Social Media Travels Well:African Airlines on Social Media

Airlines and Social Media in 2008 and 2009

The big story of the last fifteen months has been the airline industry's vigorous embrace of the social media.In 2007,no one thought that Twitter would come to dominate the airline customer relations in such an intense manner.

The early birds SouthWest Airlines,JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have been abundantly rewarded,SWA and JetBlue now commanding over a million followers on Twitter.Airlines have been the most innovative and efficient users of social media.The aviation industry has always been known for great innovation;from reduction in noise to e-ticketing,e-freight and bar-coded boarding pass!Even IATA is now encouraging airlines to use social media as a customer service tool.

Social media tools have provided the airlines with a new platform to innovate and revolutionize customer interaction and engagement;from sleek corporate branded blogs to Twitter ,Facebook pages and Flickr.Some airlines like Emirates have been quite innovative in using social media in developing unique web applications for their fans.Whoever remembers Emirates Cloudmaker application or Nonstop Fernando!They were quite fun!

Fiesr,let me give credit where it's due to the finest social media evangelists in airline industry Shashank Nigam,Steven Fritschling,Addison Schonland and Paula Berg!

 Social Media in African Airlines

How have African Airlines fared on social media? It is not that good but Africa is still a continent of mobile web.There are about 350 million mobile phone users in Africa,anyone who wants to reach clients must exploit the opportunities offered by the mobile web.According to the Opera State of the Mobile Web Report,Africa saw triple-digit percentage growth in mobile Web usage in just one year,2009.

 You can follow the proceeding on Mobile Web East Africa Conference and know the the Mobile World of Africa.

Social media penetration in Africa is still low though it's rising at a super high rate.Facebook is the most visited site on mobile web in Africa.South Africa has some 2 million Facebook users and is the 10th largest Twitter user in the world according to Sysomos.With the exciting news about potential growth in social media and mobile web,some African Airlines have been reasonably quick and effective in deploying social media to great use.Have a look at our list of African Airlines top Social Media Performers:

Kenya Airways:The Pride of Africa is definitely the leader of the pack when it comes to the use of Social Media.Kenya Airways was the first African Airline to use Twitter and adopt an official social media stream.With about 2500 followers,KQ Twitter profile is now a one stop shop for information on new routes,special offers,flight delay information,On Time Performances and solving client problems in real time.Kenya Airways even has a 'voice',a staff member who monitors tweets and responds to clients with useful information.
You can also find Kenya Airways on other social media channels like YouTube,Facebook and Flickr.Their Flickr profile will give you a really great inside look into the airline,something you have never seen like staff events.
Kenya Airways has also integrated their social media channels with their Corporate website giving clients who visit the website  chance to interact and engage the airline. :South Africa's colorful low cost airline has always been known for taking this flight business with a light touch.With such humor as "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal",Kulula has always connected with its passengers even without social media but the airline has embraced the new media quite enthusiastically.Kulula's Twitter profile is quite interactive and offers really useful travel information to flyers.Kulula even offers Podcasts of South African humor and satire to travellers as IFE(the first IFE Podcasts) that they can easily download on the Kulula Website

OneJetOne :Kenya's International Low Cost Carrier is yet to take off but it has already scored a social media coup.OneJetOne has been having problems with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and Kenyan Airline bosses but on social media OneJetOne is winning the branding and opinion war,engaging Facebook users;promising fans a luxury heavenly flying experience and at a very low cost.OneJetOne CEO Arjun Ruzaik is on Facebook and so are other senior airline officials.This is an airline that truly understands the power of social media!It is therefore Third on Our list of African Airline Social Media Champions.

Rwandair:After its rebranding,Rwandair has embraced Facebook in one of the most exemplary uses of Facebook for an airline.The airline has also integrated Facebook into its Corporate website with a "My Rwandair" link that takes you  to the Rwandair Facebook Page .Now,on Facebook or onboard,you can Fly Your Dream to the heart of Africa with Rwandair!

Arik Air :With just over 600 followers,Nigeria's leading airline Arik Air has put Twitter into great use providing unique and valuable information to followers.You can pay Arik Air a visit on Twitter

Air Uganda:Although its website was launched quite recently,late last year,Air Uganda has been quick on exploring the opportunities offered by social media,specifically Twitter and Facebook.Given East Africa's embrace of social media,the airline seems to be on the path to success in customer interaction using social media.Its profiles are still tiny but the content is great and dedicated.
The airline has integrated its social media profiles into its corporate website thus enabling it to target the 'right' followers and fans on its Twitter and Facebook profiles.
Traffic to Air Uganda website is mostly driven by Italian keyword phrases and social media channels like Twitter would greatly boost its online reputation with English Speakers.Pay them a visit:Air Uganda on Facebook and Air Uganda on Twiter.

Fly540:Africa's Low Cost Airline has a great Facebook Page and has integrated its Facebook Page into the Corporate website although the link is not clickable.I hope they repair the link so that they can engage the right fans and attract them to their social media channels.

Where are the African Airline Blogs?

This is the big vacuum in African Airlines social media branding strategies.No African Airline has embraced a corporate blog as a branding tool.The use of corporate blogs and the advantages that come with it such as search engine optimization,podcasting,communal participation and guestblogging can give an airline an edge in client interaction.We hope African Airlines will build sleek Corporate blogs in 2010!

South Africa:Missing an Opportunity?

Given South Africa's social media reach,South African Airlines like South African Airways could easily become social media powerhouses not only on the African continent but in the world;giving clients a unique personal flight experience!Always remember that social media travels well!

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5 Responses
  1. Thanks for the mention and my compliments on your great blog!

  2. Air Uganda has been quick on exploring the opportunities offered by social media,specifically Twitter and Facebook.Given East Africa's embrace of social media,the airline seems to be on the path to success in customer interaction using social media.Its profiles are still tiny but the content is great and dedicated.

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