Good, Bad, Ugly #2: Who's cutting it in social media in the run up to Christmas?

by Dean Harvey
by Dean Harvey
December 12, 2012 01:31 PM GMT

By Dean Harvey, digital development director of Designate.

Incredibly Ryanair still have no discernable or visible social media presence linked from their website, this of course may be their strategy.

However there are many unofficial attempts to mimic the brand - just search for Ryanair on Facebook or Twitter and you’ll find them.

One such Facebook page describes themselves as “Ryanair: an airline with a great sense of humour! If you have none it is your own problem, not ours ;)” furthermore, this unofficial looking page has over 190,000 likes.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Virgin Atlantic. At last month’s Travolution Summit, Stickyeyes' Chief Commercial Officer Glen Conybeare presented its intelligence report. In it Virgin Atlantic scored highest in the Social Media section.

It’s easy to see why; announcing on their Facebook page in early December that Passbook is here. When checking in for your flight leaving the UK you can now choose to receive your boarding pass to your iPhone via Passbook. Great stuff.

Generating lots of engagement and activity is their instagram strategy, encouraging Instagram users to hashtag their flying photos with #VirginAtlantic with the best photos uploaded promised to be used within their website and on Facebook.

A great way of engaging users and harvesting interesting user-generated content, and we do like to fiddle with our phones when we’re flying, don’t we?

To further boost their social ego, they are using Google+ Hangouts too. Promoting an opportunity late last month to hear Richard Branson speak first hand - Social media users were invited to hang out with Richard at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa. Nice.

The holidays are coming and don’t we just know it; for those plugged into the social-grid have been treated to a glut of festive pictures of dogs and cats with tinsel and antlers as well as the usual win-an-ipad competitions.

Really – you lot - come on, you must try harder. You know who you are. Competitions are not the only fruit you know.

How are you going to cut through the online noise? Where is the differentiation?

I love an advent calendar, I really do, and I love that brands are trying to engage with their audiences but sometimes there’s not enough thought that goes into the execution.

Two culprits are British Airways and First Choice.

Both with lovely designs and intentions (win a prize, receive an offer) and in the case of BA some lovely content: a Nat King Cole video singing “The Christmas Song” featured on the December 11. Nice.

But not quite; after you’ve clicked on today’s date, the natural user action is then to click on the previous windows. A nasty collection of error messages “Sorry this offer has expired” or “Error, try today’s date” hurts my eyes. Merry Christmas to you too.

Just a simple picture or piece of content, music or a video - even a humorous “do you know what today’s date is?” would have been so much better. Nice try both, but no cigar.

Staying on the Christmas theme this month is a lovely video featuring the team at Southampton Airport.

Students made the video from Southampton Solent University through the University's creative agency, Solent Creatives.

No, it’s not perfect and probably about a minute too long but what it lacks in polish if oozes in personality and humour. It leaves you with a flavour for who the team are and their attitude at work, with one viewer commenting: “Great to see the staff all having fun.”

With over 2,600 views in its first 5 days, I’m inclined to agree.

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