Monday, 15 October 2012

The Value of Knowing Your Audience: Kicking Social Network Goals

Over the last few weeks my posts have been specifically geared towards possible E2 strategies for Brisbane Airport as part of a larger group assignment on this case study. Today I'll cover the final topic of social networking sites (SNS), providing you with my last engagement strategy, and neatly tying off the overall goals and benefits of utilising a versatile enterprise 2.0 blueprint.

A quick recap for those of you who may have missed the earlier posts. My analysis began by addressing ways in which BAC could take advantage of the time suck, also known as airport downtime; through a unique and engaging blogging strategy.

Following on from this, I looked at the possible uses for collaborative tools such as wikis. I discovered a variety of areas back of house such as the streamlining of internal procedures, staff training, HR, and B2B customer service that could all benefit, reducing turnarounds, email overload and fostering faster innovation.

Now its time to investigate where SNS fit into our plan to make our case study a successful enterprise 2.0.

Why do we need it? 

Utilising social networks is key to the success of corporations in today's society. SNS are a significant part of internet users digital lifestyles, providing them with an outlet to voice opinions, values and establish a digital identity. Having a social ground for consumers to interact with your brand; positively or negatively, creates a polylogical channel of communication(Harrington, S. 2011) that builds trust and creates stronger, more valuable relationships, while harnessing the collective intelligence of the network.

Mapping the social network structure:

Gladwell (2000), Outlines the key influencers, or 'agents of change' in social networks:

  • Connecters 
  • Mavens 
  • Salesman

 In the context of the travel industry, airlines have started to break down their audiences into these categories in order to better target the key players within their audience. Simpliflying has found that although the largest percentage of users are purely spectators, there is a healthy group of connecters and mavens producing content, commenting and sharing on airline social media outlets. It is also interesting to note that those associated with a specific airline through some sort of membership (frequent flyers for example) were doubly as active than unassociated users.  This insight brings me to my suggestion for SNS strategy for BAC:

"Create a group/club/community that provides exclusive deals, content or promotions only to its' members."

This could be achieved through something as simple as a Fan Page on Facebook, a follow on Twitter, or as involved as a VIP membership to the airport itself, similar to that of a frequent flyer rewards program where users are awarded points based on their interactions with the airport both physically and online. 

Simpliflying went on to say that consumers are interacting largely pre and during travel, with the majority of airlines receiving the highest levels of traffic through Facebook. This is also the same platform that the travel companies believed they were monitoring successfully, with higher levels of analytics provided than other platforms.  The three key areas these platforms are being used for are as follows: 

  • Customer service
  • Marketing 
  • Corporate Communication

With this in mind, i believe a similar strategy for BAC would be successful. Targeting consumers pre arrival and while in the airport; on a platform that they are already familiar with, that allows open API data monitoring, and is free to use, are all valuable points to increase and measure engagement with the company. 

Socially influenced viral distribution

Sounds fancy, pretty much means 'how are we going to get people to share this?" From a creative perspective, KLM does a good job of utilising Facebook and LinkedIn with their "Meet and Seat" feature that allows people to tee up with likeminded people pre flight. 

By using these platforms' open API, they have created an app that facilitates connections and build real relationships, making for a more enjoyable flying experience. 

Melbourne Airport is another example that has used SNS to increase the referral levels of their business.  Through the use of their Twitter account, they provide followers with deal exclusive to their followers. This works to increase sales and viewership as followers share these exclusive deals with friends.  

Essentially, the goal of using these platforms is to gain the greatest level of exposure for the cheapest possible outlay. By offering consumers some special deals, access to unique content, or providing an interesting and new way to interact with your brand, you are helping to create a positive experience for your consumers which they are more likely to pass on. Word of mouth marketing at its' best!

To my classmates, Thanks for reading this semester, it has been great working with you!




  1. Hi Justin,
    I agree that social networking sites have massive potential for communication with customers for minimal price.

    You can also use social media to engage customers and gather feedback regarding the airport and its services. Being able to gather this kind of information from customers for such a cheap price is a significant asset on its own for a large organization!

    1. Hey Mate,

      Thanks for reading. A perfect example of gathering feedback through SNS would be like your Facebook survey that you posted the other day about tagging people in ads ;-) something simple like that, that only takes a few seconds to contribute to can give great insight into pertinent issues for any company.

  2. I agree with CassaraQUT, feedback is so invaluable in any process that uses social networking! But I do like the idea of your suggested strategy for BAC. It's a well-known fact that people love to feel involved and yet exclusive. If you can raise their ranks to higher than that of a normal customer, just that natural ego that you then give to them is enough to make them feel better about themselves in regards to that company. It's free and proven to be effective, so why not, hey?

    Demi Spehar

    P.S. I have a good idea as to why you don't have more comments--it took me seven goes at the stupid CAPTCHA to try and leave a comment here and 3 goes in, I was pretty ready to give up.

  3. Thanks for reading Demi!

    the airlines are probably the best at making certain people feel class anyone? the trick is not to make it too difficult to obtain as you may risk alienating some of your consumers. This is where like with frequent flyers, the levels come in (platinum, gold, silver, bronze) each group feels more special than the next but the airlines get the desired result from everyone that, they are loyal customers.

    Thanks for the heads up on the captcha, it never shows up for me so i have never noticed :-(

  4. Hi Justin,

    Great post! I really like your idea about having the VIP membership to the airport, I could see it as giving great incentive to passengers to want to shop more while they are waiting their flights, etc.

    Please check out my blog when you get a chance!

    George Odagi