How Important do Industry Leaders Think Social Media is for Their Company?

We’ve seen how airports are using social media in order to further convenience their customers, but do the industry leaders, the other CEO’s, and directors of these Airports think that social media is benefitting their business? With only 7.4% of airports contributing a considerable amount of man-hours per month for social media, one would think that it is not valued in today’s air industry. That is merely a statement coming from an outside observer.

David McMullen, writer for Simpliflying interviewed Paul O’Kane the Director of Public Affairs for Dublin Airport Authority about how he created  Dublin Airport’s online presence on social media. Starting with, their Official Twitter account, which took four months to get the handle, (username) @DublinAirport, because someone who was unaffiliated with the airport was using it. After setting up the account, Paul began to realize it’s true potential. One way that they are utilizing social media is with crisis management.

DublinAirportCrashMarch13_large

The blown tire of the small jet that forced a closure of the main runway in 2013

Go back to winter of 2010; Dublin Airport was hit with several feet of snow causing runway delays and closings. While other airports were having the closing listed on flight boards and being read over the speakers, making the fliers have to stand in front of them anxiously waiting to see the status of their flight, Dublin was tweeting about it. In July of 2013, a small jet landing at Dublin suffered a blown front tire upon landing in which the main runway had to be closed. Paul decided the best way to alert fliers and the media would be to tweet about it. Because of the immediate information output via twitter, they were able to say that the incident had happened and that the airport was still operational with no injuries. Because they got the information out so quickly, the press reported the story from the tweets. This cut down on exposure, and the media making this a bigger deal than it was. In the video below, the full interview with Paul O’Kane from Simpliflying, Paul tells the story of how they used twitter to get UEFA Euro 2012 Championship tickets back to a flier who left them at the airport.

Paul O’Kane and the rest of the Public Affairs Department at Dublin Airport are doing an excellent job at using social media in a smart, effective way. Twitter was only the beginning for Dublin; since then they have made an official Facebook page that has 43,000 likes, and a four star rating from the 840 people who have reviewed it. One of the reasons that Dublin has been met with such success is the way in which they are posting updates on different social media platforms. Paul believes that it is necessary to find the right tone in which to deliver the information. In the interview posted with Paul, he talks about how one of the tweets about the blown tire was revised from “a plane suffered a burst tire” to “there was a tire deflation on the runway.” Paul also says that it is necessary to understand what you are trying to accomplish through social media, and that support from someone higher up in the company. In terms of whether or not Paul thinks that social media is important in the aviation industry, Paul has this to say; “There are two types of aviation people in the world -those who’ve got social media, and those who are about to get it.” It will be interesting to see if the number of airports using social media to reach their customers will increase in the years to come.

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4 comments

  1. I think that every airline and airport should have social media, it keeps the customers involved and informed with what is going on. I totally agree that crisis management is one of the main reasons that they should have it as many things can go wrong at an airport, flights cancelled, delays and other big reasons for a connection between the two, they can use it for promotion but at the end of the day I think the main reason people would follow them is to check on the latest news and check everything is running smoothly. Dublin airport now realizes the importance of social media and is a great example, this shows by the way in which they have now turned to other social media sites such as Facebook to get messages out and find out how customers think they are performing.

  2. I didn’t really think about how quickly responding casually via Twitter before anyone else put a story out and the press got to it would be such a huge and positive impact, but it is. Especially with the airline industry because people are always looking for bad news and by approaching the issue and clearing things up before rumors start sprouting up was a smooth and practical move by Dublin Airlines.

  3. This blog post brings another dimension of what social media can do for companies. Just as customer service and the service quality itself are important so is the reputation. For a company to stay in good standing with its stakeholders it is necessary for their reputation to be top notch. Instead of just exposing and communication with customers social media, such as Twitter can help with image control. The example of the Dublin flight is a perfect example of how the media is just trying to inform the public. If the company informs the public and media of a situation the rumors that fly around when they are silent will not occur. This is crucial for CEO’s of company who need their company’s reputation to be solid.

  4. Social media is definitely an important part of any industry or company, and it’s good that Dublin airport finally realized that. People want to stay constantly updated, especially when it involves the lives of friends and family members. Twitter is a great way to inform followers in real-time and diffuse the situation before the story makes it to the press. Negative press isn’t always a bad thing if they know how to handle the situation, but by employing social media tactics, it’s a great way to get negative and positive information out to the public.

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