AND HOW THEY CAN
BENEFIT YOUR AIRPORT
BY KRISTIE VANAUKEN AND RYAN HOLLINGSWORTH
Social media and airports — like peanut butter and jelly — just go together. Although not every airport has been quick to integrate online engagement
strategies into its marketing and communications
plans, most airports have been learning about and
experimenting with various social media tactics.
Most airports have Facebook pages and either
are monitoring, or better yet engaging, with customers on Twitter. What we know for sure is that
user-generated content, opinion-sharing and other
social media outcomes are growing in influence,
and any airport not using these tools is woefully
behind the power curve. There is still time to jump
in, though, if your airport hasn’t already.
Airports can experience significant benefits from
engaging with customers. We learn what they like
and what they don’t like. This information can
drive changes in facilities, amenities and service.
How great is that! Before the explosion of social
media, airports were cut out of the core relationship between the airline and the customer. Now,
we can engage with our customers, too. We can
gain authentic insights and empower, educate and
delight them, if we are smart and strategic about
how we engage.
So, what is social media going to look like in
2013 and beyond? Our opinion is that what was
once a revolution is now in a period of evolution.
Newer platforms like LifeJournal, CafeMoms, Path
and Tagged are out there, and they have millions of
users. Others like Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+
are even more popular. But with limited resourc-
es, how should airports approach social media
engagement in 2013? We have identified four areas
in which to focus your efforts — Facebook, mobile
engagement, building strong content with strik-
ing visuals and, finally, tying it all up in a smart,
1. FACEBOOK IS STILL KING. With 1 billion users
and growing, Facebook is the most widely used
social platform. Your customers are there in droves.
If you aren’t using Facebook already, go where your
customers are and talk with them. After five years,
Facebook is where we spend most of our time, and
that won’t change in 2013. Why? We’ve formed
meaningful relationships with our customers and
connected with many of them personally. We love
listening to what they have to say. We take this social
dialog very seriously. Customer input has driven
policy and amenity enhancements. Just like an old-fashioned email or telephone call, the interaction
can help identify specific areas of airport improvement — dining, parking, air service and others. The