Recently the Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial airliner, visited Edinburgh with a superb approach and go manoeuvre which was something to behold. It also visited Prestwick and the Dublin air show.
To publicise the event they had a Twitter account, obviously to keep people informed, attract more people and build a media buzz around the event. While the event was rather well attended the potential of their social media experiment was wasted, losing the company a great deal of free advertising and not helping those who were following the account, keen to see the plane.
This is a prime example of a company failing to remember the prime reasons for having their social media presence and for understanding exactly what is needed to make it work for them and their followers.
Airbus missed out on two important areas, timely communication and engagement, missing these meant that the Twitter account was wasted when it could have been so much more for those at the event, those following the plane, and the company themselves.
It amazes me that in this day and age companies don’t want to engage their customers on the Internet, despite the fact that this is where a vast majority of them are and where they are actively discussing companies and their products.
They place all their efforts in two key areas, shouting loudly at them while keeping their fingers in their ears through advertising, and manipulating them, telling then what they think they want to hear through their front line sales. Then they sit back and wait for them to call if they get stuck with anything, and usually farm that process out to another company.
Meanwhile customers both current and potential are on the Internet with growing numbers and frequency talking about the company, their products and reviewing them to their friends, family and whoever else is listening.
I’ve written before about utilising tools that are used daily on the Internet to create a new and knowledge focused Intranet with little cost to the business (have a look through the Knowledge Management category), and in that I’ve talked about the use of Instant Messaging. This has been something that has come up against resistance whenever it’s mentioned in a business context, so when I started using Twitter I saw answers to so many of the issues and negatives raised against IM in the workplace.
The Twitter model of messaging is one which would work superbly well in a business that is both scared of employees chatting the day away, and also of employees concerned about the instant intrusion of IM.