Aviation Marketing: Using social media to gain customer insight

Blog_81_Using social media to gain customer insight

Good social monitoring brings about actionable engagement strategies

Social media offers an unadulterated view of issues and opinions that shape brand preference

When developing strategic communication plans for companies in the aviation industry, I always want to know what’s going on in the customer’s mind. Customer insight can be attained via several channels using different tactics. For example, insights can be gained from:

  • Focus groups
  • Questionnaires
  • Surveys
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Social listening

Several of the above-mentioned tactics have been the staple for customer research for many years with documented pros and cons associated with each tactic.

Social listening is a relatively new tactic that relies on monitoring social media channels. Mining the channels brings forth an abundance of customers’ opinions and conversations about your brand and information about competitors.

Good social monitoring brings about actionable engagement strategies

Social monitoring goes beyond Facebook “likes” or Twitter “followers.”  It provides an interpretation of the online conversation and how it relates to the purchase intent of customers interested in your brand. Think of it as an early warning system about product functionality, advertising messaging, and emotional connection which provides the ability to course correct marketing strategies before experiencing a decline in sales.

Forrester Research estimates that $1.6 billion will be spent this year on social brand tracking. For that investment, savvy airlines and aviation manufacturers will have a front row seat for ascertaining the tone of the conversation, what the interest levels are for  their brand, and what brand perceptions are being formed in the customer’s mind.

What social monitoring brings to the table

Customer Insight – helps aviation companies ascertain purchasing intent, triggers for purchasing behavior, and specific communities in which to focus resources.

Brand Insight – aligns Key Performance Indexes (KPI) to understand how awareness, perception, and brand consideration are formed.

Category Insight – helps companies determine how to capitalize on opportunities in specific business segments.

Social listening platforms

It takes two to have a conversation.  Blogs, websites, Facebook pages, Pinterest boards, and tweets invite customers to express themselves to you and to each other. These are global conversations about brand loyalty, customer frustrations, and service shortcomings that can identify areas for improvement.

Making sense of the conversations

Depending on the size of the company and resources available, social monitoring can be very simple or highly structured.  There are several online providers that can supply you with platforms and dashboards incorporating a host of tools to acquire and categorize the conversations, bringing statistical significance to the information for actionable implementation.

Social media monitoring tools (paid):

A comparision of the above tools can be downloaded at pr2020.com

Additional articles that may be on interest on this topic:

Finding the sweet spot for social marketing

How to engineer a social marketing strategy

10 reasons why social marketing efforts fail

 3 ways social media can help build your brand

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Aviation Marketing: How to build a connected brand

Aviation Marketers should view their brand through their customer’s eyes to determine its social identity.

Facebook commissioned Forrester research to evaluate how marketers are building brands in the connected world. The research revealed that most marketers believed that social media was important to brand building, however their current strategies were out of sync with how customers prefer to interact with their offerings.

My interpretation of the study is that there are some aspects that hold particular interest for aviation marketing and should be investigated. 

Traditional marketing strategy is based on a “one-to-many” concept not taking into account the rise of social media and the influence it has on the purchasing cycle.

People-to-people marketing is based on connecting with your brand through powerful personal technology, inbound and outbound marketing. Through these channels the customer decides when, where, and how they want to interact with your brand.

Aviation marketers need to readjust their point-of-view in the connected world.

  • The brand story must be described from the customer’s point of view, not the marketer’s
  • Earning customer loyalty is not a linear journey; it is a continuous process of learning and exploration
  • The loyalty journey is not isolated to one person at a time – the connected world influences it

Here are 6 steps for building a connected world aviation brand:

  1. Articulate – Define the brand social identity. Why do people engage with your brand and talk about it with friends in the real world?
  2. Connect – What social media platforms and channels do your best and most likely customers frequent? Give them a reason to connect.
  3. Engage – Interact with people by making your content more relevant and participative. Do you respond to your community?
  4. Influence – Inspire people with your brand story. Do you encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand?
  5. Integrate – Integrate inbound with outbound marketing efforts. Make the brand experience social from the beginning.
  6. Rejuvenate – Social media is ripe with insight. Listen and learn to what is being said to innovate current product offering. Develop a process for sharing insights throughout the organization.

Connected aviation brands have the vision and expert hearing that lead to a competitive advantage.  Meaningful insight is gained by listening to the whispers of the digital community.

Click the link to download the “Building Brands For The Connected World” report

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