they are sure to see long-term benefits to their brand.