Social media is one of the strongest ways for brands to convey their identity and maintain close communication with consumers. The advent of social allows companies in any industry to have a unified, direct line of contact with fans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As such, social provides a crucial opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves and show their fans why their story is valuable — one worth caring about.
There are few industries more competitive than the airline industry. Travel aggregator sites have grown immensely and allow you to quickly compare flights by airline, price, and a host of other factors. The result is that, increasingly, the actual brand behind each airline company fades out relative to other attributes contributing to a consumer’s selection of a particular flight. This means that now, more than ever, airline brands have to be focused on fostering a loyal fan base in order to keep competitive and retain customers.
Creating dedicated fans sounds great, but how exactly can brands do this? Let’s take a look at the consistency and performance of the social content that brands in the U.S. airline industry have been issuing recently. (We call brands that issue consistently well-performing social content with high engagement “Smart Storytellers.”)
We tracked Facebook Pages of airline brands from June through August 2014 and found that, while many airlines are on the path to smart storytelling, many still are struggling with a number of factors that prevent them from reaching their potential on social.
Among U.S. airlines with over 500,000 Facebook Fans, Delta’s social strategy is resonating among the best with their fan base. During the time period measured, posts by Delta received an average of 5044 interactions (sum of Likes, Comments, and Shares) each — the highest number of interactions per post of any U.S. airline tracked. Most of their post interactions during this period came from Likes (392,171), followed by Shares (16,212) and Comments (15,336).
At the same time, the amount of content Delta posted was quite low as compared to other U.S. airline Pages in the same fan bracket (500,000+). During the time period, Delta posted a total of 84 Page posts. Comparatively, Virgin posted 157 times, and United 140 — though Virgin and United both had lower interactions per post at 165 and 437, respectively. Delta can improve by increasing the amount of Facebook content they’re sharing with their fans. Virgin and United should take a look at their content and advertising strategies.
Paying close attention to the content you’re issuing is essential to making sure you’re not missing the mark with what your audience wants to see. After all, establishing a loyal fan base begins and ends with fan-centric marketing. Carefully monitor the type, frequency, and performance of content you’re posting — especially with regard to your competitors and the rest of the industry.
Your social channels provide you with a prime place to differentiate yourself, and competitive analysis is an excellent way to observe your place within your industry. From there, you can decide how to improve your communication with your audience. It’s all part of the path to smarter social marketing.