How Aviation Brands Can Get Ahead of the Social Media Curve
General aviation is a wonderful industry. Duh, it’s an industry that I know very well. However, when it comes to social media and aviation content marketing, general aviation brands are still behind the curve and it’s becoming more and more obvious.
Being on the leading edge of digital marketing and brand awareness is difficult for any industry, don’t get me wrong. If everyone knew how to stay fresh in the social media world, then it would be even more difficult to get noticed.
However, I have seen a trending lack in aviation brands moving towards a constructive and useful strategy for social media. It’s not that general aviation is denying what social media has to offer, no, I believe some brands are just intimidated by it. It’s okay, this is a similar sentiment with many companies looking to expand their marketing strategy to include this critical aspect.
For example, lets take a look at some of the great brands of our time to put into action what I am talking about…
We all know and love this brand. Come on, who doesn’t love a good corny joke about floating during landing. John and Martha got most of us through our pilot training!
However, if you look at King School’s Facebook page for example you will see they have amassed a following of 50K+ likes. That is great, but for being one of the all time leaders in teaching pilots how to fly, I kind of expected to see higher numbers. In addition, their engagement on their posts leave a lot to be desired but that isn’t necessarily all their fault. Facebook makes it very difficult if not impossible for brands to reach their audience nowadays without paid promotion to make it happen.
I love Facebook for their digital advertising opportunities, but I hate Facebook as an organic way to grow and foster a following.
Switch gears a bit,
Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (yes I just said Snapchat) are fresher avenues that I like to focus on in this changing tide of social media marketing. If you want to stay ahead of the game, Facebook is not the place to be spending your time. Even read about why Copyblogger pulled the plug on Facebook, and just for reference they’re a big player in the online content marketing space.
Crazy thing though is you see the same brand, King Schools, with only a measly 1,000 tweets in total and less than 9,000 followers on Twitter… Ouch. Why does this hurt? Well Twitter is the one true social media platform where you can easily discover your audience, be discovered, and easily interact with customers and potential users all in one place.
I hate to sound like I am hating on King Schools, I’m really am not. I used their programs to learn to fly (thank god for them). They just so happen to be one of the first big hitting brands I thought about when I thought general aviation. Furthermore, I thought they, of all brands should really be killing it on social media. I bet they would see some CRAZY ROI.
Lets give general aviation a bit of credit though, they have at least joined the party in some ways. However, it’s time to run ahead of the pack and get there before the next step in social media marketing is dead.
So how do you do this?
First, admit that you need to invest in social media
If there is one thing you need to realize as an aviation brand, it’s that social media is only going to continue to play a larger and larger role in the user/customer experience.
Not taking the topic of hiring for social media marketing seriously is to put your business at risk. Now don’t get me wrong, depending on your business model and who your service or product serves in aviation, your involvement in social media can vary greatly.
This article is under the impression that either:
A. You’re a B2C service or product in aviation.
B. Your brand has been established long before social media existed (Boeing). Thus this means you likely have an avid following of supporters and tribe members (raving fans) that want to follow and interact with you.
So when I mean invest, I mean give your business the respect it deserves by hiring a marketing specialist on a part-time, full-time, project based, basis who has experience in social media marketing (ideally aviation). These specialists spend their lives optimizing how social media can be used. They know what they are doing!
If you don’t have the budget to hire, I understand. Take as much insight as you can from my blog and other more general social media blogs like Social Media Examiner and Gary Vaynerchuk to help you dominate it on your own for now.
The fear most brands have when it comes to interacting with customers or users on social media is that they fear the interaction from customer to them is going to somehow taint their brand as being too “reachable”. Some may think that if they don’t interact with their fans, customers, and users on social media they will then be perceived as “harder to reach” thus propelling their brand to higher status.
Take Cirrus Aircraft for example. Cirrus is a premium single engine aircraft manufacturer that for all intents and purposes would be a prime candidate for the above philosophy. Instead, they do interact with their fans and customers. They even do it in a way that makes people respect the brand in a light hearted kind of way. It’s personality, and that is what everyone is looking for. Your brand needs to be treated like just another human interacting with other humans.
@Cirrus_Aircraft My wife just asked if I won a jet.
— Michael Shea (@cirrusdriver) February 24, 2015
So as you can see, they are definitely on the right track.
Finally, stay ahead of the game
There is a saying that goes something like this:
Shoot for where you want the puck to go not where the puck was…
I probably botched it, but in short it means to always be looking for new opportunities. If you are always trying to catch up to where social media is, you will never be viewed as leaders in the industry. It’s harsh, but very true.
So how does your brand start winning on social media? Take a few minutes a day to see what is new in the social media world.
Then ask yourself: “How can I apply this to aviation to gain exposure or benefit for my customers?”
If you at least try, you will find doors will start to open in this world. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new social media platforms and take risks. If you aren’t on Snapchat (article on optimizing this coming soon) with your brand, then you should be doing that after this article is finished being read. These are all avenues that allow you to directly interact with your customers on a level that makes them feel extremely special.
Use it, own it, make it rock!
This article turned out to be over twelve hundred words. This is just the beginning of digging deep into the way social media needs to play a role in your aviation brand’s strategy. Be sure to subscribe below for a follow up to this introduction on how to get ahead of the curve in social media for aviation.
You can do it, I believe in you!
For more information about how I could help your brand strengthen their digital marketing efforts, please contact me anytime.